“Every time I looked at the watch during my studies and my work, it reminded me to work hard and never rely on anyone else for the things I want in life.”
Madeline French, People & Performance Administrator at Built in Victoria, another fellow alumna & second winner of our Baume & Mercier competition had no idea about the impact that one small moment in passing would have during some of the most important years of her life.
Tell us about the first watch that was ever significant to you.
The first watch I ever received was from my mother when I was about 15 years old.
She works as a nurse & needs to be able to read & wear her watch while in her scrubs but she couldn’t wear this one because as her vision got worse, it was harder to see.
One day, we were just having one of our chats in her room & as I watched her put washing away, she turned to me & said, “Do you want this one?”, pointing to her watch. It was so nonchalant. We’d often do this - hang out in her room & discuss anything & everything - moments I now look back on & cherish even more than I did then.
To understand why the watch is now significant now though is to understand the role my mother plays in my life.
My mother has never relied on anyone else. She has worked hard at her job as a Nurse in order to provide for her family whilst a single mother at the time. It is a job few can do, let alone for more than 27 years.
The watch reminds that she is an inspiration to me and anyone that meets her. She’s always the first to help others and I strive each day to have her work ethic, strength, independence and determination.
Did you have any idea the part it would play while studying & in drawing strength? Did you have any idea how symbolic it would become?
No. It was one of those things that started as “Look at my new watch!”. I remember feeling like the coolest kid in school. It was so beautiful. It’s actually quite similar to my new Baume & Mercier watch now with its coloured band & diamonds around the face.
I had no idea at the time that it would grow with me & act as a continuous daily reminder of the selflessness & continued determination of my mum. It reminds me of the virtues & values that she practices. Having the daily reminder allows me to draw from it more often than what I think I would otherwise.
Over time, it’s helped me to realise all of the sacrifices she's made. Someone who always goes above and beyond what’s expected.
She has shown me you can have it all if you manage your time effectively, an important trait to have. My mother was determined for me and my siblings to have a good life and education and she provided that along with my father.
Finishing up my first year working fulltime, as well as moving interstate, I think the greatest characteristic that I have taken from my mother is her resilience and motivation to make the best of any situation. Going from living with my parents to alone in a different state put me in new situations, where my boundaries were tested and I definitely feel more like my mother than ever before.
Do you think you would be able to have that continued determination if it wasn’t for the watch?
It would certainly be less of a daily reminder. When I started writing my entry, you have this renewed gratification which was a nice process to go through.
Every time I looked at the watch during my studies and my work, it reminded me to work hard and never rely on anyone else for the things I want in life.
There was actually a time where I was convinced that she didn’t sleep. She would go swimming, have all of our meals prepared, all of the cleaning done & I thought the only plausible explanation was “She doesn’t go to bed”. She does so much but I don’t know how. She made it seem so easy.
It’s hard to measure just how much of an impact that would have made over time but it certainly helped me.
Do you remember is there a moment in time that you remember that this watch has shaped you into the person you are today?
There was no particular moment but that’s what I love about it so much.
Over time, I've realised all of the sacrifices she's made but I think that was the one that made me realise that she's no regular mother or daughter. She somehow always goes above & beyond.
Tell me about what your new Baume & Mercier watch will mean to you now. Can you foresee that?
I haven’t bought myself a watch since my Mum gifted me hers. Since receiving my Baume & Mercier, it reminds me so much of what her watch meant to me. This is the first thing I have won, and the story behind it is so unique, that I can’t wait to pass onto my children.
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