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Your Life Without Clocks

It’s a cool fall morning at 6 am. Your alarm clock emits a soothing yet insistent sound. It’s dark outside, but it’s time to get up, get the kids ready, head to the gym, or just enjoy that morning cup of coffee, grab your phone, and fire up that podcast that’s been in your queue for a week.

A couple of hours later, whether you’re at the office, working from home, or at a coffee shop, when you open your computer, your emails are there and ready for your undivided attention. There’s a Zoom meeting or two, and before you know it, you’re ready for lunch. You jump in the car, use your GPS to navigate over to a new café to pick up a ready-made sandwich or box of sushi. Then a few hours later, it’s time to run to your daughter’s soccer game, your dentist appointment, or your fitness class.

Your Life Without Clocks
(reachsky7 / pixabay)

What if you had to depend on the sun to get you up in the morning? In the winter months, that could mean staying in bed until 7 or 8am—and going to bed as early as 5pm! You just lost at least 6 hours of quality time.

Without clocks, that Zoom call with 12 people in 5 different time zones? Impossible. Your phone, the internet, your car’s computer, the global logistics your career depends on, and every aspect of your life that involves any of these elements relies on one thing, and that’s the modern concept of time, and, therefore, the clock.

Time Before Clocks

Sundials dating back to 3500 BCE were the earliest known type of timekeeping device and were, of course, dependent on the sun’s movements. Other instruments that gave a sense of time based on natural materials and phenomena included water clocks that dripped out a certain amount of water per unit of time, wax candles that took a certain amount of time to burn down, or hourglasses that utilized sand to mark the passage of time—and, conveniently, could be used on cloudy days.

The advent of the modern concept of hours of time came in the late 14th century when an Islamic scholar found a method of standardizing an hour relative to the sun’s relationship to the earth’s axis. Prior to this discovery, reliance on the sun’s constantly changing movements would have created a far different, and certainly less precise, concept of time. Of course, at that time in history, there were no buses to catch, no TV shows to miss, no traffic to get stuck in. Tending to animals, farming crops, or fishing created a more intuitive sense of time, and people’s lives were more reliant on nature, seasons, and weather patterns rather than the more fixed sense of time that we experience in the modern world.

The earliest personal timepieces created in the 1500s weren’t terribly precise and were an extravagance, a curiosity, mainly because there was no real need to know the exact time until the advent of the Industrial Revolution in the 1800s when, suddenly, time was money, and there was a cost to being late. Education became far more regimented at this time as well as it became necessary to train the future workforce for efficiency rather than sensitivity to the natural world and its rhythms.

A World Ruled by the Clock

The complexity of modern life could be said to hinge on the existence of precise clocks and a shared approach to time. In our world of relentless connectivity, clocks are at the heart of every transaction and every communication. In little more than 25 years, our lives have been revolutionized by the internet, our usage of which depends on atomic clocks. The internet itself, let alone cell phone towers and the data transmitted over them, are utterly dependent on this type of clock. In turn, now every supply chain and nearly every business, regardless of size, is run on the internet. Try to picture organizing your family’s activities without your calendar app, or communicating with old friends without social media, or finding a table at a restaurant or a movie time without the use of the internet. It’s hard to imagine. And it’s impossible without clocks.

Our modern concept of commerce and our global economy is unthinkable without the precision afforded by clocks. World economies and their interconnectivity depend on the precise timing afforded by clocks. Air travel and the commerce dependent upon it would be impossible. That pint of ice cream you ate last night has to be loaded and unloaded according to strict schedules so that it’s not a soupy mess once it gets to the grocery store. That ad for premium sneakers that’s shown to you on social media during the big game was planned weeks or months before you ever saw it. The packages that get delivered to your doorstep only a day or two after you ordered them depend on an intricate system of logistics. And none of it could happen without strict adherence to a schedule, and that schedule depends on clocks.

Trust Times Ticking

Now that we’ve reminded you of the importance of clocks, we’d also like for you to consider the watch that is personal to you. It connects you to more than just the time of day. It could be a grandparent you inherited it from, a special birthday or anniversary, or a gift you bought for yourself to celebrate a milestone. It connects you not only to the events of your day, but to times past and even to future generations that may inherit it after you’re gone. And it can even be said to give you a foot in this modern world, where time has become so meaningful and precious, as well as a connection to an era when clocks ran in not so different a way as the crystals and gears in your timepiece.

At Times Ticking, we understand that the value of your watch goes beyond mere dollars. Our trusted process for everything from Accutron to Armani to Oakley repair ensures that your timepiece is returned to you better than ever—and your sense of history is protected along with it.