29 June 2012, Clink Street, London
I never wore a watch until I started flying aeroplanes. As a pilot, you're required to carry one along with a pen and paper, and if you'll be flying at night, a torch too. So at age 26, I bought my first watch. Not knowing any better, I put it on my right wrist, despite being right handed, something I have done ever since. Consequently I've developed an interest in watches for left-handers. (The list of famous left-handers is long. If you're left-handed, you can count Kermit the Frog and Bart Simpson amongst your number.)
The key thing about a left handed watch is that it is worn on the right wrist and the crown, and any pushers, are on the left, so they can be easily accessed by the left hand. On a basic centre seconds watch, this is straightforward. Simply turn the movement and case through 180° and it is a left-hander. With careful design, you can use the same case, dial and movement for both left- and right-handed versions of a watch.
In a complicated watch, something has to give. If you turn the movement upside down, off-centre indicators are in the wrong place (and the pushers inverted). The standard industry solution to this is to print a separate dial for the left-handed version of a watch. Unfortunately, that adds significantly to the inventory and design costs in return for a minor (in sales terms) augmentation of a range.
We've just filed a patent on a different approach. We put actuators for the pushers on both the left and right side of the movement. As our watches are electronic, it's easy enough to wire the switches in parallel so the buttons on both sides have identical effects. (Our patent covers mechanical watches, too, although they would be harder to realize.) To make a left-handed watch, all you need to do is put the case on upside down. You can even do this part-way through the watch's life, turning it from a right- to a left-hander and back again.