Time to Show Us the Greatest Monumental Clocks!

What time is it? It’s time to tell us about your favorite clocks! All across the globe, there are monumental timepieces that not only serve a functional purpose, but are also terrifically lovely and wondrous landmarks. From celebrity monuments like London’s Big Ben (technically the name of the clock’s bell, yeah, yeah) to the less well-known, but far-more-fascinating astronomical clocks found around the world, monumental clocks have been unforgettable landmarks for centuries. Now take a minute to tell us about your favorite monumental clocks from around the world!

(Image: Jack Hunter/Public Domain)

In the thread below, tell us about the most insane monumental clock you’ve ever encountered, how you discovered it, and what you think makes it special. Clock puns highly encouraged. And we definitely want to see pics of them if you have any. Your response may be included in an upcoming round-up article on Atlas Obscura. There’s never been a better TIME than now to tell us about your favorite clock!

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There are a lot of clocks I’d like to see, but the only really interesting one I’ve been close to is the Long Now Foundation’s prototype for the 10,000 year clock. It’s part of a table now, and doesn’t move, but it’s pretty cool to sit in their bar/visitor center and think what that machine is capable of.

“I want to build a clock that ticks once a year. The century hand advances once every 100 years, and the cuckoo comes out on the millennium. I want the cuckoo to come out every millennium for the next 10,000 years.” -Danny Hills

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I would loooove to see that astronomical clock in Prague that Eric posted a photo of. Some day I will!
The other clock that leaps to mind is the one in Tokyo designed by Hayao Miyazaki. It’s not historic, and doesn’t have any crazy backstory, but for a Miyazaki and Ghibli superfan like me it is one of the coolest clocks imaginable. And actually it is an incredibly detailed piece of art – and enormous!
Unfortunately, I was so overwhelmed on my trip to Japan that it completely slipped my mind to go see it. :woman_facepalming: Next time…

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I’ve written about the city of Pachuca here before. A relatively small state capital a 2-hour drive away from Mexico City, it’s one of those places that knows it has touristic potential but hasn’t quite been able to market it. One thing they have managed to market however, is their city symbol, the literally-named Reloj Monumental.

Representative of the city’s cultural ties with England, given that many of the silver mines in the area employed miners from Cornwall, one of its big claims to fame is that the internal clockwork was made by the same company as Big Ben’s, so they’re blood brothers, so to speak.

Further English-ness comes in the local specialty which is a version of the Cornish pasty, influences of British architecture can be found in the city and nearby towns and it’s taken to call itself “the birthplace of Mexican soccer” as the miners founded one of the country’s first clubs here (although it’s most likely the actual first soccer match happened in a port of Veracruz not long after the miners disembarked on their new home).

Despite all the jolly ol’ Englishness, the architecture of the clock tower is more French as it was opened in 1910 for the Centennial of Mexico’s Independence and to be tres chic was the style at the time.

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Pachuca is not alone though, given that watches were a very prized imported commodity for a long time (I’d say up to nearly everyone having a smartphone), clock towers were a common sight in Mexican town squares and some church belfries incorporated clocks as well.

This is Actopan also in the state of Hidalgo.

And these two rather ominous monumental clock towers are from towns in the state of Oaxaca. First, Santiago Yolomécatl.

And then Tlaxiaco.

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The Zimmertoren in Lier, Belgium. Zimmertower Lier | Zimmertoren it’s a fully functional astronomical clock. It’s quite impressive showing time, moon phases, star signs and much more.

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Jens Olsen’s World Clock in Copenhagen City Hall is quite amazing.


Read more about it here:

… and here:

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This is the Mother Clock of them ALL.
There is no older clock on earth.
It was from the Irish that the Swiss learnt precision timekeeping.
The very word, clock, comes from the Gaelic, cloig, transliterated into German as Glocke by Irish monks disseminating knowledge.
The Swiss tradition of clockmaking today can be traced back to 700AD to an Irish monk in Switzerland, Einsiedeln in Schwyz.
Dr Immo Warntjes, University of Greifswald, Germany, said ‘The earliest known textbook on the reckoning of time was discovered in 2006 in the Benedictine monastery of Einsiedeln in the Swiss Alps. It was clearly composed by an Irishman c. AD 700 and is evidence of the supremacy of Irish learning at that time. Besides other highly original features, this Latin text contains the oldest list of numerals written in the Irish language.’
Dr. Leofranc Holford-Strevens, of the Oxford University Press and author of “The History of Time, a very short introduction” [Oxford 2005] says “Since in the 7th century the leading experts on the computus [Technical Chronology] were the Irish”.
Ladies and gentlemen, newgrange has been keeping time for over 5,000 years, astronomically aligned with the dog star and shortest day. There are others like newgrange - knowth, dowth, carrowkeel, lough crew.newgrange

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Here in Puerto Rico, the town of Caguas is known for its Reloj Floral or Floral Clock. The bronce monument was erected in 1966 by mayor Don Angel Rivera after visiting Europe. The twelve faces belong to distinguished people from the town of Caguas such as troubador and improviser Florencio Morales Ramos, former boxer Don José Aponte Torres and one of Puerto Rico’s most famous story writers, Abelardo Díaz Alfaro among others.
Source: https://caguas.gov.pr/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/11.-Reloj-Floral.pdf

During the holiday season, poinsettia flowers surround the clock.

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Very very cool. Thanks for sharing!

Oh, I love this one!

The Bromo Seltzer Tower in Baltimore. It has a bigger clock face than Big Ben!

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Williamsburg Savings Bank , Brooklyn, NY

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image
I love this astronomical clock (the three kings clock) at the cathedral in Strasbourg, France. The movement is incredible and always draws crowds at noon to watch the disciples receiving a blessing from Jesus among other things. It also calculates leap years, equinoxes, and even Easter under the complicated Gregorian rule.

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It’s not huge or part of a building but John Harrison’s H1 solved the longitude problem in the early 1700s and allowed explorers to safely travel west.

https://collections.rmg.co.uk/collections/objects/79139.html

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The beautiful Union Station in Kansas City, MO has an iconic clock at the entrance to “Grand Hall”, which used to be the waiting room. Thousands of soldiers passed through here during WWII, especially, and it became common to say goodbyes and hellos under the clock. Even now people often use it as a meeting spot. https://images.app.goo.gl/db27r86PVdobx8xX9

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Graz, Austria
One of the most notable landmarks in Graz and a must for any visitor, the Graz Clock Tower may be best known for its confusing clock faces, featuring long hands for the hours and short hands for the minutes. Dating back to medieval times, the tower stands 28 meters high and has a clock face on each side, each about five meters in diameter. The 18th century clockworks still operate, but are now electronic. In addition to the famous clock, the tower is also home to three bells, the oldest of which dates back to 1385 and still rings on the hour. Another bell from around 1450 was used during executions and later to remind people of the city curfew.

Read more about The Best Graz Clock Tower (Uhrturm) Tours & Tickets 2019 | Viator - The Best Graz Clock Tower (Uhrturm) Tours & Tickets 2019 | Viator

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This is a pretty spectacular clock!
250px-Graz_clock_tower

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Yes, it is! The first time I saw it, I was totally confused!

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Those are some cool photos of the inner workings. There’s actually more there than I imagined it would be :man_shrugging: lol