Superstitions. Whether or not you believe in them, they still exist in today’s world feeding off of peoples superstitious fears and beliefs. From blessing someone after they sneeze, to knocking on wood for good luck there will always be people who believe in these superstitions to keep them alive.
Some of the most popular beliefs however, are the beliefs that timepieces can and will cause bad luck and may even end with death. It’s harsh I know, but people take these superstitions very seriously and some even live their life by them. For example, some people do not and will not give or receive watches as gifts, or if you do not fix a stopped clock in a room, someone will die due to it. For as crazy as that may sound, these superstitions are just a few of many myths and beliefs about timepieces we will be exploring in this article.
When a Watch Stops
It is believed that a master watchmaker puts a part of his soul into his creation when creating the watch with his hands, so when the watch is broken people believe his soul gets broken as well. There is a tiny golden balance wheel in a mechanical watch that spins back and forth, regulating the time (think of it as a pendulum swinging in a grandfather clock, but at a tremendously fast pace), and to many viewers, this action gives the watch the appearance of being alive. It is not uncommon for some watch enthusiasts to call this part of the watch its “heart” or even its “soul”. Could this be the origin of this superstition.. or just a coincidence?
Giving/Receiving Watches as Gifts
One of the most common superstitions you’ll hear today is that giving or receiving a watch is considered bad luck, and for a number of reasons too. First and foremost, giving a watch as a gift to your significant other is saying two things: you’re counting down the time you have left together and you’re putting time on your relationship which will inevitably end your time together.
It does not matter where you live, this superstition is well known wherever you go. In Asia, giving a watch to someone as a gift is considered a curse, and if you speak Chinese, to give is 送 and clock is 时钟 the two words put together sound like 送终, which means tending to a wake and funeral. Thus it is known as bad luck because of its sound. However, not all these superstitions are bad. In Russia, giving a watch as a gift is a way of saying you want the receiver to live for a long time.
One way to counter this superstition is for the recipient of the gift to pay a very small amount of money (like a US penny), so that the gift is actually sold, not given. So the next time you receive a watch as a gift make sure to pay the giver, so your relationship with the person doesn’t end abruptly and at the same time avoid a curse.
Stopping the Clock When Someone Dies
Back in the day, stopping the clock when someone died was a very common practice no matter your religious background. The superstition was if you didn’t stop a clock in a room someone died in, there would be bad luck upon all those who remain in the home. This belief is said to have originated in Germany and Great Britain and it was said that when a person dies, time stands still for that person. A new period of existence then begins without time. If the time is allowed to continue moving on, this invited the spirit of the deceased to remain in the home and haunt without end.
Another reason for stopping the clock when someone died was done based on the belief that stopping clocks was a way to allow the soul of the newly deceased to move on into the next life without any worry about time.
Probably the most logical explanation for the practice, however, was stopping a clock at the time of a person’s death was to record the time of death. It also allowed mourners to stay and mourn for as long as they liked without worrying about how much time had passed.
From breaking a watchmakers soul, to ending a relationship, there are some pretty interesting superstitions out there about timepieces and if you don’t take the proper precautions you could be landing yourself a good ole fashioned curse.. or worse. However, if you believe in them or not is entirely your choice, but avoid letting these superstitions control the decisions you make in life because they are, after all, just that.. superstitions.