I love modern technology. I love the fact that you can turn on a computer without knowing anything about it, and use it to navigate information all over the world. I love high-tech gizmos and gadgets of all sorts, even if I don’t always understand their workings. Nonetheless, I think there is something that kids miss out on with all this high-tech stuff.

Here at Hackaday we have a bit of a preoccupation with timepieces. Maybe it’s the deeply personal connection to an object you wear on your body, or the need for ultimate reliability. 

Source: https://hackaday.com/2019/12/08/antique-pocket-watch-project-updates-antique-pocket-watch/

When I was a kid, my dad had an antique pocket watch that he had inherited from his own father. He let me look at it every once in a while – although he would carefully monitor me to make sure I didn’t do anything to it. He loved that antique watch, and looking inside I could easily see why. It was an extremely well-crafted piece of work. Some antique pocket watches can keep time that nearly rivals that of quartz crystal power displays. This was one such watch. The intricate gears had been precisely calibrated to be as close to perfection as was possible.

I always wanted to take apart that antique pocket watch to see what made it tick, but of course my dad wouldn’t allow it. That is why when I reached the age of 15, I bought a broken antique Swiss pocket watch. I was curious naturally, and I thought that it would be a cinch to figure out. Boy was I surprised – restoring a watch is no picnic.

It is, however, a satisfying feeling. I had to take out every single piece of that antique pocket watch, check it for defects, clean it, and put it back in exactly as it had been. By the time that was done, hours had passed, but I had been able to witness the inner workings of the antique pocket watch. I knew what every piece did, and knowing that was very satisfying. I felt like I had really mastered it and come to understand its inner workings.

When my kids get a little older, I hope that they come to appreciate antique pocket watches as much as I did. Computers are so abstract, processing information in chips with switches that are so small that no one can see them with the naked eye. The great thing about an antique watch is that you can really look at what is going on. That is something that we miss out on with modern technology. All of the stuff we use feels like magic. It is nice to have something you can really look inside of and learn about.