Nestled along the Euphrates River in Mesopotamia – some 3,500 years ago – lay a thriving, bustling city known as Babylon. Here, some of the first, primitive sundials would be invented and used for early efforts in astronomy and timekeeping.
With the creation of the sundial, human civilizations had found a more reliable, consistent way to keep track of time. But efforts to track time even more precisely continued – relentlessly. Thus, from pendulums to atomic clocks, and from water clocks to wristwatches, innumerable timekeeping methods have emerged.
Now, as horological aficionados, we think watches are one of the most beautiful examples of timekeeping, because the watch combines fashion with function (the function of tracking time, to be exact). Fellow horological enthusiasts, then, will enjoy reading the following surprising, intriguing facts about watches.
- Before the invention of the wristwatch, pocket watches were “in.” Pocket watches were seen as a symbol of good taste and fashion sense. In fact, during the very early years of the 1900s, wristwatches were at first mocked as a passing fad – and were derisively referred to as “wristlets.” It would take a few decades before wristwatches gained prominence in culture and society – and turned the pocket watch into an obsolete piece of history.
- How did the word “watch” come to mean a personal instrument for timekeeping? No one knows sure, but one hypothesis goes back to the word’s Old English roots. In England, in bygone days, town watchmen – charged with public safety tasks – would use crude watches to keep their shifts on schedule. And a watchman was called a “woecce” – hence the origin of the word “watch” in the timekeeping sense (according to this hypothesis, anyway).
- Modern watches use a variety of power sources, including battery cells and solar power. One of the most unique (but rate) ways to power a watch? Through the body temperature of the watch wearer. Such watches are basically heat-powered.
- Early watches had to be opened up regularly for winding and maintenance by the watch wearer. Thus, watch designers paid just as much attention to the design and aesthetic of the watch’s inner workings as they did to the watch’s outer appearance. Some examples of this kind of “internal decoration” included engravings of stars, roses, and tulips – which could be seen only when the watch was opened and its interior revealed.
- One of the first wristwatches was invented by Louis Cartier for early 20th century airship pilots. Because these pilots had to keep their hands on the airship’s steering equipment at all times, it was impractical (and even dangerous) for them to dig into their pocket for a pocket-watch. Yet keeping track of time was essential to approximating how much fuel was left in the airship. Louis Cartier’s solution? The wristwatch. Pilots could then steer the airship while taking quick glances at their wristwatch – no pocket-watch needed.
When Instagramming and Watch-Wearing Collide: How to Take the Most Social Media-Worthy Photos of Your Watch
This goes out to all of you who are both avid watch enthusiasts and inveterate Instagrammers (with an instinct for posting captivating pictures and selfies).
If you’ve ever tried to take a good photo of your watch, and post it to Instagram (or Facebook and other social media sites) – then you likely know it can be a bit difficult.
For example, unintended glare – from the light reflecting off the face of the watch – can spoil an otherwise good shot.
So what to do? How do you take the perfect photo of your watch?
To begin, your phone needs a high-quality camera. This is kind of a no-brainer for most Instagram aficionados, but is still worth mentioning. You definitely don’t want photos of your watch that are either too grainy or blurry – these are the sorts of pics that get 0 likes, after all.
So – say you have a high-quality camera. What then?
Well, you want to get the lighting right. Proper lighting is always important in the photographic arts – especially when you’re taking shots of a fashionable timepiece. Ideally, don’t use your camera’s flash function – this can mess up the shot due to light reflecting off your watch.
Instead, take the photo of your watch in an area that’s flooded with natural light.
That way, you don’t have to use the flash feature – and you’re still taking a photo where your watch is very visible, surrounded by ambient light. The key here is to eliminate all possible sources of reflection when snapping a pic of your watch.
Alternatively, you may wish to purchase a lightbox – or create your own (DIY instructions can be found here and here). Lightboxes are awesome tools for showcasing your taste in fashion – and completely eliminate undesired sources of reflection.
Another word of advice: use your phone camera’s timer function when you take the shot, because this allows you to take a picture of your watch without having to press down on any buttons to capture the actual photo.
Then, have a look at the photo – experience a satisfied smile on your face – and upload it to Instagram.
“Life is about circumstance and choice.” – Michael J. Fox
I thought I knew what loss was.
But it wasn’t until 2011 when I lost my sister that I truly experienced indescribable grief.
My beautiful, strong sister succumbed to the disease (cystic fibrosis) she fought her entire life. I always knew she was sick since I was a little kid, but for some reason I never thought I’d actually lose her.
I took it for granted that every day I would wake up – and she would, too.
It wasn’t until that moment in the hospital when she took her last breath, that I took one of my own last breaths. One where my sister was in the world. The former me also died that day – and a completely new Emily was born.
It’s hard to describe the things that happen when you lose someone you love so much.
The inexplicable pain.
My sister was my biggest supporter, my toughest critic, and my oldest friend. She was the one who told me how things really were, who knew every memory I could call to mind, and who healed my oldest, deepest wounds.
She bought me the book that inspired my career into entrepreneurship – as well as my first laptop to get started. My earliest memories are of the two of us playing and laughing – hiding in our old attic to make prank phone calls, sneaking fudgesicles at our dear Auntie Carol’s. I remember looking up to her in everything that she did.
I was 25 years old when Julia passed. Grief was the catalyst I needed to become the person I was meant to be. For many, death is a wake up call – and it was like that for me. Julia’s death gave me a constant reminder of how short life is – and what is really important in life.
To always be kind to others.
That superficial things don’t matter.
And to dive in head first towards chasing your dreams. Take risks, because none of us know when our time is up.
After losing my sister my life became full of total purpose. The grief I suffered carried me to places I never knew I could go – and forged me into a person I never knew I could be. It sparked within me the drive to succeed so I could help others. Each business became combined with my personal purpose. My new-found values became entrenched into all business activities I undertook. Everything I had learned before – about keeping the personal separate from the business – washed away. And the theory that you have to be ruthless to succeed proved to be entirely untrue for me. I can help others, be kind, and still be successful.
Creating JWLS was my next step in continuing this journey. Inspired by Julia – with endless possibilities. She lives on with each timepiece worn – so her journey and inspiring, unstoppable spirit continues on, too.
4 Reasons to Get a “Timepiece with a Purpose”
Why do some people prefer to wear fashion pieces that have a deep meaning or a purpose behind them? (For example, a JWLS watch isn’t just a watch – it’s a watch designed specifically as a symbol of the fight against cystic fibrosis.)
If you’ve ever asked yourself that question, then here are just some of the reasons why fashion-conscious individuals often choose to wear fashion-with-a-purpose items.
(1) It makes a statement. And who doesn’t like a fashion item that makes a statement? It can be a bold thing to wear – but if bold is in your blood, then getting a “timepiece with purpose” might be an appealing thing to do.
(2) It starts conversations. People in social situations love finding “excuses” to talk to someone, and wearing a fashion piece with a purpose is the perfect reason for someone to start a conversation with you.
(3) It makes a great gift. If you’re looking for the perfect gift for someone who’s important to you, then a fashion piece with meaning behind it makes an amazing gift. You are gifting the person more than just a product; you are giving them something with real meaning.
(4) Last, but definitely not least – in fact, this is the most important reason – wearing a fashion piece with a purpose can help a cause in a very real way. For example, every time a JWLS watch is purchased, a portion of profits are contributed to research organizations on the hunt for a cure for cystic fibrosis.
To get yourself a great-looking watch – and help advance the mission of defeating cystic fibrosis for good – then start here.
There’s an upbeat Canadian rock song by Trooper that shares imparted wisdom to the songwriter.
“A very good friend of mine,” the song’s singer soothes, “told me something the other day …”
Of course, the singer continues with their anecdote, fully aware that with every sunny day, there’s got to be a little rain that falls.
“We’re here for a good time, not a long time … so have a good time, the sun can’t shine everyday.”
The 1977 ditty, although a positive groove, reminds us of our own mortality, and the importance of enjoying that time we have.
What better way than to give back to those who are experiencing their own rainy days with cystic fibrosis.
Our CEO, Emily Lyons lost her sister Julia to the genetic disorder, and in a recent interview with her hometown paper, the Stratford Beacon Herald, shared the goal to help families dealing with the repeated trips to the hospital.
During her childhood, the family had to stay at the Ronald McDonald house. “We had tough times,” Lyons said. “It’s hard enough when you have a dearly-loved family member in the hospital, but when you also have to endure through financial stresses – it can get pretty hard.”
WATCH AND LEARN
Ergo the launch of JWLS, a watch line that harkens back to Trooper’s plea to enjoy life. In tandem with the watches, Lyons is also introducing the Julia Lyons Foundation.
The goal is to help families struggling to live while having a sick child. Forty percent of sales from the JWLS watches will go to help alleviate this strain.
A friend of Lyons’ had a brother receive a double-lung transplant. Their mother had to stay home from work to help take him to doctors’ appointments and deal with side effects of anti-rejection therapy.
“If we could facilitate those things and make it a lot easier, it would relieve a little stress for those families,” Lyons told the Herald.
It’s all about the importance of giving back. And like the minute hand, we’ve come full circle. Simply put, the watch is a reminder of how precious time is.
Shop the JWLS collection online, or visit their Toronto watch store.