They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. They also say flattery will get you nowhere.* So Quindell’s recently announced plans to change its name to one closely modelled on that of our illustrious sponsor Bankstone may or may not turn out to be a good idea.

By substituting the word Watch for Bank, to create the neologism Watchstone, Quindell no doubt hope to emulate what the mighty Bankstone did in choosing a freshly-minted compound name that evinces gravitas, durability and dependability.

But what exactly is the name Watchstone intended to convey?

Maybe we’re talking about some kind of stone that you watch – perhaps as a means of gauging, for example, the point on the horizon at which the sun will rise on morning of the winter solstice – or perhaps simply because the paint has all dried already.

Or maybe – inspired by a quick glance corporate-cuff-wards in that brainstorming session – it’s a reference to one of those sparkly little nuggets of precious mineral which – in sufficient numbers – can turn a perfectly ordinary wrist-mounted timepiece into the kind of thing for which a poorly armed criminal would bite your hand off.

Or perhaps it’s simply an anglicised version of the name of secret backer Adolfus Uhrstein. Perhaps we’ll never know.

Sticking two words together to make a new one, of course, cleverly allows you to nab a nice short URL for your website. That’s how Bankstone got it’s nifty bankstone.co.uk address and also how Pen Island snapped up this little gem: www.penisland.net

Mean-spirited spoilsports out there, not that they’ll be reading Bankstone News, still have an opportunity to stick a virtual spanner in the works by purchasing the www.watchstone.co.uk domain while Quindell awaits board approval for the name change.

No doubt Quindell also hopes to achieve something of the same toxic-reputation-shedding effect that Windscale was aiming for when it changed its name to Sellafield after the 1957 fire.

Given that the ’57 incident was just one of 21 serious accidents or incidents involving the release of radioactive material between 1950 and 2000, and that the site subsequently acquired an unwelcome reputation for ‘disappearing’ the internal organs of people who’d worked there, the effect was short-lived in Sellafield’s case.

No doubt Quinstone will be more careful.

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Et in Orcadia ego.

* Unless they’re in the mood for flirting, dallying, fribbling, or otherwise generally hussying about.


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