All About The Tick-Tock World


Time, the immortal factor, which steers the mortal human beings; a scarce and precious entity that offers ‘no bias treatment’ to any, bound by it. Be it rich or poor, young or old, men or women, all get instructed by it, rather being instructed.‘Time and Tide waits for none’, ‘There’s no time like the present’, I’m sure all of us would have grown listening to these adages. All these quotes, emphasize the importance of time.


Our ancestors acknowledged the value of time and practiced several ways to decipher it. The oldest and the most popular form of time-knowing methods was ‘sundial’, followed by hour-glass, water clocks and many other curious techniques.Thanks to the renaissance and scientific advancements, we have designed the most effective device to perceive time – ‘the timepiece’ or precisely, clock/watch.


These days, it is almost impossible to find any homes or establishments without clocks. Clock towers and buildings are almost prevalent everywhere, to help public in knowing the correct time. Watches have become our integral, daily wear accessory.But, despite being the most followed or utilized instruments, how many of us know about their history? Let us unveil the interesting chronicle.


Brief history of Clocks/Watches


The Egyptians are considered the pioneers of time-measuring devices, who erected obelisks to capture the sun’s shadow and decipher time from it. The history confirms the usage of sundials around 3500BC by Egyptians. This was followed by the water clocks and sand hour-glasses. When around 1092 AD, the Chinese inventor Su Sung developed the mechanical water clocks, the innovation paved way for the birth of mechanical clocks around 1368 AD in England. Peter Henlein of Germany, the father of the modern clocks, developed the first mechanical watch in the year 1510.


Accuracy of these clocks were still an issue, until the famous physicist Galileo, unveiled the properties of pendulum. The first, fairly accurate pendulum clock was developed by Christiaan Huygens, a Dutch physicist, in the year 1657.By the year 1840, electric clocks came into existence and the first modern electric clock was introduced by Frank Hope-Jones in the year 1895. This clock served as the standard model for all the modern cocks that followed, till date.Even today, lots and lots of innovations are made in the clocks industry. Different techniques and styles are launched often. Clocks and watches like at have become the irreplaceable devices of every household.


What differs between a clock and a watch?


Watch, a wearable, portable entity can be considered the ‘mutation’ of clock. In simple, clock is for all to watch, as it is displayed purposefully outside. Whereas, watch is for you to wear and watch, unless and until you deliberately show it for others to know time.


Types of Clocks/Watches


Based on their time displaying features, clocks can be classified as


Analog clocks


Analog clocks or hand clocks are the common clocks, found in every household. These clocks use hands and numbers to convey time, where hands move around the numbers to reveal the current hour and minute. Although a typical analog clock consists of 12-hour display format, there are also 24-hour analog clocks to convey the military time.


Digital clocks


These are the modern, trendy clocks that display time in digital format either using LCD or LED technologies.


Talking clocks


These clocks dictate time and hence use audio devices to convey time. These are the most common types of clocks used in public places like airports, railway stations etc. to announce the vehicle arrival/departure time to the commuters. Also these clocks are helpful for people with poor vision.


Tactile clocks


These clocks are highly helpful for the blind people as these help them to perceive time by touching. The analog hands are designed in such a way that even when the person touches them, their functions are not disrupted.  Digital clocks come with braille display to easily convey the time to the blind people. Based on their working mechanism clocks are classified as,


Electric clocks


These clocks use electrical source and electrical oscillators for their operation. The source power might be from batteries or dedicated power supply.


Mechanical clocks


Mechanical clocks use pendulums, springs or drums to instigate the movement of hands aided by gears.  The resonating motion of the mechanical device used, help the clocks to measure time.


Atomic clocks


The resonating feature of certain atoms provides oscillation effect in these types of clocks. Cesium is the widely used chemical element here. As these clocks are highly precise, these are used as the base or standard clocks for all other types.


Crystal clocks


These are the clocks that function using crystal oscillators like quartz, which are stable and provide, accurate time measurements.


Basic working mechanism of clocks/watches and their accessories


Although, the detailed working principle of clocks differs according to their types, the general working principle is oscillation. A typical modern clock uses 3 basic parts.A power source – battery, power supply or spring, drums etc.Oscillator – gear, pendulum, quartz, caesium-133. Display – LCD, LED or audio or analog or braille.


When the power supply turns on, the oscillator moves in a continuous, steady frequency to produce accurate seconds, minutes and hours that are displayed for the humans by the dedicated ‘display’ feature. The common accessories of clocks are clock stands, batteries, clock cases, pendulums etc. and that of watches are straps, dials, watch winders, batteries etc. Thus, behind a simple, cute looking clock/watch, there are lots of minute essential parts and intriguing mechanisms that run all day, all night to display the right time and help us to carry out our day-to-day activities efficiently.

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These clocks are highly helpful for the blind people as these help them to perceive time by touching. The analog hands are designed in such a way that even when the person touches them, their functions are not disrupted.

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