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Time For Them To Learn Time

, , , | Right | August 3, 2018

(We sell, and provide service for, wristwatches. A man who appears to be in his mid-thirties comes in to our shop with a wristwatch which he has not bought here, but is in all respects a perfectly normal, conventional wristwatch — that is to say the crown is pulled out one click to adjust the date, and one click more to adjust the time.)

Customer: “There’s something wrong with this watch!”

Me: “Okay, let’s take a look at it. What’s the problem?”

Customer: “The date changes in the middle of the day instead of overnight.”

Me: “Right. Sounds like if we advance it twelve hours, we should have sorted it out.”

Customer: “I don’t know how to do that; it’s too complicated. You’re the expert; I don’t understand these things.”

Me: “It’s quite simple. If you pull the crown out all the way, like this—” *showing him* “—then we just wind it on twelve hours.”

Customer: “I don’t understand. This is too technical.”

Me: “Well, the hour hand passes the twelve twice a day — at midday and midnight — but the date only changes once a day. If it changes at midday, it means that it has just got twelve hours out of sync. There’s nothing actually wrong with the watch.”

Customer: “This is all too complicated. You’re the watchmaker; you understand these things.”

Me: “It’s okay. I’ve set it right now. It shouldn’t give you any more trouble.”

Customer: “Have you set the right time? Because it has been running an hour slow these last few weeks.”

(I hadn’t actually looked at the watch too closely, but it suddenly dawned on me that he probably hadn’t advanced it an hour after the clocks went forward a couple of months ago. I didn’t mention this to him, however, as it would probably also have been too complicated.)

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