Wearing Two Watches

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During the latter half of the eighteenth century, wearing two was in vogue in Europe. It was only popular among the males at first, but soon, the females also adapted this fashion. However, watches were costly back then so many people would use faux watches. Usually, one would wear a genuine watch on one side, and a dummy watch on the other.

Some of those fake watches had intricate designs, such as dial plates with elaborate ornaments, or a watch decorated with precious stones. On the other hand, others were just cheap metals with colored foils.

This fashion was noted by an anonymous writer from Holbeach, Lincolnshire, in his or her short verse titled “Receipt to Make a Modern Fop”. It was published in Universal Magazine of Knowledge and PleasureVol. 60, June 1777.

Two tons of pride and impudence,
One scruple¹ next of modesty and sense,
Two grains² of truth; of falsehood and deceit,
And insincerity one hundred weight³.
Infuse into the skull of flashy wit
And empty nonsense quantum sufficit⁴.
To make the composition quite complete,
Throw in the appearance of a grand estate,
A lofty cane, a sword with silver hilt,
A ring, two watches, and a snuff-box gilt,
A gay⁵, effeminate, embroidered vest,
With suitable attire — probatum est⁶.

Notes

  1. An obsolete unit of weight equal to 20 grains, approximately 1.296 grams. It’s used by apothecaries.
  2. The smallest unit of weight in the troy and avoirdupois systems, approximately equal to 0.0648 gram.
  3. An archaic unit of weight equal to 50.8 kg. It’s usually written as “hundredweight”.
  4. Latin for “as much as is sufficient”.
  5. A dated usage meaning brightly colored and showy.
  6. Latin for “proven and tested”. This was traditionally written at the end of medical prescriptions.
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My name Edmark M. Law. I work as a freelance writer, mainly writing about science and mathematics. I am an ardent hobbyist. I like to read, solve puzzles, play chess, make origami and play basketball. In addition, I dabble in magic, particularly card magic and other sleight-of-hand type magic. I live in Hong Kong. You can find me on Twitter` and Facebook. My email is edmarklaw@learnfunfacts.com

10 thoughts on “Wearing Two Watches

  1. Having more than one watch is a decent late 18th century replacement for the smartphones of today, where one can keep track of the time in different parts of the world. Although, I suppose official time zones didn’t exist yet, so I don’t know how that would work.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. One of our pet parrots has the ability to understand time abstractly. The other day, when i was late with bringing them their snacks i apologized for being late. Tweetie then said, “Take your time!” As i was putting food into her bowl, i said, “A couple of minutes ago, when i said that i was sorry for being late, did you say, ‘Take your time’?” Tweetie replied, “Yes, i did; take your time!” 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

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