For Christmas a year or two ago, Sarah bought me a digital watch that has tide information for key surfing destinations around the world. There is a little picture of a wave on it that goes up and down according to the tide height, and a picture of the moon that changes according to the phase of the moon (and the light changes colour according to the phase of the moon) since the moon affects the strength of the tides. It’s very very cool. But no good for work. It’s huge and bright blue and not very, um, worky.
The watch that I used to wear, and loved, stopped working and after lots of effort and expense with trying to fix it, I finally give up on my lovely Swiss Army watch and started on a quest for a new watch. That quest lasted about 6 months, but this weekend I found the answer.
I bought a Nixon watch (the Small Channel T). And the cool thing about this watch is that it tells the tide with an analog hand. Instead of a second hand on the main dial, there is a tide hand, that rotates around the dial according to the tide. At 12, it’s high tide, and at 6 it’s low tide. And it reflects the rising and falling of the tide with the hand moving. It’s pretty elegant. It also has a small dial for the phase of the moon, and another dial for the seconds.
What I love about this watch is that it’s really easy to set. With my Baby G, to set the tide information for your current location (if you weren’t at one of the pre-determined surf spots) you need to acquire all sorts of specific and technical information about things I never understood or could get hold of. Then you have to remember how to enter it through the difficult combination of buttons. With the Nixon, I hold down a button and move the hand until it is where I know the tide is – incredibly easy to set with a tide table available from local surf shops when travelling. It’s also silver and black, which is far more appropriate for the world of work.
But don’t think the Baby G has been discarded. I use it all the time for swimming and exercising in the gym, because it’s plastic and doesn’t mind at all if I sweat and shower all over it. And Sarah is going to have it when we go surfing, so we’ll both be able to say ‘oooh, the tide is coming in, shall we go for a surf’. Or, as likely, ‘oooh, the tide is coming in, shall we go for a beer and watch the surfers’.
And as to whether such a thing is actually necessary in any way, the obvious answer is no. I live in London, surf very rarely, and when I do surf I don’t have much choice over when or where, so the state of the tide is almost immaterial. However, it does make me happy to be reminded of surfing whenever I check the time.