A watch of his own

Published 6:30 pm Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Anything from Switzerland is the stuff.

I remember my son saying that years ago, standing right there by a new couch he didn’t even notice. That’s because he was showing us his latest eBay purchase, an Omega Seamaster DeVille, and we were locked in on every word because the firstborn was home for a visit and occasions like that make parents want to go kill the fatted calf.

(By the way, an Omega is a watch for those of you who aren’t into timepieces.) 

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So I was listening and admiring the face (on the watch), but with the way my mind works, I was still wondering why Switzerland is the stuff. Isn’t it supposed to be neutral? My son was catching me up on the culture, though, so I had to stay focused.

That’s when he popped out another point, and I’ve known him long enough to tell right away it’s not an original thought. He was quoting an authority, a guy from some television show called “Shark Tank” that’s about rich investors giving out business loans. Evidently this shark from the show said you can tell a lot about a man from the shoes he’s wearing and the watch he has on.

While discussion on the topic ensued from our family peanut gallery, I lost focus, thinking of some of the men in my life. They wear boots with soles worn out from work and watches that must be waterproof because they work up a sweat while they’re wearing out their soles.

Yes, I found myself agreeing. You can indeed tell a lot about a man from his shoes and his watch. 

By then the firstborn had plopped down on the couch (isn’t that why we needed a new one?) and was talking with his dad about the snow they had in Memphis earlier in the week. I was having trouble focusing again because he had shown me the back of the Omega Seamaster Deville. Which had an inscription. Which led me to wonder. Just who was Jasper M. Griffin, and why was my son in possession of his 57-year-old watch?

There wasn’t much to go on, and what little there was required my highest-strength reading glasses to make out. Jasper M. Griffin May 30, 1957 office staff.

I found myself fascinated by the fact that some man, whose loyal service earned him a 14 K gold, automatic Swiss-made reward, let it go at some point. Did it slip off while he walked his dog through Central Park? Were there hospital bills to pay after his wife’s surgery in Miami? Had it been stolen from a hotel in Albuquerque while he traveled on “office staff” business? But perhaps it wasn’t even Jasper who let it go. Maybe he had held onto it until the end. Maybe an inheriting nephew simply preferred a Timex. 

My son noticed I was absorbed, and when he found out why, he admitted he had been, too. “Looked him up already,” he said, and with a simple horizontal shake of his head I knew I’d never know Jasper’s real story.

There was a new band on the watch, and my son told us the Omega was a keeper. “One to pass on to my grandchildren,” I think is what he promised.

Well, time has since ticked away from that Omega encounter, and an “I do” and three children later, that son of ours is still into watches. Next month, he’s scheduled to fly to Phoenix to receive a company watch of his own. I guess those “Shark Tank” lessons paid off.

The new watch, I hear, will be Swiss-made, too. I have to believe Jasper M. Griffin would like that. After all, anything from Switzerland is the stuff.

Kim Henderson is a freelance writer. Contact her at kimhenderson319@gmail.com.