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Kerry McLean: Why the watch my granny gave me is the world's most precious timepiece

Watches can be hugely expensive, but cost isn’t always everything
Watches can be hugely expensive, but cost isn’t always everything

By Kerry McLean

There were a couple of nights this week when the weather was so bad, so blustery and boisterous that it woke me up from a sound sleep. I've always loved that feeling of being warm and safe in my bed, of snuggling down under the covers while listening to mother nature throw a wintry tantrum outside my window, so I was happy enough to lie there and hear the howling winds and the rain battering against the outside of our house.

As the stormy weather died down, my thoughts drifted off to thinking about what it would be like to live in a part of the world where extreme weather systems are part of everyday life, places such as Tornado Valley in the southern states of America.

How do people go about their day-to-day lives without constantly looking to the sky and worrying about what might be coming their way? How nerve-racking would it be to send your children off to school, not knowing if some monumental whirlwind might pay a visit to their building?

They must have arrangements in place in case the worst should happen, emergency kits with food and water and plans for what to take and what to leave if they hear the sirens announcing a twister is on its way.

There are few things that I'd stop to rescue if my house were about to blow away in a Wizard of Oz style. My children, the dog and my husband would, of course, be at the top of my list - and probably in that order. Apologies to my lovely hubby for putting him after the dog, but my reasoning for that is that he has opposable thumbs and can open the door handle for himself, whereas the dog would need a bit more help to make her escape.

Next up would be my special cabinet which, luckily, sits right by the front door so we wouldn't have far to carry it. Just as well because it weighs a tonne, stuffed as it is with all the incredibly precious little bits and bobs my children have made for me over the years, sock puppets, clay jugs which have been made with a freeform approach to shape and ability to hold liquids and many shells and rocks covered in glitter and paint.

They're all items which would have absolutely no value to anyone else but are beyond priceless to me. In fact, there are few things worth any value that would feature on my list of items to be saved. I couldn't give a hoot about any electronic devices, although I can't see my teenage daughter escaping without her phone in her hand or my son without his Xbox under his arm.

The only expensive items of mine that would be salvaged are those that also have a high level of emotional attachment, such as my engagement ring, the necklace my parents bought me for my 21st birthday or the watch my granny bought me when I turned 40.

I'm not a great fan of jewellery and, while the first two items are safely locked away, the watch is the only item that I wear every day. I love that any time I look at the face of the clock, it makes me think of my wee granny and, knowing her, the hours she probably spent picking out the timepiece that she thought I'd most love.

This week a watch went up for sale in Switzerland that broke the record for most expensive ever created and sold. Created by the company Patek Philippe (I'd never even heard of them before), the watch, we were told, had four spring barrels, a reversible case with two dials in rose gold and black and five chiming modes. I don't know what half of that means but, given the fact that it sold to an anonymous bidder for £24.2m, I'd also expect it to wash my floors and make me a cup of tea in the morning.

If some kind soul wanted to gift it to me, I would, of course, be delighted, but I also know that if I found myself in Tornado Alley, it would be my granny's watch that I'd grab before going out the front door.

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