I am a journalist. I have been interested in mechanical watches for many years, and this blog gives me the chance to write about these wonderful machines. TimeTransformed is independent, not linked to any brand. All the opinions expressed are purely my own, uncoloured by any advertising considerations. To contact me, Ambrose Lancaster, please write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org
The narrow door
I grew up in a small village in Dorset, UK, where my father was a farmer. He was also the organist at the local church and so I endured many services, daydreaming as I watched the trees swaying in the wind through the Gothic windows while the priest spoke from the pulpit. One day, exploring the church while my father was practising next Sunday’s hymns and psalms, I discovered that the narrow door that opened onto the tower stairs had been left unlocked, and so I opened it quietly, slipped through, closed it again, and climbed the narrow stone spiral staircase with my heart beating fast. I reached a very small room with a low ceiling, the floor strewn with straw and remnants of birds’ nests, and the space almost entirely taken up by the movement of the church clock. I watched fascinated as the large wheels transformed the energy of the weights – invisible somewhere below, suspended on cords passing through holes in the floor – into the passage of time, with the loud ticks of the escapement accompanied by the cheeps of housemartin chicks from under the gables outside. I could see the inside of the clock face, and saw the difference between the rough metal and the gleaming paintwork that I knew was outside. I felt for once as if I was right at the heart of this mysterious substance: time.
The strangest material
Now, after a few dozen years, many thousands of miles and many millions of words, watchmaking still seems like a magical art, because it uses a raw material that defies definition. We now know that it is a dimension, the fourth, like the three dimensions of space, but why can we only move in one direction, never backwards, along the timeline? Time is in limited supply, at least for us: we can only see about 75 years or so. It’s elusive, because we can never really savour a moment, because as soon as we switch into “sit back and enjoy” mode, the instant has already gone, leaving us with just the wisp of a memory, a construction in our mind that is just a faint reflection of what we actually experienced.
So, as soon as I had time to start writing about something that really interests me, it was naturally about watches, objects that take linear time and transform it into something visible, often poetic, often spectacular – the movement of hands on a dial.
Time Transformed is a day-by-day tribute to the wonderful world of watches, written (I hope) in a way that everyone can understand. Most of the articles are about the latest watches launched by the various brands. As you get to know the different watch brands, you discover that each has its own unique character and style, and so it is likely that you will fall in love with one of them and want to purchase more of their timepieces. I personally love them all, and every piece that I write about has my absolute admiration.
The watch experience
In my opinion, buying a watch is not just about paying some money and then seeing the watch on your wrist. I would always recommend finding out about the brand, and spending some time at an authorized retailer or own-brand store. A fair number of brands have their own museums, and these are often fascinating. Above all, if you buy online, buy only from the manufacturer’s own website. There are lots of pirates out there, and if you buy from one of the many unauthorized websites, you won’t be eligible for the normal guarantee, and in some cases you may be committing a criminal offence. Buy from authorized dealers.