In a day and age where practically everyone has a digital clock strapped to their bodies at all times, analog clocks have fallen a bit out of favor. After all, when the time is just a glance at a cellphone away, wristwatches become little more than fashion accessories and wall clocks practically obsolete. But even if you don’t strictly need a clock, that doesn’t mean they aren’t worth having; these days, many analog clocks are designed to be accent pieces, with a strong emphasis on design rather than mere functionality.
Now, I’m not talking about your average $10 plastic drugstore wall clock; purely functional wall clocks are among the least desirable, because they don’t do anything to improve the aesthetics of your space. But make a few subtle changes – like swapping plastic for hand hammered copper, regular numbers for roman numerals, and a generic paper body for an elegant and airy cutout design, and suddenly your clock is good for more than just telling time.
The trick is to think of your clock less like a clock and more like a piece of art. Because clocks are functional items, there are designs out there to suit every taste, from high design to cheerfully kitschy and everything in between, so if any one particular clock isn’t absolutely perfect for your space, skip it – it’s not as though you’ll be losing out on functionality by choosing another design. Some more artsy or abstract clocks might be a tad more difficult to read at a glance, but even if they look more like sculpture than timepieces on your wall, they will still display the time.
That said, if you want the functionality of having a clock on your wall, but don’t love the look of clocks in general, you might want something that is a bit more sculptural. Rather than your typical round or oval faced clock, these are big installations designed as artwork in their own right, that just happen to have one (or sometimes more) clock faces. This Spare Parts clock incorporates clock faces into a vintage industrial/steampunk cog-and-gear design, but these large designer clocks can take almost any form or be made out of any material, from sheet metal to driftwood.
Big clock installations with multiple clock faces are also great for people who work with international clients or customers and want to be able to keep track of time in multiple timezones at once without making their living room look like the wall of a stock exchange. This gorgeous wrought iron piece displays the time in five different time zones, but does it with a whole lot more style than half a dozen generic black and white office clocks, and certainly fits better with all but the most modern home decor.
Another great way to turn a clock into a statement piece is to look for ones that included additional functionality – namely, ones with big, mirrored faces. Designer mirrors are another functional alternative to traditional wall art, but unlike clocks, which are mostly only good for a glance, mirrors also help make a room look and feel bigger and brighter. Placing a small clock face on a big mirror in a nice, decorative frame gives you the best of all three options: something that looks lovely, tells the time, and lets you check your reflection while you’re at it.
It’s worth saying, too, that the rarity of clocks – especially antique ones – has made them inherently sort of whimsical to look at. Vintage clocks – particularly factory clocks and maritime-inspired clocks – have seen a huge surge in popularity lately as found objects and art pieces. Sturdy, weather-worn clocks designed for heavy duty use are perfect for the industrial style design that’s so popular right now, particularly ones that feature extra gadgets, gears, or knobs and have more than a little visible aging.
What are you looking for in a wall clock? Is it more important to be able to read the time quickly at a glance, or to have something that will elevate your decor? Let me know in the comments!