For years I never wore a watch, despising them as weak and uncomfortable accessories which invariably broke on my uncompromising wristbones. I knew the location of every public clock in town, which newsagents had an accurate clock, where all the parking meters were, and was becoming an expert at casually readng the time from a passer-by's wrist as they gesticulated or adjusted their clothes. Then they stopped winding the great public clocks. One by one each clock picked a time and stuck to it, eternally at twenty to five, ten past six, eighteen minutes after noon. The fad for clocks advertising cigarettes in newsagents' windows passed, and for a while they, too, set their hearts on a single time before slowly passing away, to be replaced by Validate stickers and adverts for the lottery and mobile phone vouchers. Queuing in Argos to buy a walkman for my Grandad, I found myself stood by a stand of childrens' watches, in bright jelly plastic. Instead of three separate pieces (my watches had always broken on the connection of face to strap), the watch was a single band of tough plastic, the face shoved through a padded, strengthened hole. £5.99, to tell the time.
I bought it, but for months I felt uncomfortable. I could see that it was attractive (it was turnqoise, it glowed when I pressed a button marked "glow", it hardly ever set its alarm to go off at strange times) but it felt wrong on my wrist, on my short-nailed hands which never wear rings or bracelets because anything left on my hands for any length of time breaks.
Except for the watch, which was as tough as it looked, and never tore or shed pieces. And now its gone, and not wearing a watch is what feels uncomfortable.