Friday, September 27, 2019

Time Serviced

a short story by Bill Adler

The following is a record of email correspondence between John Loftus and One Watch, from which John Logan purchased a Grand Seiko SBGA403, a GMT Spring Drive of exceptional beauty. In September 2019, the Grand Seiko SBGA403 made its journey from One Watch’s Florida shop to San Francisco, where John Logan lives.

Or so he thought. There was an unplanned detour along the way.

September 10, 2019:

Hi Hallie, Just wanted to let you know that FedEx seems to have lost the watch. It was supposed to have arrived yesterday according to an automated email, but now the tracking information says, “No Delivery Date Scheduled.” I even received an email from FedEx that said, “Preparing for your delivery,” but after that, crickets. Can you help me? -John

SBGC231 photo by Samuel Chan
September 11, 2019

Hi John, I’m so sorry to hear that your watch hasn’t arrived on schedule. I’ll contact FedEx and let you know what they say. -Hallie

September 12, 2019

FedEx is still looking for your watch. The latest tracking information says it was at their hub in Memphis. Thanks for being patient. We’re on it. -Hallie

September 12, 2019

Thanks, Hallie. It’s strange that the watch was scheduled for delivery, but then just vanished. I’ll stand by. -John

September 13, 2019

John, We’ve enlisted our insurance company to help track the package down. This has only happened once before, but one way or another you’ll have a Grand Seiko SBGA403, even if we have to send you another. Hang in there. -Hallie

Hi Hallie. Thanks again. It still says “Processing at Memphis.” It’s been that way for three days. I’ll hold on. I have faith. -John

September 15, 2019

They found your watch! It got misplaced somehow. It will arrive in San Francisco in a few days. Same tracking number as before. You’re a prince for being so patient. -Hallie

September 17, 2019

I got it! Thanks. You’re wonderful!

October 1, 2020

Hi Hallie. Do you remember me? I ordered a Grand Seiko SBGA403 (nicknamed Chewbacca) from you about a year ago. The package was lost for several days with no tracking information and no indication of what happened to it during that interval.

I’m not writing about any problems. The watch is still working great. In fact, too great. Weirdly great. This isn’t my first Grand Seiko Spring Drive, so I’m familiar enough with them to know the range of a Spring Drive’s accuracy. I set the watch when it arrived a year ago; the SBGA403 hasn’t lost or gained a single second in over a year. The second hand is right on the money. Exactly, even after a year. Although Seiko rates the Spring Drive to +/- a second a day, some people’s watches will do a bit better. But no Spring Drive I’ve ever heard of is perfectly accurate like this one.

Here’s the other thing. The power reserve. It’s supposed to be 72 hours. But it lasts six months on a single winding.

Anyway, I’m happy with Chewbacca. Thanks again for all your help a year ago. I just wanted you to know how it’s both fantastic and strange. -John

October 2, 2020

John, Thanks for the update. I’m glad you’re enjoying the watch. That is odd, but it’s a Grand Seiko, so not so surprising, eh?

“Sam. Sam I Am,” Chip said. He scanned the box in front of him with his laser wand.

“Stop calling me that,” Sam said. He sneered at Chip. 

“I’ll stop calling you Sam I Am when you stop messing up.”

“Oh, did I make a mistake?” Sam grunted as he put the FedEx box he was sorting on the table. 

“Only like the third time this month. Stop with the innocent look, too. You know exactly what happened. You put a parcel in the experimental temporal sorter.”

“I did?” Sam blinked several times at Chip, surrendering to him with a wide smile. He shuffled his feet on the concrete floor as if starting a dance routine. 

“Where did you FedEx it?” Chip demanded. “We could lose our jobs for this.”

“Chill.” Sam waved his hands in an arc. “Nobody’s going to know we used the ETS. What’s an experimental device if you can’t experiment with it? Besides, you mean ‘when and where.’”

“Just tell me.” Chip tapped his foot on the concrete floor. 

“The customs invoice on the box said the contents were a Grand Seiko, so I FedExed it to Seiko in 2039, along with some instructions.”

“What instructions?” Chip narrowed his eyes. 

“Please service this watch.”


“FedEx in 2039 returned the package a few days later the same way they received it, through the temporal sorter. The ETS is no longer experimental in 2039. But it’s all good. Seiko serviced the watch and I forwarded it to the original recipient in our time, a guy named Logan in Frisco. No harm, no foul.”

SBGC231 photo by Samuel Chan

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