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June 15, 2017
Four times in my life, I have held a moment in my hands; watching impatiently as the hands of time ceased movement for an instant, leaving a forever lasting impression.
The first time I sat, as an awe stricken child, watching my grandfather impress upon me the importance of a hard day’s work. The man was stoic, legendary in his own right, and a hero in my eyes. His figure was worn and tattered, the results of his own life choices and he wore his calluses with pride. He always emanated a smell of Trident gum, and sweat soaked alfalfa hay but took each step with an aged and staggered pride. For as long as I could remember, he adorned a wristwatch that he would systematically regard throughout the day, sigh, and continue his task at hand. At night, my tiny fingers would trace around the edges of the smooth glass feeling the pulse of the hands move, while he rocked me, and we dozed off to old episodes of Gunsmoke.
Around the time I was 8 years old, while working a desperate hay field, my grandfather’s watch band gave way and his treasured time piece fell to the dry ground. Acknowledging the importance, I froze in my stance and watched him slowly attempt to bend and pick it up. Swiftly avoiding the pain I knew would come to his eyes from bending, I gathered the watch up and slowly evaluated the shattered glass that I once traced.
My innocent hands opened to him, exposing the damage, but his eyes found mine. For a while he looked at me, reading the saddened expression on my face and finding a moment of softness that rarely crossed his hardened face. He lowered his gaze, and lifted the watch from my hands. Tears filled my eyes as the silence filled the air. Sensing an opportunity, he softly said:
“My Darling baby darling - time is only an illusion. It’s only meant to be a reminder. These hands have turned for me for many years, not to tell me what I’m late for, or how much time I have left. Every time I have looked at it’s face, it has shown me over and over again, a moment in time I should never forget. Never spend your life worried about the next tick of the watch, learn to appreciate the moment you are in. This watch will still serve it’s purpose, because when I look at it, it will remind me of this moment with you. And this moment, I cherish.”
As a student of my grandfather, I always listened closely. My ability to understand the profound nature of his statements was often muddled by my lack of experience. But still, the words drifted through my atmosphere, periodically appearing to reveal his wisdom.
The next two opportunities in my life to hold time in my hands, I was graced with the gift of my two children. Both profoundly beautiful in their own design, and flawless by nature. My then late grandfather’s words again struck me in those moments, and both times I whispered…….”And this moment, I cherish.” Over the course of four years, I watched my children grow, learn, develop. And over that same time, I was consumed with a love for them that I didn’t know possible. The illusion of time my grandfather spoke of in my youth was now something I felt I was constantly trying to slow down. Hours were abbreviated and days slipped by. Just like my grandfather, I would look at the face of innocence in my children, as a reminder to live in the moment.
But life has an intricate method of sending clear messages, and time will always change you.
The clarity you gain from hindsight is second to none. And somehow still, there is a subtle peace in knowing it happened for a reason; once all of the pieces come together.
The last time I held a moment in my hands, was in the light of tragedy. My calloused fingers traced circles around the tips of my son’s now lifeless fingers. Like the watch falling from my Grandfather’s hands, it was only an instant and time stopped. The deepest cuts are made by the blade of time, when it’s too short and not enough. Twenty years older, but still - I found myself the same little girl I was in the hayfield, staring into the shattered face of time, looking to my father figure for an explanation and softness. I looked at my son that day, knowing I would tell him goodbye. And the words that I had clung to, found me again.
It’s been years since I allowed myself to consider that moment. The emotional weight it carries is substantial. The words have danced in my head for several months now, spurred by a story that impacted me in a multitude of ways.
While working, which is my daily norm, I had an opportunity to follow up on a potential lead looking for professional consultation in a branded marketing campaign. Right up my alley.
“My name is Ilan, and I made a watch for my father.”
His words stopped me for personal reasons.
A Son. A Watch. A Gift.
Emotions crawled into my throat and took up residence, like an endless string of hurt tangled into a knot.
I knew nothing of this man, and little of his brand. The watches were beautiful, but the broken parts of me had avoided watches in general for quite some time. But as he spoke, I realized that this man was living the spoken words of my Grandfather.
He explained throughout the conversation that this brand had started after a failed attempt to find his Father, Peter, a suitable gift. His sincerity and humility in the conversation were stunning. Gifts that were worthy were outside of any rational budget, and any gift within budget didn’t meet the expectation. This was a man on a mission. With his experience in design, he explained (as if it was no big deal) he went through the process of designing a watch. The perfect watch. One that meant something and was considered luxury by every definition. He needed a timepiece, a moment catcher.
And so he made a watch, and he named it ÉGARD - loosely translating to: in consideration of.
As our conversations developed, and I came to know his story, I was offered the tremendous honor and opportunity to speak to his father. A man full of pride, and rightfully so. This man was given a gift by his son, and regardless of the time the hands show, the face will always represent a moment, and a tribute.
He has expanded the concept, to allow others to do the same. To give a gift of time, and allow others to hold a moment in their hands, that is personalized.
I’ve given way to the avoidance of a topic that once burned me, and have seen an opportunity to teach to my children the lesson I learned when I was young. When each of my 3 boys turn 8, I will give them a personalized Egard watch, and teach them the importance of a moment, and dissolve the the illusion of time.
“And this moment, I will cherish.”
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