A serious yet fun journey into the history of Time

By Gary Royston Cole

first, a small bio of me. At senior school in the magnificent 1970’s I was the “fat boy” My best friend Stu used to call me (he was a true friend) Bols Taf ‘that is Fat Slob backwards. I joined retail and in 1979 (still fat and cuddly) I started my watch career with Watches of Switzerland in Southampton.

I took up what was pre-London marathon days running. I got addicted, lost about 4 stone in weight running approx 30 miles a week. Ended up once doing a trial marathon run (25 miles) in under 3 hours. Apparently that’s good! but I knew then that a professional marathon champion would still be about 6 miles ahead of me. My best 10 mile race achieved was 58 minutes, a complete absolute fluke for me, I can only think actress Julia Roberts was ahead of me. The world record today is 44 minutes so my pace was still dragging behind those gifted Pros.

Quickly now, my favourite colour is orange, favourite number is 7, favourite rock anthem is Investigate by Delirious, favourite car, I don’t really have a favourite. Might be the controversial 1990 Alfa Romeo SZ. Favourite book, Proverbs; it is so up to date and can improve my character like no other book.Now please enjoy my blog it will take about 20 very interesting minutes of you life to read it..

Anyway, I have always made TIME for fitness, for many years in the water, I was a late swimmer at age 26, and of course on terra-firma. As TUDOR’s tag line goes I was mostly a “Born to dare” guy. TUDOR timepieces by far and wide are my lifelong favourite quality watch brand.

Do we ever stop and think about the word ‘TIME’? If we have done then what comes to our minds? If we stop and consider, it does have eternal history. To start with it is a fact unlike most things in life that TIME belongs in our lives from our timely birth to our untimely death. It doesn’t ask to be invited in like letters or words; sentences, chapters and books. No,it has already joined us throughout our whole life journey. So why do we take TIME for granted every second of our days? Where did time start? and what makes it a must in all that we do for all of our lives?

It makes sense in simple analysis that it had to come from somewhere, and something or someone. We take breathing in fresh air for granted too, but that we know is a miraculous mix of 99% of both oxygen and nitrogen, with only a tiny 1% or so of argon and carbon dioxide. Time however is oh-so different. Next time (sorry for obviously essential pun) you glance over and handle a beautiful extremely expensive Rolex to check the time -take a thought that a Timex will do the same job of telling you the time. You see that cunning necessity TIME has no interest or need of brands. It defiantly remains in total control of our daily personal diaries.

Famous RADLEY Mickey Mouse sport manual wind.
£100 secondhand

ROLEX 1999 Oyster Quartz Rolesor £4000 secondhand
ps..I own them both, but love them the same amount.

So let’s go back in TIME. Thousands of years ago long before the invention of sundials, then later clocks and ultimately watches. TIME fitted into our every day life.

19th Dynasty, 13th century B.C sundial Made from Limestone inscribed with black ink, found in Egypt. Very rare.

St Nicolas one handed clock is in the Borough of Eastleigh (Hampshire) my birth place.

One handed clocks were one handed for a reason; the largely illiterate population during the 17th century didn’t know how to read a clock with two hands.The public workers could easily separate day and night, hours of light and hours of dark over two simple periods of 12 hours. Which does not necessarily require 2 hands.
Today a small selection of modern watch manufacturers produce single handed watches. Meistersinger being the world leaders, See image below.

Going back in time it was in 1797. Abraham-Louis Breguet, the greatest watchmaker of all time, created one of the most famous example of a single-hand pocket watch, named the “Souscription” pictured below. Breguet produced (opinion would say) a relatively simple but superb cylinder escapement aimed at a clientele such as Navy officers and the very wealthy. With a piece in gold or silver in the day commanded a huge purchase price; gold versions would be about £600. TIME though again has no price tag to it. TIME controls all that we have done, all that we are doing right now, and all that we will do in the future. Again I need to impress TIME is priceless.

Without the essential priceless gift of time we grasp that sometimes it is essential to know the time, and equally sometimes it is not. Philosophers may say “Time has had to have been there at the beginning of time, and when was the beginning of TIME. I will leave that thought with you as there is no exact answer to it only theories. A theory is exactly that, something that had not been proven.

Historically we do know that time was required to be divided up into sections to separate night and day, light and darkness. This reveals to us humans that we need our sleep. Sometimes though it does not have to be during darkness, but more relaxing when the sun is out. Below is me relaxing in Sydney with part of my family who live there. By the way I found the TIME to rest! But hey- why would I need to find it when time is always just there. All good fun going deep at times, isn’t it?

We need the Moon as much as the sun. Anything connected with Astronauts and the Lunar surface I love and have collected memorabilia for many years now. The moon like the sun is significant with time.Wikipedia has this to say to us which will help our TIME journey: “The lunar phase or moon phases is the shape of the directly sunlit portion of the Moon as viewed from Earth. The lunar phases gradually change over the period of a synodic month (about 29.53 days), as the orbital positions of the Moon around Earth and of Earth around the Sun shift.

A picture now coming of the beautifully defined Rolex 18ct Everose Moonphase can be seen below. This is a timepiece with genuine sourced rare meteorite included as part of their complication on the dial. This Rolex timepiece cannot be over estimated on its quality and attention to detail. I appreciate it retails at over £20k but Rolex I think have achieved such success in making certain other high end brands of similar models seem very expensive. RL Austen currently have one in stock should you want to view or try one on with absolutely no obligation to purchase.

If you are old enough to remember the 1961- 72 space programs (Missions Mercury to Apollo) you would remember the Astronauts cruising around the Earths orbit and entering The Dark side of the moon. No I am not going to be drawn into Pink Floyd’s famous 1973 album because quite simply “I haven’t got the TIME” – shame! What I can tell you, is that choosing a technical robust timepiece to work in sub-orbital and moon atmospheric conditions was not easy. Only 3 prestigious watch houses were requested to take up the challenge. These were Rolex , Omega and Longines.

Only Omega survived the rigorously harsh testing and came up with the world renowned Speedmaster we respect today. In case you are curious, the moon watches were definitely not altered from their original design for certain technical requirements. The consumer enjoyed the same specification. All models were tested under zero gravity, extreme pressure variations, bone-jarring vibrations, and temperatures ranging from -18 to +93 degrees Celsius. The watches were also tested by astronauts aboard a Gemini space flight. Bellow is an example of 1965 Omega Speedmaster as worn by Apollo Astronauts in 1965.

1965 is a very special date for moon watch fans. Astronaut Ed white along with Gus Grissom and Roger Chafee would be sadly fatally killed in an infamous flash fire whilst testing the cockpit module. A fact unknown by many was that Gus Grissom was chosen to command the first landing on the moon, Apollo 11 July 1969.

But 2 years before this tragedy, Ed white, in 1965 successfully completed a dangerous, and first ever tethered space walk. He would be wearing a Speedmaster watch, Enough said …

RL Austen limited are proud to sell from time to time quality secondhand Omega timepieces, as well as Rolex and Tudor timepieces. We have also a service agency for Omega repairs as I discovered many of our Rolex customers also own an Omega professional watch.

Below is a shot of our beautiful explored moon signed by the Buzz Aldrin, 2nd man to walk on the surface of our Moon. He was also 2nd man to walk off Dancing with the stars when eliminated age 80. In Buzz, we still salute a legend and heroic aviator extraordinaire.

If you are still on my journey of TIME, then thank you for giving YOUR TIME! I believe both our sun and moon are actually timepieces in their own right. They are positioned in the heavens above in precise order. Any other positioning as we probably learnt at school would have had dire implications on our very survival. We would suffer either extreme heat or extreme coldness across the globe. Much much worse than than Global warming. Ideal then to wear my unusual and overlooked by most watch lovers the great TUDOR North Flag. £2880 worth of high quality daring design in it’s colour and function seen below.

Putting my serious head on again , we really need to be saluting our 2 most important supporting planets. They both are responsible for light and darkness, and day and night as we know it. By having this simple format it is possible to therefore to have complete days. Complete days based on darkness and light can lead to hours that are separated by humans into minutes and seconds. Suddenly we discover the measurements of TIME and all its importance with maybe millions of hourly, daily, monthly and annually actions we give and take for granted in life itself.

The reason for showing my grand vintage old Breitling stop watch timer is this: Breitling were so impressed with TUDOR and their new chronometer movements, they also for cost and quality use them in certain models (without all the TUDOR patented parts). Again if you are ever unsure about purchasing a timepiece constructed by a near 100 year old company that is the sibling of probably the most talked about name in the watch world, ROLEX I hope you will rest assured, it is a good choice.

Below are a further selection of some interesting Tudor watches I own/ have owned over the decades.

Rare Tudor Aqua, 1960’s

Tudor Advisor series 1, manual wind from 1958 (with original red box)

Tudor Prince self winding automatic gold plated dive watch, engraved Rolex Geneva case back, 1970

Tudor Deco-style chrome cased manual wind watch, 1940’s

Tudor Black Bay P01, 2019
Tudor Heritage Chrono Blue, 2010