As many of you know I’m really into metaphors and allegories, it’s always a big feature of my music but I saw this in my other job today and it got me thinking.
I was dismantling this manual wind Omega watch from the 1960s and spotted that a previous watchmaker had scratched their name and the date under the ratchet wheel (you can just see it in the picture).
Now I’ve seen this kind of thing many times before and it’s common practice to inscribe the inside rear of watch case after a service, but not on the movement itself and especially where it’s been inscribed in such a hidden position. It’s completely obscured from view in every possible way and the only person that will see this is the next watchmaker that services the watch, in this case me. So why on earth would they do this? Well there’s only one reason I can think of and it’s some sort of marking your territory thing, a bit like when my dog has to relieve himself on every single lamp post on his walks. He’s leaving a message completely invisible to humans, to all the other dogs that this is his patch and I’ve been here… But even armed with this insight I’m still baffled…
Several years ago there was a famous case in the press, of a surgeon who’d basically done a similar thing on people’s internal organs. Yes, he’d actually tattooed his initials on his patient’s livers. As is the case with our watchmaker, no-one would ever see his work, and he probably thought no one would ever know until he unfortunately got found out when one patient needed a follow up operation and his misdemeanour was spotted by another surgeon.
Maybe he secretly actually wanted to get discovered, a bit like a graffiti artist that leaves his anonymous tag all over his neighbourhood but no one knows who they are. Perhaps the motivation for this is that in these people’s minds there’s a deep-seated insecurity that they are under threat and if they don’t subtly remind those that are in a position to recognise their work, it will somehow not be valid.
I write a lot about being a musician and bore people to death on social media with endless posts about what I’m doing. It’s a conundrum for sure, because for one, I’m an introvert that cringes at the thought of endlessly talking about yourself. Reading through my previous posts, in my own head I sound like an egotistical moron…but then to introverted people, these platforms are a bit of a secret cloak that you can put on to make you into an extrovert. Music is like that to me too. It turns introverts into extroverts. Like Red Bull, it gives you wings to express what’s on your mind in a more covert way, without the social embarrassment and fear of crowded rooms, or the direct challenge from more confident extroverts.
And then I guess there are many artists like our watchmaker friend that quietly go about their business creating their art in a dark corner, hidden from view and occasionally leaving a little reminder of their existence in secret places.