The year was 1969 . My parents gave me my first wrist watch — it’s a Mickey Mouse watch, a simple watch with a red leather band and silver bezel. Mickey’s in the middle, just as you’d expect. The hour and minute hands are Mickey’s arms and the second-hand is a simple red pointer sweeping around and around marking the time in seconds.
It is simple. Wind it to get that pleasant ticking noise. But it’s a noise you can only hear if you lean in close and, well, listen.
Like a lot of things well made in that era — analog phones come to mind — my old watch still works. It’s worn but functional. The crystal has a few scratches. Time gave Mickey a lickin’ but it keeps on tickin’, as the old ad slogan goes. I love that old watch.
By today’s standards my old watch is a dinosaur. And here is what has replaced it on my wrist — an iPod Nano masquerading as a Mickey Mouse watch. It is sleek, modern and it does a lot more than count the seconds like my old watch did. It doesn’t just tell time. It also plays music and makes the gym more fun. And sure, it still tells the time.
But it doesn’t tick.
I miss that reassuring, subtle old-school ticking. The new Mickey Mouse watch just sits there minding its own business unless I listen to the FM radio or some of my own tunes stored on it. It’s not the same or as memorable as the watch I got when I was a kid. At least not yet.
Designers bringing the past into the future need to think of details like that. MIC .. KEY … Why? Because some things are just too good to forget.