We have cutting-edge technology literally at our fingertips, electronic gadgets that provide every convenience we can imagine, and non-stop connectivity with nearly every corner of the globe ‐ and yet, worldwide rates of depression and anxiety have continued to climb to crisis levels, showing no signs of reversing course.
While beneficial in many ways, we are discovering that modern electronics have overshadowed some of the more critical aspects of our mental health and happiness, such as creating human connections, living in the moment, and being aware of the beauty around us. In a word – we lack mindfulness. And this deficit is slowly killing us, emotionally and physically.
It might surprise you to learn that a mechanical watch represents one of several excellent tools for bringing mindfulness back into your life.
Our watch repair pros have handled thousands of timepieces ranging in style and function, from quartz to mechanical and hand-wound to automatic. While there are a bevy of beautiful watches, hand-wound ones are by far your best option if you want to increase mindfulness and bring more joy into your life.
A mechanical watch can help you become more aware of what’s happening around you in various ways. These include giving you:
1. Time for Unplugged Activity
We live in an age where we are tethered to our technologies like a dog on a leash. When not being bombarded with social media posts and news blasts, we’re busy responding to hundreds of texts and emails. It’s challenging to find time to look up from our devices long enough to be mindful of anything, let alone have a meaningful conversation with another person.
“But wait,” you exclaim. “We have apps for relaxation and mindfulness.” Have you ever tried to engage with a mindfulness app on your phone or smartwatch, only to be interrupted several times by texts, notifications, and phone calls? Interestingly, many people find that trying to be mindful or find other ways to relax using electronics usually makes them more anxious and unsettled than when they started.
Wearing a mechanical watch allows you to put away the smart devices and become more aware of the passage of time. You can close your eyes and let the cadence of your heartbeat move with the rhythmic ticking of the timepiece. In addition, relaxation techniques like stretching and breathing will become more intentional as you deepen your focus and only refer to your watch for timing purposes.
2. An Anchor to the Here and Now
In the immortal words of Ferris Bueller, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” Mechanical watches demand deliberate and focused effort in winding, setting, and adjusting. Tactile engagement and centering your attention on the task at hand will keep you grounded and in the moment.
In addition, developing a daily habit of winding your timepiece allows you to take a mindful pause and reflect on scheduling and priorities. If your watch has additional functions like a chronograph, moon phase indicator, or seconds hand, these will also require purposeful adjusting and serve to remind you of what’s happening around you. For example, a full moon indication on your watch might inspire you to gaze up into the night sky to see the real thing.
3. A Sense of Heritage and History
Famous luxury brands like Rolex, Jaeger-LeCoultre, Cartier, Blancpain, and others pride themselves on their rich history of expert watchmaking, some dating back to the 18th Century. When you put on a Frederique Constant or an H. Moser, you’re wearing a piece of Swiss culture and heritage.
Mechanical timepieces each have a unique story, whether about how and why they were created or the people who make them unique. For example, when you wear a Cuervo y Sobrinos Hemingway Historiador, it’s easy to picture yourself walking the streets of old Havana alongside the famous author, shrouded in the aromas of hand-rolled cigars and cheap rum. Or when you clasp your favorite great aunt’s Bulgari pendant watch around your neck, you can’t help but remember all the corny jokes she shared while you both cleaned up after an extended family gathering.
By connecting to the history and heritage of your mechanical, whether it’s personal or public, you invite a sense of belonging into your life that can add purpose and meaning.
4. Art that You Can Admire Every Time You Put It on
The beauty and function of a modern luxury mechanical watch reflect countless hours, days, months, and years of hard work and creativity. This isn’t just a timekeeping apparatus – it’s a marvel of engineering wrapped in artistic excellence.
Consider the Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso with its slide-and-swivel design. Initially created for polo players in the 1930s, the Reverso allows you to turn the face of the watch over in the case, protecting the crystal and exposing the case back. If you enjoy tactile stimulation, you could find yourself fidgeting with this feature all day long.
Another considerably less expensive example is Nomos Glashütte’s Club Campus Cream Coral, with a cheerful coral face, white hands, and a unique mix of Arabic and Roman numerals. It’s a fun piece and makes a great conversation starter with its mismatched numbers.
5. Dependability without Distraction
Unlike a smartwatch, a manual timepiece never has to rely on a charger or cell service to function optimally, thus making it a much more dependable companion. A well-maintained, modern mechanical also will keep nearly the same accuracy as any electronic or quartz device, allowing you to stay on track with your daily schedule.
Of course, you bought your smartwatch more for connectivity than to tell the time, and we get that. Wearing a manual timepiece means putting away your FOMO (fear of missing out) for a bit, but ultimately, you’ll be better off. Instead of having your head down, checking your texts while waiting in line at the supermarket, you’ll be free to take in your surroundings and maybe even start a conversation with the person next to you.
At this point, you’re probably thinking about rummaging through the storage boxes in the basement to locate your great-aunt’s timepiece, though you may need to send it to a Bulgari watch repair shop to get it working again. Or you may be eager to get your hands on a Hamilton Khaki Field mechanical because you have read up on the background and like how it looks.
Either way, trust us when we say wearing a mechanical watch could be the best investment you ever make toward improving your connections with the people and places around you.