Mostly to the left

Jim’s not talking politics this time. He’s talking wristwatches:

I have always worn mine on my left wrist. Being right-handed and being old enough to remember when one had to wind a wristwatch, it seemed to make sense to leave one’s dominant hand with easy access to the watch’s stem to permit the regular need to turn the stem back and forth to put the tension in the mainspring that permitted the gadget to function.

Which is where I started wearing mine: I am a northpaw, and for most of my poorly-timed life I wore a watch that required the occasional wind.

Now, I’ve noticed lots of people wearing their wristwatches on their right wrist. I doubt as many people did this when watches had to be wound, but I lack empirical data. Is this the case, because regular winding is not longer necessary? After all, one needs access to the watch’s stem only twice per year to accommodate daylight saving time changes and, for watches with a date function, only five times per year to account for those months with fewer than thirty-one days.

These days, I wear an electronic. (Actually, it’s the same one I’ve worn since the middle 1980s.) It needs updating twice a year (DST on, DST off), and its date function fails only on the 29th of February. On the other hand, it keeps fairly lousy time, so I sync it manually, at least three times a week, to one of the two atomic timepieces I have at home. And once in a while, you may see it on my right wrist, as an effort to equalize the tan lines on either side.

There was one instance when I wore it, um, somewhere else, to the utter displeasure of the woman of the house, but you don’t want to know about that.


  1. sya »

    3 September 2009 · 7:37 pm

    I’ve stopped wearing watches of any sort a while ago. There are clocks everywhere–from laptops and cellphones to classrooms and car dashboards, so what’s the point of wearing another one?

  2. Jim - PRS »

    3 September 2009 · 7:42 pm

    Thanks! Much appreciated.

  3. CGHill »

    3 September 2009 · 8:12 pm

    After I decided I had to concede Sya’s point, it dawned on me: I’m often wearing that digital watch while driving a car that has an analog clock.

    What’s more, that clock actually keeps better time than said watch; at most, I have to adjust it once or twice between DST finaglings.

  4. McGehee »

    3 September 2009 · 10:18 pm

    I’ve finally quit wearing a watch; I look at my phone instead. It keeps better time and resets for time zone automatically, which my watch won’t.

  5. Donna B. »

    3 September 2009 · 10:35 pm

    Does anybody really know what time it is?

    … it’s 25 or 6 to 4!

    Problem is, I can’t remember which song came first.

  6. CGHill »

    3 September 2009 · 10:44 pm

    “Does Anybody…” was on the first Chicago album, The Chicago Transit Authority.

    “25 or 6 to 4” was on the second one, Chicago II.

    But here’s the catch: “25 or 6 to 4” was put out as a single (Columbia 45194) four months before “Does Anybody…” (Columbia 45264).

  7. Jeff Brokaw »

    4 September 2009 · 3:15 am

    Useless trivia: I always wondered where the title “25 or 6 to 4” came from. Not long ago I finally found out: it is derived from a drug and/or drink-addled comment from one of the band members in response to a “what time is it” query.

    I.e., 25 or 26 minutes to 4 o’clock. AM, I would presume, but who knows.

    A mind is a terrible thing to waste.

  8. McGehee »

    4 September 2009 · 6:44 am

    The context of the song certainly implies AM, though that might be lyrical license.

    Personally, if we’re talking about inspiring titles of rock songs, I like the one for Iron Butterfly’s hit (the one referenced on “The Simpsons”) best.

  9. fillyjonk »

    4 September 2009 · 7:27 am

    I still wear a watch despite the proliferation of clocks on college campuses, because on my campus, those clocks are very frequently WRONG. Or the batteries have a habit of dying mid-lecture, meaning the clock is stuck at 25 until the hour until you realize that it isn’t because the students are bored that the hand isn’t moving.

    A colleague accused me of being a “control freak” when I suggested our next set of clocks purchased be ones that can pick up the signal from WWV and automatically set themselves to the correct time.

    I’ve always worn my watch (actually, wore one since 4th grade or so) on my left wrist. It would feel odd to change it now.

  10. CGHill »

    4 September 2009 · 7:42 am

    Jeff: If you’d been reading me back in 2002, you’d already have known about “25 or 6 to 4.”

  11. Daily Pundit » Watching the Times »

    4 September 2009 · 9:50 am

    […] Mostly to the left […]

  12. Lisa Paul »

    4 September 2009 · 12:49 pm

    I’m left handed, so I wear my watch on my right hand. Which all my friends tell me looks incredibly wrong. But who cares? I have a terrible problem with getting around to resetting watches (which I mostly wear when travelling) so I now have a wardrobe of watches that I pick out by time zones. “Hmmmm. Should I wear the watch that’s on Chicago time or the one on East Coast time. Maybe I should mix it up and wear that watch that is still on Malaysian time?”

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