My next book, A Well-Timed Murder, is about the Swiss watch industry. In it, Agnes Lüthi investigates the murder of a prominent watchmaker, Guy Chavanon. Agnes quickly learns that despite the industry’s reputation, nothing about the man’s death seems precise. Ultimately, timing will be the key to law enforcement, and possibly to love as Agnes races to stop the killer before he strikes again.
While writing A Well-Timed Murder I dove head first into the watch industry. Today, with a ‘watch’ on every smart phone and inexpensive wristwatches that keep accurate time, we don’t give much thought to how time controls our life.
For thousands of years, time related to the rise and fall of the sun. The Egyptians divided the day into two 12-hour period and used obelisks to track the sun’s progress.
In the early 14th century mechanical clocks yielded more precision. As the century progressed, watches (as jewelry) developed as novelties for the wealthy elite. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries pioneering pilots strapped timepieces to their wrists so they could keep track of fuel usage. At the same time, the British army required greater coordination and timing among the troops. Clearly the need for practical and precise wristwatches had arrived. Fast forward to today and every person with a smart phone can mark time to hundredths of a second. Time is now everything.
Watches are appreciated for their beauty and collectability. Every minute of our day is accounted for (and in some industries billed-for). We have greater accuracy but, perhaps, that’s not always a good thing?
I wonder how people mark their days now. Through constant checking of the computer clock, their iPhone, or an antique Patek Philippe? And does the constant realization that minutes are slipping past help or hurt us?
I have days where time seems to stand still. Those are the days I want to capture. That’s the kind of timing that means everything.