Wrist Watch 

Chaitanyamoi Chetia

© Copyright 2023 by 
Chaitanyamoi Chetia

Photo supplied by the author.
Photo supplied by the author.

I got up from bed but my sleep was disturbed that night; the thought of the beautiful watch came to my mind again and again. The watch belonged to me, and people say it looked beautiful in my hand. I submitted the watch to a watch mechanic to restore it but I did not bring any receipt for it. “Why I didn’t collect a receipt of the watch when I gave him for restoring,” this thought came to my mind. This irrelevant thing of not collecting any receipt from the watch mechanic disturbed me.

I never thought that the mechanic would execute everything with precision making every part functional and return it to me; his able hands rejoiced me; in return he charged a petty amount for restoring the watch.

The thought of the previous day’s happening with the watch mechanic troubled me continuously. While taking tea in the morning, the anxiety of not collecting a receipt of the watch disturbed me.

“Oh, why I didn’t collect a receipt, next time I shall always collect it whenever I give anything for repairing,” I murmured.

The watch mechanic was a middle aged man, he was honest and had a smiling face. Like the beautiful watches of the watch shops he also wore neat clothes and polished shoes and he was clean shaved with moustache on his face and hair well combed. He was renovating the shop as it became old; got the door frames changed, asked his men to dust the drawers and replaced some glasses. In the middle of the door was placed an old grandfather clock; the pendulum of the grandfather clock was swinging freely and it had a sub dial in the above of the Roman numeral dial case making it easier for the onlookers to read the seconds from a distance.

I conversed with the mechanic for a few minutes, both standing near the shop. We stood together for more than ten minute and went on conversing; the mechanic said many things to me about the shop and other watch shops in the market. He also told me about some very old watch shops that were submerged in the river Brahmaputra during a devastating earthquake that took place in the night of 1947 in the last century in the north east of India. During our talking he also told me that a post office including many other important bungalows and offices were submerged in the river Brahmaputra in that earthquake which was said to be the biggest earthquake in the northeastern region of India.

“Do you repair watches?” I asked him.

“Yes, definitely. We sell watches and repair watches,” he answered.

I got a little comfort in my mind when he said in that way. I looked at him in a relaxed manner and looked at his shop and the grandfather clock.

“This is one of the oldest watch shops in the market, it was opened in the early 1930s and 1940s of the last century,” he said.

“That means you are at home in watch making?” I said very mildly.

“Yes, do you have anything to repair?”

“Of course, yes. One wrist watch!”

He listened to my words and started looking at the works who were renovating the shop. He was also directing them about the installation of some objects like where the wall clocks were to be hung, where the grandfather clock was to be placed and in which corners the wrist watches were to be kept.

“Bring out the wooden drawers from the closet and remove the unnecessary things,” he said to the workers.

They were all listening to what he was saying, and they were working accordingly.

“Tell me what you want to repair?” he moved towards me in his standing position and said.

“There is one wrist watch. I am hopeful you can restore it!”

“Let me see!”

“Yes, I will show you. It is with me,” I continued, “only an experienced mechanic can correct this watch.”

“What happened to it!”

“It has been non-functional for the last few years, I haven’t given it to anybody for repairing it with the notion that no one would be able to restore it.”

“Let me see!”

I did not give him immediately; I hesitated, and again looked at his face. This time I shoved my hand in my pocket and took out the watch and gave it at his hand. He gazed at the watch thoroughly with his hands, and told me that he could repair it.

“This is an old beautiful watch; from the beginning I cared this watch in an extreme way, but suddenly it became dead. I replaced the battery in many shops but it was futile. The watch must have some other problems!” I said.

The mechanic listened to my saying patiently.

“The watch is 18 karat gold plated,” I said to him. “That it is 18 karat gold plated is engraved in the backside of the watch.”

The mechanic went on listening as usual.

“The watch has four hands. One is the ‘hour' hand, the other is ‘minute' hand, the other is for the ‘seconds’, and finally the fourth one is for the ‘day' of the week.”

He again listened with patience.

“Will I have to deposit the watch at your shop for repairing.”


“Can’t you repair it and give me today!”

“No, no, such watches have complicated parts, it will take time!”

“Is it so!”

“Yes, you will have to keep it at our shop, it will take time.”

“Can’t you amend it and give me the same day!” I again repeated the same thing.

“No, it has complicated parts, it will take time.”

His answer made me think for a while as I did not want to deposit the watch to a mechanic for days'.

The street where the shop lay was a busy one with at least half a dozen watch shops adjacent to one another. Out of curiosity, I enquired of him whether he had refurbished such watches before.

“I have not repaired exactly this type of watch, but I can correct it,” he said, “you need not have to worry about it. We have a good reputation in the market.”

“No, no, everyone says in this way. And some mechanics fail to correct it.”

“See, my grandfather was a good watch mechanic, my father was also a good watch mechanic. We are the fourth generation running this business.”

I was a little confused that I would have to submit the watch at his shop.

“Let me think,” I said to him and took the watch from his palm.

He is again ordering the workers of the shop to place the wrist watches in an orderly manner and telling to dust the wooden frames and transparent glasses.

I thought that if I would not give the watch for repairing, the watch would remain idle at home. Since the mechanic told they were the fourth generation running this watch business, a ray of hope arose in me that he might be able to correct my complicated watch. Finally, after pondering over the matter for many minutes, I came to the conclusion to give him the watch for repairing. “See, I am giving you in good faith. If you correct it, our good terms between us will remain for ever.”

He went inside the shop from where we have been continuously standing; and asked me to come inside, and I came in. This time he told the workers to disperse from the area for some time and all the workers went away one by one. The wall click was chiming 11 O’clock then. “With the wall clock standing erect, your shop is looking grand,” I said to him.

“Thank you,” he said.

Let me open and see the inside parts of your watch,” he said and opened the caseback. He watched the important components and hidden parts of the watch and kept it aside.

The mechanic asked me to come the next day and did not give me any slip or voucher. He wrote my name and mobile number in a piece of paper and kept it with him.

“So, I shall come tomorrow to fetch the watch!”

“Yes, you come tomorrow.”

While leaving the shop and walking along the street till I reached my home I became restless that I did not collect any voucher from him. I slept an uncomfortable night till I awoke in the morning.

One thing was vivid in my mind; he asked me my name and my mobile number. I said to him, he wrote it in a piece of paper; I thought he would give me a slip, but I received nothing, and I left the place empty handed.

“Oh, what a foolish boy I am!” I cried in my inner mind, “I didn’t collect a receipt of the watch.”

The mechanic opened the watch, wore a single microscope generally used by watch makers to gaze at the tiny parts of my watch in a magnified manner, and smiled and confidently told me to come the next day to collect it.

I reached the shop during the day time to collect it; and saw a cashier was sitting there.

“Where has the mechanic gone,” I asked him.

“The mechanic has gone somewhere,” he said and drew his eyes outside which I could not understand.

“I gave one watch for restoration,” I said.

I told him I gave my name and mobile number the day before while giving him the watch, and the mechanic wrote in a piece of paper. I again told him my name; the cashier searched my watch in the drawer amidst a number of repaired watches. He brought out a number of watches one after another, but my watch was not coming out. After some time I saw a paper was pasted in the caseback of the watch where my name and mobile number was pasted.

“Is this your watch,” the cashier enquired.

“Yes,” I answered with a smile.

Keeping my watch aside, the cashier again shoved the watches into the drawer which he had taken out. After closing the drawer he looked at my watch, removed a rubber band tied in it and a piece of paper from the watch, and gave it to me stating about the amount I would have to remit.

“Has the watch become functional,” I said in mixed feeling this time.


“Are the four hands of the watch functioning!”

“Yes, see for yourself.”

I saw everything with my own eyes, and I was ecstatic at the service, and with joyfulness I wore it in my wrist and reached home.

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