With everything becoming digital in the home nowadays, analog wall clocks were among the first to go. We have had digital clocks since the 1950s and they have been commercially mainstream since the 1970s, and as more screens are introduced into our lives, it’s only natural that digital clocks are going to be around for a while longer.
However, what about a classic wall clock? Analog timepieces weren’t just instruments to keep time, they were also decorations and reflections of the owner’s tastes. You can’t get large rolex wall clocks in digital, after all. There are certain advantages to analog wall clocks that you just don’t get with digital, and we’re here to go through them today.
The Bigger Picture
Before we get into the details, let’s first understand that analog and digital clocks serve two different functions.
Digital clocks are much more accurate, where minutes and seconds are concerned since the digital format allows you to see the time in plain numbers. That’s useful for many contexts, there’s a reason the military used the digital time format before digital clocks were mainstream.
With that understood, analog clocks give you the bigger picture. They serve a (typically circular) clock face that is a visual metaphor for the day. From there, the hands can tell you where you are, and which hour it is, without getting lost in the second-by-second monotony of the digital format.
To finish what we stated above, classic wall clocks have more opportunity for decoration than the comparatively bland digital clock. Instead of sleek, minimalist black or grey casing and a dull set of LED lights, wall clocks have physical faces and arms that can be made from many materials like wood, plastic, aluminum, and steel. Those materials can be colored or stylized to support a wide variety of outcomes, too. If you’ve seen one digital clock then you’ve seen them all.
That doesn’t mean analogs are always artisanal masterpieces, of course, but it’s nice to have the option. They can be as simple or as complex as the owner wants. As for digital clocks, you’d have to travel to some niche circles to find digital clocks that have the same level of craftsmanship that is involved with many of the better analog clocks.
No matter the décor of your home and where the clock needs to be, you can find a timekeeper that will fit in. It will especially fit in if you’re going for a more classic feel with your decoration. In some workplaces or academic institutions, an analog clock can seem more prestigious than a digital clock, too. If you’re a business, analog clocks can be marked with your own personal brand.
Also, some also claim that analog clocks are more therapeutic to watch than digital, as the arms seamlessly sail over the clock face to represent the more accurate flow of time instead of rigidly counting along as a digital clock does.
The readability difference between analog clocks and digital clocks is an interesting subject. While digital clocks often win for at-distance readability, assuming the display is of high quality and doesn’t become blurred or smudged by distance, analog clocks still win for those who want to tell the time at a glance.
Sure, you can’t make out the individual numbers on the clock face, but you know where they are because they’re always arranged in the same place. You know where 12, 3, 6, and 9 are and, if the arms are visible enough, you can tell the time. Everybody who’s looked at a digital clock at distance has had to figure out if it’s a 6 or an 8 they’re looking at.
If you need to staff a whole building with timekeeping tools, analog clocks tend to be cheaper. Of course, there are exceptions to this. If you’re getting very high-quality analog clocks with custom hand-carved clock faces and complex clockwork inside, you’re going to burn a hole in your wallet. At their cheapest, however, analog clocks are often cheaper for property owners who need to buy them in bulk.
Not only should they be cheaper, but they’ll also be cheaper to run since there won’t be any energy requirements. Many modern analog clocks run off batteries or battery packs, which cost less in both energy and money than hooking up digital clocks. With so much focus on reducing electricity usage and going green, analog clocks may be the answer for many people.