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As a child, completing the 4th grade, seemed to mean that we had reached sufficient maturity to use a watch. My case was not an exception and I was offered my first watch after being approved in the written and oral examination to get my clearance, which required a visit to a public school. My first watch, a “Cauny” whose fate I ignore, served me during middle school and in the first years of high school until I became fascinated with the technology of the first digital watches with red LEDs, that required the push of a button to be able to read the time. The battery lasted between six months and one hour, depending on the user’s willingness to show off his new gadget. But I had no idea of the change that had occurred in my life.

Until then my life was controlled by the oscillating movement of a balance wheel driven by the energy stored in a coiled spring. It required continuous care and was inherently imprecise, sensitive to position, movement and temperature. By getting a digital watch time was now measured by counting the number of oscillations of a Quartz crystal resulting from the piezoelectric effect. Since then, my whole life has been governed by the oscillations of Quartz cristals, not only inside my watch, but also in my computer, cell phone, microwave oven and even to the dishwasher. Time, measured with this precision, runs clearly faster. At least, up until this Christmas.

Fed up with this tyranny, I asked for Christmas a time measuring device that could be worn on the wrist and whose movement was not controlled by such a vulgar mineral (the Quartz is, after Feldspar, the most common mineral in the continental crust of the Earth). And it was thus that on December 25th, I received my second clock with a balance wheel, this time automatic and manufactured in Russia. Now I have an excuse for being late on cold days.

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