I want to say

"I accidentally cast a glance at my watch... shoot! It's 10:30"

except I don't want to use the word "accidentally" (or cast for that matter...). Is there a way to maybe combine them with a word that encompasses both, an unintentional seeing of the time?

  • 1
    My gaze fell on my watch... Shoot! It's 10:30.
    – Hot Licks
    Oct 12 '18 at 23:07
  • I inadvertently glanced towards my watch?
    – Doc
    Oct 13 '18 at 2:56
  • I happened to glance at my watch?
    – Mr Lister
    Oct 13 '18 at 15:16
  • By the way, does this question not belong on Writers? I'm not sure where the boundaries lie.
    – Mr Lister
    Oct 13 '18 at 15:18

My first thought was that you might glimpse your watch:




  1. See or perceive briefly or partially.

    ‘he glimpsed a figure standing in the shade’

(from the Oxford Dictionaries)

But then I felt that wasn't quite right. What you really did was catch sight of your watch:

catch (or get a) sight of

Glimpse for a moment; suddenly notice.

‘when she caught sight of him she smiled’

So in your sentence, it would be:

I caught sight of my watch... shoot! It's 10:30!

An anonymous user (thanks, whoever you are!) noticed that the Oxford Dictionaries' definition of glimpse as a noun offers yet another option via its sample sentence:



  1. A momentary or partial view.

    ‘she caught a glimpse of the ocean’

The anonymous user noted that

_this may arguably imply even less intent than to "catch sight," since the latter can sometimes apply to an object one is specifically seeking.-

So perhaps the best option would be:

I caught a glimpse of my watch... shoot! It's 10:30!

(I'm embarrassed that I didn't put the two together myself!)


One way to do this would be to take yourself out of the subject position. You can make yourself the passive victim of your watch's attention-getting machinations by using the expression catch someone's eye. From MacMillan Dictionary:

if something catches your eye, you suddenly notice it
There was one painting that caught my eye.

So in your example, you were just minding your own business, not meaning to check the time at all, when suddenly

My watch caught my eye...shoot! It's 10:30!


If you didn't intend to look, then you probably wouldn't describe what happened with that verb. (Even if that's what happened.)

You could use one of the following phrases instead:

I became aware of the time.
I suddenly realized the time.
I noticed the time on my watch.


How about: "My eye strayed to my watch."


Remarked. I remarked the hands on my wristwatch - shoot 10:30!

  • 1
    Welcome to ELU, please elaborate why you think this is the best answer.
    – JJJ
    Oct 13 '18 at 17:59
  • Or even why you believe that it is an answer at all.
    – Scott
    Oct 14 '18 at 0:52

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