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Half Past Hotness: Twelve Historic and Artistic Clocks

Clocks aren’t always our best friends. They move too fast, they move too slow, they remind us that we’re late, or sometimes they prove that our lives are slowly slipping away. Many times clocks don’t exactly deliver good news, but wouldn’t we take the bad news better if the clock were incredibly original and fun? These clocks tell time, but they tell it with style.
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Colgate Clock, New Jersey
Prague Astronomical Clock, Prague
Bespoke Clock, Derby, UK
Clock Sculpture, Paris
Floral Clock, Tehran
Cevahir Mall Clock, Istanbul
Sundial, Northern Ireland
Wishing Fish Clock, Gloucestershire, UK
Metronome, New York City
World Clock, Berlin
St. Mark’s Clock, Venice
Tiffany Clock at Grand Central Terminal, New York

Cevahir Mall Clock, Istanbul

Currently the largest clock in the world, with a face diameter of forty-three meters, this clock, in a Turkish mall, is set into the windowed ceiling. Plans to build an even bigger clock in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, are under way. Photo source: Wikimedia Commons

Prague Astronomical Clock, Prague

Located in Old Town Square and sitting on an external wall of city hall, Prague’s Orloj, or astronomical clock, features a dial that shows the positions of the sun and the moon as they move through the zodiac. The clock was built in 1410 and features figurines that move every hour, as well as a calendar dial, added in 1870. Photo source: kainet (cc)

Bespoke Clock, Derby, UK

Many businesses and public spaces seek to erect clocks that blur the line between timepiece and art. This one, created by clockmaker Smith of Derby, is located in the Cathedral Quarter Hotel in Derby. Photo source: Duncan (cc)

Clock Sculpture, Paris

Created by the artist Arman, this towering sculpture of stopped clocks tells the viewer about time. None of the faces shows the same display, as if to suggest that “time stands still.” It’s outside of the Gare Saint-Lazare, the second-busiest train station in Paris. Photo source: nicksarebi (cc)

Floral Clock, Tehran

One of many floral clocks around the world, this specimen was built in Tehran, Iran, in 2005 and is currently among the biggest clocks in the world, with a face diameter of fifteen meters. Photo source: Wikimedia Commons

Cevahir Mall Clock, Istanbul

Currently the largest clock in the world, with a face diameter of forty-three meters, this clock, in a Turkish mall, is set into the windowed ceiling. Plans to build an even bigger clock in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, are under way. Photo source: Wikimedia Commons

Sundial, Northern Ireland

A sundial tells time by the position of the sun; as the sun moves across the sky, the shadow can be interpreted to know the time. This sundial, an artwork called Shades of My Father, by Irish artist Brian Connolly, was built in the village of Portrush in 1990. Photo source: pawelbak (cc)

Wishing Fish Clock, Gloucestershire, UK

This clock, which sits in a shopping center in Cheltenham, was built in 1987 to delight children with its quirky hourly cycle. The three-ton clock, which hangs in an atrium, features mechanical creatures popping out of the casing, and at the top of the hour, a twelve-foot fish blows bubbles to the tune of “I’m Forever Blowing Bubbles.” Photo source: Jim Linwood (cc)

Metronome, New York City

Considered one of the largest public-art commissions to date, Metronome was revealed in New York City’s Union Square in 1999. On the right side, a wall of brick circles spews steam and sound twice per day, while the orange LED lights on the left side display the time in a format unrecognizable to most people. New Yorkers generally regard the clock with disgust. Photo source: rockinfree (cc)

World Clock, Berlin

Displaying the correct time for cities around the world, this clock was dedicated in 1969. The structure on top of the rotating clock is intended to represent planetary bodies orbiting the earth. Photo source: Michael Oglesby (cc)

St. Mark’s Clock, Venice

Astronomical clocks were popular in Europe in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, and this one was erected in the Piazza San Marco in Venice. Besides monitoring time, it also shows the position of the sun in the zodiac, the phases of the moon, and the relative positions of Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, Venus, and Mercury. A replica sits in the Venetian resort in Las Vegas. Photo source: Wikimedia Commons

Tiffany Clock at Grand Central Terminal, New York

Built in 1913, this clock, which adorns the Forty-second Street facade of Grand Central Station, is the largest example of Tiffany glass in the world. The figures surrounding the face are representations of Minerva, Hercules, and Mercury. Photo source: Wikimedia Commons

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