Raketa Pocket watch

For a fascinating introduction to the world of Russian 24 hour watches, visit the site, where Andrei writes knowledgeably about their history and variety:

A 24 hour watch is not just about the expanse of a large country or technological achievements – it is about a different way of looking at both time and space.

Here’s an inexpensive and practical pocket watch that I bought recently from the Zenitar store at eBay, with Victor at Zenitar providing excellent service. It’s a mechanical Raketa. I know nothing about it, other than its price, a mere $35!

I had it modified to make the hands luminous: they’re usually given a simple reflective finish that renders them invisible in certain lighting conditions. With the new coating, the extra contrast makes the watch readable in most lights.


It’s starting to look at bit battered. I might have to buy another one every six months!


From the Airnautic Watch Company web site:

The guiding design philosophy of AirNautic® Watch Company is to separate day and night as the elemental parameters of the perception of time. The course of the sun determines our regeneration phases and influences the biological processes of all life forms on our planet. In extreme conditions under water, in space, in the labyrinth of a cave system, or in a polar night, the holistic information on time can save lives. Being able to easily and instantly read this information at a glance is part of the philosophy and design concept of the new AirNautic Watch Company.


How can you not want one of these!?

The sound of one hand ticking

A new single-handed 24 hour watch:


Here’s Klaus Botta on the philosophy of simplicity:

We live in a time of increasing complexity – the consequence of which is growing uncertainty and stress.A reduction in complexity and a focus on the bare essentials gives rise to a sense of security and calm. Coupled with the highly functional orientation of the product‘s stylistic vocabulary, this embodies the philosophy of Botta-Design, a philosophy which is particularly noticeable in our one-hand watches. Things become clearer and easier to comprehend when they are stripped down to the bare essentials

Prices start from 300 Euros. Visit Botta Design for details.

Cognitime’s DØGN watch

The new DØGN watch from Cognitime is certainly a thing of beauty:


It features an ingenious figure-of-eight display for the hours, surrounded by a circular minute dial. The segments light up according to the time: 12 noon and midnight meet in the center. The first 12 hours of the day are shown by an illuminated segment that marches counter-clockwise round the top circle, and the second 12 hours of the day marches round the lower circle.

It’s also got some scheduling and calendar features, but I haven’t been able to find out much about how these are supposed to work.

Where are the iPhone clocks?

Native applications for the iPhone and the iPod Touch are arriving in droves at the iTunes App store. However, there are very few clock apps, and only one of interest to 24 hour clock fans. It’s called Sol, written by Alexander Valys, (web site It’s an elegant sun clock showing the rising and setting times of the sun for a number of locations, on a 24 hour dial (12 noon at the top, 24:00 at the bottom).



The Twenty First Century Watch Corporation are very proud of their new watch, which is “designed for the new global society”. The inventor argues that:

Every world time watch we could find seemed to have a twenty-four hour dial with the “24” at the top of the dial. Even many Europeans confided that when they saw or heard a time in 24 hours, they mentally converted it to a 12 hour am or pm time. This was just too confusing, so we drew a circle with two sets of twelve and one 12 at the top to be the ‘Noon’ 12 and one on the bottom to be the ‘Midnight’ 12. This seemed more intuitive as the dial mimicked the appearance of the sun revolving around the earth so that at noon it is directly overhead and at midnight it is directly under us.

world chronos

He’s discovered the old medieval Double-XII system again.

The price is about $2000.

Revolutions in time

If you’re visiting Paris, a good place to see some interesting clocks is the Musée des arts et métiers.

In 1793, the Revolutionary Government in France decreed that the day should be divided into 10 hours of 100 minutes, and the year into 10 months of 30 days. For a few years, clock and watch makers designed some unusual pieces to help the population learn and adopt to the new decimal time system. Here’s a good example:


The single long hand with a circle at one end and a point at the other probably shows the hours in both old and new systems. One end points to the decimal time, with 10 (0) being midnight, and 5 being midday, the other end to the equivalent old-style time. Presumably, therefore, old-style midnight (XII) is at the bottom of the dial, so that the other end can point to 10 (0). 1 o’clock (decimal) is about 02:20 old style, and the position of the hour hand in this photograph suggests that the time is 0.90 (d), or 02:10 old style.

If the other brass hand is the new minute hand, it shows 80 decimal minutes past 0. In theory a time of 0.80 (d) corresponds with about 01:55, so perhaps the hands are not quite adjusted correctly – or my assumptions are incorrect.

The grey pointer indicates the calendar day – the 12th. Every day in the new Revolutionary calendar had a object or plant associated with it, so if the current month had been Pluviôse (Jan 20 ~ Feb 18), today would be Broccoli day. (For a full list, see here.)

Here’s a watch with, I expect, midnight at the bottom:


At about 3 o’clock (decimal), or 07:15, it’s time for croissants and café. Again it’s not clear whether the minute hand is showing old or new minutes.

This next example is more radical. Only half the dial is organized for the new decimal time, the other half is defiantly quadrovigesimal (duodecimal times two):  Presumably the long dual-purpose hour hand is used again here, but I’m puzzled as to why only the roman numerals I to V are used – converting to a new time format is hard enough without having to add 5 to the hour after midday. The shorter hand pointing to the 12 might be another old-style hour hand (how could it work?), but the other hand pointing to the 2 could be an old or new style minute hand. Some more research is needed.


Intriguingly, the museum shows only 10% of its holdings at a time, with the remaining items held in a big storage facility on the outskirts of Paris.

If you can’t get to this great museum in person – to see these and other wonderful scientific objects from the past (and to eat in the excellent cafe) – the museum’s web site is worth a look.

Hall of Shame: First award to Lidl supermarkets

You might be surprised – and delighted – to see a 24 hour analog watch in your local supermarket while shopping. Here’s the watch in its original packaging, seen in supermarket chain Lidl this week. Looks like a bargain for just 2.99 pounds (4.5 Euros, or 6 US dollars)?


On closer inspection it promises to be a nicely-designed yet very cheap quartz genuine 24 hour analog watch:


But it turns out that these watches have a standard 12 hour movement. So after just one hour, the hour hand has advanced two hours. Time will really fly by!

Don’t be tempted.

New range of 24 hour watches

Those nice people at the AAA Watch Club have introduced new models in their popular 24 hour watch range. These now feature luminous numerals, and you can also have them with high quality leather straps as well as stainless steel straps.


Plus, there are now gents and ladies models, and you can get them with white dials too. Accuracy is as expected from a good quality quartz movement – mine has yet to lose a whole second since I started timing it last week. The high contrast display is working fine in this gloomy English winter, although luminous dots for the odd-numbered hours would be even better.