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A Grandfather’s Watch: A Tribute to Kindness

Nari Watch article 5 1

There are people that come into this world to prove to us that we are all here to shine through gratitude and loving actions. Mr Nairandas Vatvani affectionately known to all as Nari was a much loved and caring member of our community.

In today’s special blog segment, we offer a short story put together by his grandson David that encapsulates the iconic friendly man that sat outside his shop with a Cigar at hand with an ever-present smile and loving attitude. We hope you enjoy this short story of a watch, love and a man you felt privileged to have met.

Mr Nairandas Vatvani with the Gibraltar Chronicle in hand - Photo Illustration - A Grandfather's Watch: A Tribute to Kindness
Mr Nairandas Vatvani with the Gibraltar Chronicle in hand

The Beauty and Versatility of Watches

Watches are wonderful things. For hundreds of years they have adorned the pockets and wrists of the people of the world.

A watch is incomparable to any other item unique in its ability to transcend the boundaries between functionality, design and aesthetic value. There is literally a perfect watch for every person, from a silicone fob watch on a nurse’s tunic, to a jewel-encrusted masterpiece being paraded down the Red Carpet.

Indeed, in terms of price range alone, no other similarly sized items present such a wide spectrum of price for example of which, for all intents and purposes, fulfil the same purpose. An £8 Casio can, in certain instances, be a more appropriate proposition than a £1,000,000 vintage Patek Philippe.

It is this versatility that makes watches both so accessible, but also so desirable. Everyone can have an opinion on a watch, regardless of whether they are enthusiasts or not. Some may use a watch simply to tell time – the purest reason for the existence of the watch in the first place – with no particular preference towards brand or style.

Others may select a timepiece as a fashionable or avant-garde accessory, where kudos is earned on the cache of the designer label. Others value heritage, seeing a traditional watchmaker of a reputable pedigree, placing their trust in a proven legacy of quality products. Or some may prefer to invest in a manufacturer at the pinnacle of technological innovation, bringing modern advancements to the horological industry.

All of these reasons that may influence a person’s selection of a watch, however, are based on something tangible; perhaps how a watch looks, or how it functions. These are factors that will inevitably help a person to decide what watch to buy.

The Importance of a Watch’s Story

But, there is an entirely different reason that a person may choose to wear a watch that they have acquired rather than bought. And that is: the story. For example, a watch passed on by a loved one will almost certainly possess sentimental value one can simply not purchase, and if lucky, said watch may also bring with it a great story of a colourful past. Think Butch and his Grandfathers Lancet watch in the movie Pulp Fiction.

My Grandfather’s Hamilton Watch

It is precisely for this reason that the Hamilton in my humble collection is the watch I most cherish. My grandfather gave it to me a couple of years ago after I had displayed an interest in it sometime earlier. A 1960s early Hamilton Thin-o-matic, with a case thickness of only 7mm. The gold-plated bracelet attached to it does not appear to be original, but with this too I have had difficulty in tracing its origin. The single anchor on the clasp could be a clue – though I am pretty sure it is not Ulysse Nardin, Zero Watch Basel or even Calypso Watches.

Hamilton Thin-o-matic Watch Passed down by my Grandfather

The Characteristics of the Watch and My Grandfather

In the 1960s my grandfather used to live in the port city of Algeciras. He worked in Gibraltar and would travel across the bay by Ferry to get to work. On one such occasion, struck up a conversation with a young American and his fiancée, who were on their way to Gibraltar to get married. It turned out, however, that they were unsure about how they were going to manage it, as they were broke.

Nari in Algeciras Hamilton Watch Power of Kindness Article
Mr Nairandas Vatvani in Algeciras on his way to Gibraltar

My grandfather, being the generous man he was, could not allow this young couple in love to continue without helping them. He gave them £15, which in those days was enough to cover the marriage licence and Registrar’s fees.

The young American, dumbstruck by gratitude, handed my grandfather the only possession he had to give as a token of his appreciation – his Hamilton – an American-owned, Swiss-made brand which at the time, was not available in Gibraltar. He continued to use this watch, and over 50 years later handed it down to me.

A Timeless Reminder of Kindness and Generosity

My Grandfather passed away three days ago as I write this. As I admire and treasure the watch he gave me over the years to come, it will forever remind me of him. The watch will stand testament to its physical similarities in him; stylish yet elegant, practical and robust. And perhaps, more poignantly, it will represent the characteristics that personified him – generosity, kindness and his desire to do everything in his power to make a better life for those around him.

As he did for his family and for the people he didn’t even know; as he helped to start a new life for the American couple, ironically this watch will also remind me of the end of this too. But ultimately, the most important reminder will be the beating heart of the main spring forever echoing, the wonderful life he lived.

Dedicated to Nano from your loving grandson David 🙏 7th July 1927 – 27th February 2015

If you are the person in this story reading this or know somebody that fits this description get in touch, would love to hear from you, for more articles check out the rest of our blog right here.

We thank our friend David for this heartwarming contribution that brought a smile to my face and a few tears at a man that was always and will be continued to be loved. David is a passionate watch collector, father and petrolhead give him a follow on his Instagram to learn more.