This might sound like a headline taken from a watch ad but rest assured - it is not.
So let’s begin. There once was a Dane called Henning Enoksen. He had extraordinary skills when it came to football, especially the art of scoring goals. As the papers said back then - he could kick a ball round a corner, or bend it like Beckham to use a contemporary phrase. It made him one of the most feared centre forwards of his generation, and the most scoring player in the history of the Danish football league.
When he finally hung up his boots he had 54 caps and an Olympic silver medal to his name. The resume could easily have ended here, filed amongst other past sporting heroes.
But Henning was not your average footballer. He was an academic with a very pragmatic, yet philosophical approach to life. He believed strongly in what he referred to as ‘The Whole Human Being’. It was based on the indisputable fact that life lasts for as long as you are here on this earth, and that one should make the most of it from start to finish. To him it was not enough to shine brightly for 10 years as a football star. He understood that it was necessary to be not only prepared for, but also to relish, the very different life that follows fame and being recognised everywhere you go.
He educated himself and made his wealth of experience and knowledge available to others. He taught thousands of school teachers, he established elite sports academies, he reformed Danish football in areas like the manager and referee education programmes, he travelled to every World Cup to learn and to observe, he trained with German Bundesliga teams, he became the manager of Iceland, and he helped lay down the tracks to allow Danish football to move from also-rans to a regular fixture in the world top 10 rankings.
He also raised a family and when he passed away in 2016 he left a legacy that inspired me to establish Enoksen Watch Company, based on the values he had based his life on:
1. Be on time
2. Be well prepared for whatever is on your agenda on any given day
3. Be in the moment and treat people with undivided interest and respect
4. Be impeccably dressed
5. Live below your means
Everyone can make a list of life rules but he actually lived by them. His rules also became a manifest of Enoksen Watch Company.
Many years ago, when it was time for me to have a proper watch instead of the digital contraptions worn by everyone back in the late 70s, he gave me a timepiece he had received back in 1959 as recognition from the Danish FA. Whilst he enjoyed the watch and what it represented, he rarely wore it himself due to its rather erratic timekeeping. A man obsessed with being on time could not have a watch that would potentially make him late.
It was not a particularly big watch and that somewhat bothered me. I was grateful for having been gifted it, but I was probably not old enough to appreciate its significance. So it travelled with me through life. Sometimes I would wear it for weeks on end, sometimes it would spend years in its little pouch. I would experiment with different straps but it always ended up with something in dark brown or black. It became my dress watch and in the end I only wore it with a dark suit or a black tie. One such occasion was my wedding - at that time my dad was too ill to attend, and I wore the watch in his honour.
The watch, in case you wonder, is an Omega Seamaster from the late 1950s with a case of steel and 9k gold. The movement is mechanical and it measures 34mm excluding the crown.
When my dad died back in 2016 the watch took on a whole new meaning to me. It embodied the 80 years he had spent trying to be a Whole Human, and it forever linked me to my roots, to my bloodline. I decided to finally address the issue that had compelled him to only use it on rare occasions: the appalling timekeeping. I had it sent to Omega in Switzerland for a full restoration including a full movement refurbishment and a calibration. I left the dial and the case untouched but it needed a new crown and a new crystal.
When it came back it was finally able to be a companion to someone living by the five rules above. I know I will cherish this watch for the rest of my life, and when the time comes I will make sure it moves on to the next generation so a new chapter can be written.
So back to the question asked in the headline: Can a watch change your life? I think it can and this watch has changed mine.