In 1949 my grandfather retired. He was given an Swiss-made Lavina gold watch with an inscription on the back:
H. B. ABRAHAM
from his confreres
of the department of
Lands and Surveys
On his retirement
April 4th 1949
I have no idea if he ever wore it. It was rather as small watch even by the standards of its day so it would have dated quickly.
At some stage in the 1950s or early 1960s as my grandmother's poor eyesight got worse, my grandfather modified the watch for her use. He opened the watch and painted the hands solid white. Whatever his skills in cartography, photogrammetry, aircraft maintenance and construction of hardwood furniture, my grandfather was no watchmaker. The dag-ends of paint on the hands have caused evident damage to parts of the dial. The hands were restored when I last got it serviced, but I am contemplating painting them again.
Unfortunately my grandmother would not have worn this watch for many years because her sight had effectively failed by the late 1960s. As far back as I can remember, she wore a Braille watch. If my sister and I were well behaved, Nan would let us press the button and feel the time. She died when I was still quite young. A few years ago as my collection of watches was starting to grow, and I was feeling sentimental, I decided to buy a Braille watch. At the time I had no idea that my parents had kept Nan's Braille watch. I already owned the gold watch as it was given to me as my first watch.
So here they all are together:
- 1949 Lavina
- ABO (American Blind Association) Braille watch
- 1980s Raketa export Braille watch
And here's another shot of the Raketa. The hands are not original and I've bent the hour hand slightly so it can be felt, but I have a spare set of Raketa hands that I will fit one of these days.
Does anybody else have watches with stories they'd like to share?