The Industrial Revolution proved that machines can manufacture more cheaply, but the goods they made were still sold and served by humans. Today's mass produced goods are, increasingly, also served to us by machines!
"Key one for sales, key two for accounts", etc., followed by "all our staff are busy with other customers, please hold the line". Together with the dreaded self-service checkout, automated switchboards typify the cost-cutting approach that so many large organisations embrace - yet their prices continue to rise! It becomes ever more possible to live our daily lives without human interaction, yet only a few years ago the idea of doing the weekly shop without uttering a single word would have seemed ridiculous.
This minimal, robotic, level of service is compounded by the growth of 'built-in obsolescence'. I was once told that old-style incandescent light bulbs were designed to work for 1,000 hours - and not much longer, to ensure repeat sales. Now, all kinds of goods are made with a similar philosophy, instead of being built to last. To some extent advancing technology is the reason, but the drive for profit is surely the main factor.
However, there is one mechanical device that, even after hundreds of years, has not become obsolete, despite technical advances. Not only are old examples still in continuous use all over the world; they are as sought-after as ever. There are experts in most towns who can repair and refurbish them, helping to ensure that they will continue to be useful for centuries to come.
You might have guessed that I'm thinking of the clock, and although 18th Century watches are not as accurate or practical as clocks of that age, their 'graphical user interface' (dial, to you and me) is, of course, the same. It's a brilliant, piece of functional design. It's timeless!
Good modern watches don't have obsolescence built in, and if they are supported by the very best service and support, they are likely to be in use in another hundred years or more. At Harold Pinchbeck, although we are an internet-based business we know the value of human contact and we're always keen to talk to our customers by telephone, email and in person. We are also interested in our customers' watches in the long term, which is why we include a five-year warranty with every watch.