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This man fell overboard, and wearing a watch helped save his life

This may be the main reason you should be wearing a watch

blue and silver Patek Philippe watch
Diniy Salleh / Unsplash

We talk a lot about the importance of wearing a watch. It is an elegant way to show class and sophistication. Since World War II, they have been the go-to men’s accessories. While women wear everything from bracelets to rings, necklaces to earrings, men keep it simple, and many of us opt for a watch. But a watch can be more than just an elegant piece of jewelry; it can be a tool, something you can use to get the job done. And in one very interesting instance, something that can save your life.

Cambridge 61-year-old Will Fransen embarked on a fishing trip off the coast near the Alderman Islands, and it turned into a nightmare. After snagging what he expected was a marlin, Fransen fell overboard. As they do, the boat starts to drift away from him, and he soon realizes that he isn’t going to be able to catch it. Finding he was thirty nautical miles away from the shore and without his forty-foot boat, Fransen found himself in the middle of a real-life horror movie.

Fossil watch
Hugo Delauney / Unsplash

His situation worsens

Like any good horror movie, Fransen’s situation gets even worse. Once his boat was out of reach, the fisherman decided that swimming to the coast was his best bet. As he swam closer and closer, Mother Nature became even more determined to keep him away by using the tides to push him back out to sea.

And again, like every good horror movie taking place in a sea, the situation got worse when a shark took notice. “Fortunately, it decided it wasn’t interested,” Fransen said after his ordeal. “It would have been a good couple of meters, so it could have easily dealt with me.” The shark haunted Fransen in the ocean for the rest of his time in the water. Every time his foot wrapped up in seaweed, he panicked a little and thought the night was over.

Boat on the water
Oleksandr P / Pexels

He was saved by something completely unexpected

“When I went in the water, I knew the chances of somebody even knowing I was in the water were pretty slim. I was pretty pessimistic from the outset. I just kept staying alive.” He told how he felt there was little chance any boats would be out due to worsening weather. Then, he had a bright idea to use his watch to signal boats with a reflection. “As I was trying to get my arm up, I would just go underwater. So that boat duly motored away. Then something changed. The wind stopped, the sea got a bit calmer.”

Three fishermen saw what they said was an unusual reflection in the water. When they got closer, they discovered it was a man floating among the waves. Miraculously, his first words when he was rescued were “glad to see you.” The man floated for 24 hours before a miraculous rescue under the most unlikely circumstances.

You may never be in a horror movie. You may never find yourself floating in an ocean without a glimmer of hope that someone will come by and pick you up. But just in case, wear a watch. It may just save your life.

Mark McKee
Mark is a full-time freelance writer and men's coach. He spent time as a style consultant and bespoke suit salesman before…
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