Dennis Baily had purchased the watch in 1920. He’d come into five dollars as a reward for alerting a farmer that his barn door had broken and helping to round up the scattered animals before a thunderstorm. His parents had urged him to save the money, but Dennis had his eye on a young lady in town, and spent the money on the watch and other bits and pieces needed to make a presentable, if cheap and plebeian, outfit to wear when calling on her.

Muriel Donegal, impressed, agreed to marry him. Dennis then wore the watch on special occasions until 1947, when he died of a heart attack while trying to start a tractor. His son, James, took the watch as a memento and wore it daily even as the farm was sold and the family moved into Cascadia. It became such an element of his daily routine that James refused to leave the house without his father’s watch on his wrist. That same watch, left on a nightstand, was also the first indication that he’d suffered a stroke in 1980. His only child, Henrietta Baily, was left the watch and wore it on special occasions like family gatherings. When she married in 1984, it was on her wrist.

Much wrangling went on among her children about who would obtain the cherished heirloom afterwards. Henrietta maintained that it ought to be shared, but the family valued it too much for such a solution to stick; the squabbling intensified to a fever pitch in 2010 when Henrietta was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.

Not bad for a trinket that was mass-produced and retailed for a dollar…