Are analog clocks obsolete? All about them


Analog clocks have been around since forever. And most of the people out there have spent their life growing up with these clocks. Even learning to tell time through them. These have absolutely been a very big part of many people’s lives. But as times passes, and humanity progresses its way to more and more towards advancements, we have come up with way better/ more convenient versions of clocks like our mobile phones. And time goes on, Analog clocks become less and less seen in the local everyday life, at least not in the abundance which they were once seen in. Which raises the question that is” are Analog clocks becoming Obsolete/or have they have already become obsolete?”

The simple answer to that is “No”, Analog clocks without a doubt have become less popular than they once were. But this doesn’t mean that they have become obsolete. At least not for now

They do have become replaced in many households b some clever gadgets like digital clocks. The advancement on this side has been so immense that there are digital clocks right now that will speak and tell time to the one asking it verbally. So why do people still use Analog clocks you ask, well lets look into that a bit

Why do people still use Analog clocks

Well there are quite a few reasons for this that despite there being so many advancements in the clockverse why some people still stick to it

  • Human beings are creatures of habit, and a lot of households have them merely out of habit and familiarity: People who have always woken up to the voice of these alarm clocks do it cause its familiar and just works right for the
  • Analog clocks are used to teach children to learn time, and they have been for over a century now. Infact, in a recent study, analog clocks were found to be one of the best ways a child can become familiar with the concept of time
  • There are alot of Analog clocks that come with alarms and people use them in that way too
  • Cell phones also need to be charged to work whereas you can entirely rely on an Analog clock any time of the day to tell you time without any problems. You just have to change the batteries after a few years. This becomes quite convenient as you people won’t have to wait for their phones to get charged to know that they are running late
  • Most of the Analog clocks that are being used out there are highly reliable. Most of them have been in use for quite a few years. And most houses have one that is even decades-old
  • An old emotional link as some people feel attached to the stuff that they have grown up with
One more reason
  • Analog clocks are quite valuable as antiques too. There are a lot of people that use Analog clocks just to give an overall graceful look to their houses. And there are quite alot of antique analog clocks that come in various that one could look into and buy solely for decor purposes
Analog clocks use the oscillators to keep the gears moving. And the movement of the gears prompts the minute hand to move which then turns and makes the hour end move.

All of these movements seek to achieve perpetual ( smooth motion ). The oscillators that make the gears move are powered by either direct electrical appliances or batteries. Batteries are the most way of supplying power to these time-telling machines, but when clocks were still a bit new, people also used to use a direct connection with electricity to supply clocks with power

Analog clocks are one of the most common types of clocks that are still being used quite commonly in this day and age. But, despite living with them every day and night, very few of us know how they actually work so that is why we here at ohmyclock decided to answer that very question. Now that we have got you a basic sense of how an analog clock actually works, lets dive a dip more into what it actually contains

Insides of an Analog clock

Three of the most fundamental parts of every clock out there are :

  • A TimeKeeping Mechanism: This is a way that the clock keeps an accurate account of the time passing by’
  • An energy source: This is a way to provide energy to the motion of the clock, this could be a battery, solar power, an electric appliance, springs, or anything of that sort
  • Display: Finally, this is the part that everyone sees. This can come in quite various designs. It could be a cartoon character or an antique-looking wooden lady, entirely depends on the maker and what he wants his/her work to look like

So, Simply put,

a clock is something that uses the energy supply from an energy source, that makes its hands move at a consistent pace so that it can tell the variations in time spans

How does it all work? ( Looking in a bit more depth )

  1. So basically what happens is that the battery or the power source provides to the microchip circuit within the clock
  2. Then this current makes the quartz crystals that are precisely cut and placed within the clock to vibrate at a speed of 32768 times a second.
  3. TheMicrochip circuit detects the crystal’s vibrations and turns them into regular electric pulses, at a speed of one per second, because as we know that is what is needed for the accuracy and normal functioning of the clock
  4. These electric pulses then turn to mechanical power and move the gears
  5. The one gear that moves makes the other gear move. Hence, making the clock tick every second. Til the appliance of the power remains intact

Down below is a picture of the insides of an analog clock to better elaborate the procedure that we just mentioned

A picture explaining the insides of an analog clock to better answer"Are analog clocks obsolete? "
A picture from explainthatsuff.com Opens in a new tab. to better elaborate the insides of a clock
  1. Battery.
  2. Electric stepping motor.
  3. Microchip.
  4. The circuit that connects microchip to other components.
  5. Quartz crystal oscillator.
  6. Crown screw for setting time.
  7. Gears.
  8. The tiny central shaft that holds hands in their places.

The Old Times

In the old times, there was no universal time in those times as there was no way of comparison between different time zones. After determining the length of the day through where the sun is in the sky. And the months through its waxing and waning. Humanity started off with the water clock and then developed itself for the candle clock. Which also had many different forms.

This lack of definite time and direction lead us to many problems over the course of time. It was very difficult to navigate time or collect scientific data. Moreover, it also meant imprecise and inaccurate progressions in all fields as knowing actual time is essential in nearly all fields.

Moreover, it also affected people’s overall life. For instance, imagine no clocks or time for a week. You wouldn’t be able to wake up on time as you wouldn’t be sure as to when to wake up. You will probably start revolving your day around the circulation of day and night. Lastly, you wouldn’t exactly know when to go for work and when to get back from work

Some facts about Analog clocks

The Oldest working analog clock in the world is the Salisbury Cathedral Clock. Which is as the name suggests located in Salisbury, England. This mechanical clock dates all the way back to 1386. This clock ( The Salisbury Clock ) was actually replaced in 1884. and the original model was not found again until 1929. After which A full restoration of it was completed in they year 1956.
“Surprisingly, clockwise and counterclockwise weren’t called by these names in the start. Clockwise and counterclockwise were originally sunrise and widdershins before clocks were common.”
“When you look at a clock, and the second hand seems to freeze for a moment, your brain is actually generating a false memory. And your perception of time stretches slightly backward. This effect is called chronostasis.”
“The clock industry is still flourishing & running even when most people use their phones for telling time. Ever wondered why? Well some researchers say that a big reason for this is because we like to look at and assign specific functions to specific things”

“Be careful while gifting a clock to a Chinese friend. As in China, if you gift a clock to someone that it signifies the end of the relationship or even the end of the receiver’s life. A clock is one of their unlucky objects.”
“In the late 18th century, the British government imposed a hefty tax on every clock in use. Even the ones in private homes under the term ‘Parliament Clock Tax’.”

“A simple test involving asking a patient to draw the face of a clock is used as a screening tool for Alzheimer’s. And some other types of dementia.”

“Here is another interesting fact, “o’clock” is a contraction of “stroke of the clock”. Moreover, it comes from 15th-century references to medieval mechanical clocks.”
“Analog clocks have 10:10 posted on them when they are on the shop as it presents a symmetrical position. And the human brain tends to appreciate symmetry and orderliness. Another reason is that key details on the face of the watch or clock usually remain visible at 10:10″

Advancements within Analog clocks

Analog Clocks have also improved and advanced along with time. There are analog clocks nowadays that are inline connected with and some even that are connected with the time of the actual atomic clocks. These makes these clocks quite accurate. Moreover, there are also analog clocks that can tell the humidity level, along with the temperature that you can use outside and are rainproof, here is a look into a few of them

La Crosse Technology Atomic Analog Wall Clock, 10″, SilverOpens in a new tab.

A beautiful whitish clock that that is sure to add grace to anywhere you put it. You could set it up in your living room, dining or even your kitchen. This also works great as a gift. It automatically connects and sets the exact time and is accurate to the second.

This cock weighs 0.32 ounces and has the following dimensions: 10 x 1.5 x 10 inches. It requires a single AA battery to function and comes with a whole year’s warranty. The clock also resets itself routinely by radio control to match the US atomic clock for accuracy. Lastly, this clock is available at Amazon for $15.64 as of now

Lily’s Home Hanging Wall ClockOpens in a new tab.

It is a beautiful clock with a unique woodish look on the outside frame. It also comes with a thermometer and a Hygrometer. “Lily’s Home Hanging Wall Clock” is very compatible with being used outdoors as it is weather-resistant and rain and snow doesn’t do it any bad. So it is a great choice for a garden, backyard and the pool

This clock is battery powered and is very easy to mount and set up. Moreover, it is one of the best clocks gift that you can give and might be the perfect gift for your loved one shifting into a new home. Lastly, it is available on amazon for only $39.95

Whitehall Products 01789 Pinecone Thermometer Clock ComboOpens in a new tab.

Another great clock that comes with a great woodish finish and has a very unique look. It’s defined 3D branchy look is bound to get a look and stand out.

It also comes with a functional thermometer like the “Lily’s Home Hanging Wall Clock”. Moreover, this is also weather-resistant and might just be the right fit for that garden. It also has a sealed battery for protection and has the following dimensions: 14″L X 14″W X 0.375″H, and comes at a price of $55.99 as of now

Whitehall Products Cardinal Combo ClockOpens in a new tab.

This one is just so beautiful to look at and comes with 3D crafted two birds on a wooden frame that is just phenomenal to look at

The color’s french bronze and is made of Aluminum and has the following dimensions: 8×13.75×1. Moreover, just as it looks it can stand and bear different weather conditions

Now that we have looked into how clock work, lets dive a look into the most accurate clock of our time, that has truly revolutionized the way we live “The Atomic Clock”

This would help better elaborate how far we have come along the road of development and how big a part clocks have to play in our lives without us even realizing. So without further ado lets dive right in

Atomic clocks

You probably have heard of atomic clocks as not are they the most accurate way of measuring time but it is also used scientifically in various ways. The authenticity of it being the most accurate clock can be inferred by the fact that it looses 1 second after every 138 million years. That’s a big figure. An example of a famous place it is used at is CERN, NASA, and many others.


Well, nature itself provides us with many clocks, to begin with. When humanity was still a bit young we used to mark time by the rising and setting of the sun, and a month by the waxing and waning of the moon. But as we grew we built better and more precise ways of telling time. Like a water drip clock, a pendulum clock, and finally Quartz crystal oscillators. All of these clocks have one thing in common they measure periodic events. For instance, how long it takes for a pendulum to swing back and forth. Or the earth to move around the sun. And today, we are using the same idea to build something even more accurate, Atomic clocks

Atomic clocks are clocks that measure the oscillations (movement) of atoms. This is pretty complicated stuff but the basic concept is that all atoms of a given element vibrate or tick the same number of times per second. To elaborate, there are 9,192,631,770 ticks in one second. And though this number seems a bit weird it is quite important. Since today the international standard for what a second is based on that many vibrations/ticks of a cesium atom

A picture of a miniature atomic clock to better answer the question "What are atomic clocks? All about them"
A picture of an atomic clock

But why are these atomic clocks so important. And why do we even need clocks this accurate?

Fun fact:

The clock that the U.S. uses to calibrate its time is accurate to a second in a 100 million years. So if you had put one of these clocks in the medieval ages they will still tell the same time in this day and age.

Data transmission on the internet, as well as the GPS navigational system and cell phone towers and even the high grid, depends on this clock. In conclusion, our high-speed interconnected world works because we can use different pieces of technology using accurate time. So, you take that out of the way, and say good buy to the internet? And isn’t that just sad?

Moreover, whenever we build a new clock, engineers find some good way to use it. So, in the future, if we develop even more accurate clocks, who knows where they will lead us

Why is it important for technologies like the internet?

A picture of a question mark to  to better answer the question "What are atomic clocks? All about them"

Well, as we have already discussed, atomic clocks have a big impact on our world as a whole. How? is a question that you might be wondering as of now.

Let’s start with the internet, where exact timings are critical. And atomic clocks as we know by now is what helps with that accuracy. Moreover, for GPS satellites to work out your precise position, your timing of the signals it sends and receives has to be super accurate. The signals travel at the speed of light, which means that an error of even a single microsecond error translates to an error of 300 meters on the ground. The timing has to be so precise that even tiny effects like relativity need to be tracked. So we do have Einstein to thank for that because if we didn’t have his equations we wouldn’t have a GPS.

Hopefully, this article was helpful in clearing up some of your doubts and educating you about Analog clocks if you have any related questions, feel free to use the comment section below and if you are wondering about which clock is the most accurate, we have a great article on that too so do give it a look if you are interested” Which Clocks Are Considered The Most Accurate?Opens in a new tab.

AK Iqbal

A University of London’ student with a passion for writing. Clocks have always intrigued me and the importance that they have in our lives is way beyond phenomenal. So, on this site, I write everything about clocks, everything from answering any clock-related queries that you might have along with recommending some of my favorite clocks accordingly. Moreover, I will also be conducting some researches on clock related topics and sharing the things that I learn. So stay tuned to ohmyclock for all the fun clocks related content

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