Consider this quote :
For when Sir John Narborough, in the year 1670, wintered in Port St. Julian, on the coast of Patagonia, Capt. John Wood, then his lieutenant, and an approved artist in sea affairs, did observe the beginning of an eclipse of the moon, Sept. 18ⅤO stil. vet. at just 8 night; and the same beginning was observ'd by M. Hovellius at Dantzick at 14h 22'; whence Port St. Julian is more westerly than Dantzick 6h 22', or than London 5h 6, that is 76 ½ Gr.
The text goes on to describe how the Falklands were discovered (and by whom), but that doesn't interest us here. Rather, we're establishing that in point of fact a watch was a most important accessory in the age of sail (which is to say, three centuries, from early 1500s to late 1700s, thirty decades, sixty five-year plans -- in a word, plenty of time).
If we could venture an illustration, the watch of this time was the direct equivalent of the knight's sword in years prior : one item worth more than a whole family of peonsi ; so much more, in factii, that most knights wouldn't have traded their tried and trusted sword for a random family (which is to say, for a shot at the average).
Watches were similarily expensiveiii, and the pean they attached to their lucky owner similarly, if not moreso coveted. What is to be said of you "and an approved artist in sea affairs" than the very point of manly existence, the whole enchilada, complete and entire ; exactly the same as such accolades as might have enjoyed Gawain or whoever -- only moresoiv besides!
We can agree then, that watches were not only hard to make but in great demand because of their great utility, and therefore, expensive. Now... what are you missing ?
While you're pondering what you might be missing, consider this other quote :
As easy and streamlined as this process is for the inner city guy with no other resources, it is that much harder for anyone with a driveway. It isn't for you. I know this because, by the way you phrased your question, do not own a gun and are not likely to set your town on fire when your team wins/loses. I realize in your case you're filing a disability claim with an employer, but the idea is the same: you did work. How do you show you now can't work? It would have been easier to "prove" you can't work if you never worked. That's SSI.
Truth be told, this is how you think, is it not ? In order for you to believe a woman's not an utter dog of a mercenary whore, perfectly ready and perfectly willing to bend over and take cock right across the restaurant table in exchange for the valuable consideration of a cigarette or something, she must show you...
She must show you what ? What is it that she must show you ?
That she's a virgin, isn't that right ? In order for you to believe she's not the omniwhore, she has to satisfy the substitute test of being the Virgin Mary herself!
That's the "logic of the system" : religious protestantism through and through. In order for them to have become disabled they must show they were never able, that's the standard. And it takes you readily (but, and that's the important part, disavowedlyv) into all sorts of rank idiocies, inenarrable crap on the level of "in order to be a safe driver she must show she's never driven" and so on. What better way to ensure a sane relationship with alcohol in an adult's life than to make a huge deal of it for the first two decades, and go out of your way to ensure his first introduction is too-late binge drinking ?
This is why you're missing the thing you're missing, above. And you will go right on missing it, too. For three centuries, if need be, you'll go right on missing it. I buttress this wild claim of mine against the strong wall of history : for those three fucking centuries during which they tried and toiled and saved and worked and took fucking years at a time to go on the sea and measure & explore things, in all of that fucking time never once, never once, NOT EVER ONCE did it occur to them, as it doesn't occur to you right now, that in point of fact three watches bought for a cost of ten pounds each are a better instrument together than a hundred pound watch could ever hope to be.
But you don't want to see that it makes no sense to have a wife. So much and so deeply and so dedicatedly do you not want to see this, that it was perfectly acceptable (and even somewhat common) for an ESLtard going about the field in the 1200s to carry three swords -- because it was a matter of certain fact that he couldn't possibly use more than one at a time ; yet it was unheard of to carry multiple watches three centuries later. I do not mean merely uncommon -- it was outright ridiculous.
Why ? Come to think of it, what do you expect is the social function of ridicule ? Has it ever occured to you that's what you do when someone does things that contradict "the world you wish to see" ?———
- Defined as one productive older female and a couple or more younger ones not yet tested, plus whatever other
eunuchs"apprentices" came with the package. [↩]
- Swords were exceedingly expensive in medieval times, because they were made by blacksmiths out of rare materials.
Consider the matter in its proper light : subsistence agriculture as practiced early 1100s to late 1400s required pretty much "all hands on deck", so to speak. A group of adults could perhaps produce enough surplus to raise enough children as to replenish the group itself ; but only rarely and occasionally could they produce enough surplus to actually permit adults occupations besides agriculture itself.
Meanwhile a blacksmith is an adult who occupied himself his entire life to date, and, further, reasonably expects to continue occupying himself for the foreseable future, in the working of metals. If it's not directly obvious how expensive that "reasonably expects" part is, talk to alf, or I guess review the history of "transition economies" in the lands of the Warsaw pact ; but even in the blind-to-foresight case what's required is perdurant sufficient abundence, because if there's a famine just as your future blacksmith turns 17 you just lost a few man-food-years and still didn't get the blacksmith.
So in this sense, the per-capita value of a regulation blacksmith (not that they had the GoST yet, but whatever) is whatever the cost of ~insurance~ for forty or so ~consecutive~ years of man-food are for him. Leaving aside the issue as a commercial matter, because evidently the markets of the time weren't nearly developed enough to be capable of meaningfully pricing such a thing (hence the very pronounced need for kingly allocations), the proposition still stands that the time-cost of blacksmith exceeds the time-cost of peon family, and by a hefty margin at that -- on the face of things perfectly hefty enough to make the trade of (the time it takes a blacksmith to make one sword) for (an entire family outright) a bad deal.
Consider besides how we've not even talked of the problems iron poses -- it has to be dug up and transported long distances, which yes can all be done by unskilled labour (therefore not running into the insurance problems above) but nevertheless, it's a lot of damned work, what. [↩]
- Because unlike swords, at least as far as anyone knew back then, they require an entirely new dimension : they must be precise. A sword is just a hunk of metal. Notwithstanding complex considerations of metal lattice organisation, a good sword can readily be made through the cheapest process there is -- that of making a hundred, or ten thousand, or however many bad swords. Much more importantly -- there's not properly speaking such a thing as a good or bad sword -- slightly bad swords still have a market value ; whereas a time keeping instrument that's 1% inaccurate is just as uselessly inaccurate as another time keeping instrument that's 5% or 15% inaccurate. There's no prize for getting it almost-right in watchmaking, a point brought most painfully to the fore by sea voyages.
Yes the country squire of old may go to the faire besplendently bedecked in grandfather's (cracked, and therefore practically useless) greatsword, which, from a distance and for the needs of the faire maidens looks entirely "just as good" as a real sword ; and similarily his great-grandson the respectable merchant may go to "The City" wearing a clunker of a timepiece that works "good enough 'till closing time", especially if carefully adjusted by the Big Ben every single blessed morning (what, you never realised before why tower clocks were needed ?). Nevertheless, out there by the desolate coast of Patagon, there's no one to give you the time.
In a sense, so to speak, the sword's moved by the hand, whereas the clock has to move by itself -- a dextrous user can not in any manner help the watch, even if historically he could considerably bless and round the present shortcomings of any sword.
Robotics, amirite ? [↩]
- Ironically, the moreso will go along the lines of "not only strong -- also smart" notwithstanding the contrarity of reality : the watch releases the owner from any need for smarts by being (within a limit and to a degree) smart for him, whereas the sword requires in its handling all that smart it can't, by itself, provide! [↩]
- Meaning, you pretend to not know about it, and you make up inane shit so as not to have to confront the plain fact that you knew about it all along. [↩]