Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Of time, timepieces, and reading Dickens

Or: a simultaneous review of Bleak House and the Fieldcrest Watch by Jord. 

This morning, I finished the final thirty pages of Bleak House, a project I began four months ago but picked up for real about two months back. At a pace of ten to twenty minutes a day, I slowly made my way through this chunky 940-page volume. I picked it up and put it down often, until it began to feel a little like a companion following me through a portion of my year. It saw the change of seasons from Autumn (Queensland’s lazy reverse-spring) to full Winter, and the ebb and flow of the plot points somehow seemed to bear a relationship, however slight, to the rhythm of my own days.

 I suppose it’s inevitable that a book we spend so much time with becomes a part of us, in some small way – especially when the book itself is a reflection on time and the passage of time. From its opening, which introduces us to the futile, convoluted, and endlessly-debated lawsuit of Jarndyce and Jarndyce, there is a sense of time as a temptress, calling young dreamers to pin their hopes on it as the realisation of all their vain imaginings. In time, the suit of Jarndyce and Jarndyce will be resolved. In time, its young suitors will be granted the wealth they’ve been promised. In time, the world will be theirs and they the world’s. In this way, time is a liar and a cheat.

But in Bleak House, time is also a revealer of secrets. It digs up long-buried shame, calling into question illusions of prestige, birthright, and identity. Time brings light to dark places, revealing the true heart of Bleak House’s characters, shining starkly on the fickle-minded and beaming on the steadfast. Time is also a healer, covering over old wounds, stitching together broken relationships, and soothing bitter grief. Most of all, it proves the mettle of the characters in Bleak House that I came to love – Esther Summerson, John Jarndyce, Allan Woodcourt, Caddy Jellyby, George the trooper, and so many more.

It’s apropos then that today, the day I concluded a large investment of time into a book so concerned with time, is also the day I review this gorgeous timepiece sent to me by JORD Wooden Watches. When JORD approached me about collaborating, I was delighted. I’d been seeing their lovely range of wooden watches around and really appreciated the functionality combined with an understated sense of style.

It’s been some years since I’ve had a new wrist watch and the one I was sent – the Fieldcrest design in green sandalwood – impressed me immediately with its beautiful detailing. All the key components of the watch, including the face casing and the band, are carved from softly-polished sandalwood. The deployment buckle with push buttons, used in place of a clasp, is made from stainless steel while the glass face is scratch-resistant and splash-proof.

The variegated grain of the timber, with tones from a soft caramel to a deep, almost oceanic green-brown, makes for a piece of jewellery that will mesh well with any outfit, from smart-casual to something a little fancier. I love the large and open face and the timeless, gender-neutral styling. This is a piece that would look good on anyone, and make a unique gift, especially for a graduation or 21st – or maybe the completion of a first draft manuscript that promises to rival Bleak House?

If you’ve been eyeing off the JORD range of wooden watches for yourself, brilliant news: JORD is giving you the chance to win a $75 voucher to spend on any watch in their range. Better yet, everyone who enters will receive a $20 e-gift card for their own wooden watch discount. (I want to sing “Wooden it be nice”, but I’m too mature for that, right? Right.)

To enter, be sure you’re following both me and JORD on Instagram. Leave a comment on this post tagging two friends who’d be interested, and jump over to this link to leave your email address. Couldn’t be simpler! The comp is open internationally, and I wish you all the best of luck.

One final thought: if Dickens could weave a compelling saga with an endless and inane lawsuit at its centre, what kind of story could he have written with a beautiful wooden watch at its heart? I can only imagine.

Bleak House
Charles Dickens
Atlantic Crime Classics, 941 pages 
JORD Wood Watches