One of the watches I wore in January was this recent arrival. A late 1965 Seiko Seikomatic Weekdater. I was after a dress watch with both day and date function. This one was in very clean condition, with no blemishes on the dial and no naked-eye-visible corrosion on the hands and markers. Just the usual scuff marks and light scratches on the case that are evidence of daily wear and tear.
I spoke to a watchmaker who collects vintage Citizen watches of the 1960s. He said that an old watchmaker once told him that these old Seiko and Citizen watches were deliberately built to stand up to a lot of wear and tear.
Reason being that they were relatively inexpensive back in the day and therefore, when it came time to get them serviced, it would be difficult for the customer to justify spending, say, $20 or $30 to service a wristwatch that cost them $80 or $100 to originally purchase. The way around this was to build a watch that could go a decade or two before it required maintenance.
Properly looked after, these things would run a long time before servicing was needed, and while I see a lot of old Seiko watches that have been trashed over their lifetimes, I also see a few pieces like this one, which appears to have been taken care of by its previous owner(s).
Okay, where was I up to? Ahh, yes...
After the initial training period over the first couple of weeks, I settled into the routine of my job and its workload. As stated, everyone was great to work with. I made a few little changes here and there, such as the layout and wording of emails that are sent to customers.
I answered customer enquiries and concerns regarding the whys and wherefores of their repairs. This is the part of the repair process where a customer will either accept or decline a repair quotation. I felt it was my job to explain the reasons behind a repair, in order to help a customer make an informed decision.
One gentleman, an ex-engineer, was disappointed by the fact that his quartz watch needed a new movement. He was given the watch by his employers as a retirement gift in 1993. In NINETEEN-NINETY-THREE.
"They told me it was the best watch of its kind and that it would last forever", he opined.
I reminded him that it had served him faithfully for almost thirty years.
I reminded him that it was probably not a good idea to have had the previous battery change done by somebody who was not accredited by the brand, as it seemed that the incorrect battery had been fitted and the movement had drawn insufficient power from it and this may have done some damage to the movement.
I reminded him, gently, that his engineering firm should not have made blanket statements like "it would last forever", because they were an engineering firm, not a wristwatch manufacturer.
I informed him that, being a tiny machine that runs 24/7, it requires maintenance from time to time, and that the movement inside the watch has reached its end-of-life and now needs replacing.
In the end, all of this was enough to convince him to get the watch fixed. Hopefully, it will outlive him. And possibly me too.
I re-read Fleming's Live And Let Die. I had my brother's old paperback copy for reading on the train, and a Folio Society hardback copy on the bedside table at home. There were a few flat spots in the book, or maybe they were just passages that I wasn't thrilled by, mainly to do with...I can't remember. Maybe old gold coins and pirates. At some stage, I'll tackle the next one, Moonraker. Figured I'd slowly go through them all again, interspersed with other reading. The Omega Railmaster got a decent run here and there.
So anyway, the job was going okay. About a month or so into it, I got an email from a company that had seen my resume online and they were interested in discussing it further. This was an appliance company, totally different to what I was doing. They were offering noticeably more money and it was a supervisory position.
Now, normally, I wouldn't look twice at a job like this, but my wife's contract at her job is to end in June and it looks like it won't be renewed this time around. The company she works for doesn't have the funding and it is relying more heavily on young volunteers doing industry placement. She's had her contract extended twice in the past. At the moment, she's studying online for a Masters Degree in Counseling, working at this job three days a week, and volunteering as a counselor elsewhere one day a week. So basically, her plate is pretty full and the paying aspect of it may be coming to an end if she doesn't find something else soon.
Therefore, it made sense to me to consider this appliance supervisor's gig. It would be a change of scenery, for one thing, whether that was a good thing or not. I did the math, considered it carefully, and regretfully handed in my resignation at the watch company. It really sucked saying goodbye to this job. The HR manager did say to me that if the grass wasn't greener on the other side, I should consider coming back, as there are always opportunities coming up at this company.
That was a wonderful thing to hear. And it is something that I will seriously consider if things don't work out.
So, while I was winding up my time at this job, I contacted my referees to let them know (again) that they might get a call from a company asking to know a little more about me. Things got a little strange here because one referee asked me how committed I was to starting work at an appliance company, of all things. Reason he asked was because his company was looking for a new Service Centre Manager and would I be interested in this role?
Man, oh, man. All of a sudden, I'm in some kind of demand. Felt weird. I asked him for a snapshot of the role and he filled me in. I told him I'd give it some serious thought. I called him back a few days later and we hashed it out a little more. He sent me the Position Description via email. Yep, I could do this job. Easily. So, I accepted the job. I was due to commence the appliance supervisor's job in around two weeks (I got a bit of a run-around with this job, but that's a whole other convoluted story). Anyway, I contacted the appliance company and regretfully informed them that I had been offered a position in the industry that I was coming from and had decided to accept it, so therefore, I would not be going forward with joining their company. I apologised to them, but they seemed cool enough about it. I'm sure these things happen often enough.
Leading up to all of the above was the slight mental anguish that I put myself through for a couple of weeks prior to accepting the offer from my old employer. My wife thought it wasn't such a wise idea. Never go back, is her motto when it comes to workplaces. I reminded her that back in the day, I worked the retail side of the company and this time around, I'd be behind the scenes, so to speak.
You do you. You're an adult, she replied. Well, we'll see about that, in due course.