Time Stands Still
I remember sitting on the TGV one morning in Geneva in 1986 or so, looking out the window at the official Swiss Railway station clock, waiting for my 8:02am train to leave for Paris. At precisely 8:02am, on the second, the train came to life and left the station. I imagined the train conductor sitting in his cab, watching the same clock, waiting for the exact time to hit the launch button. I love the Swiss.
The great thing about Swiss Railway Clocks in train stations is not just their strong visual design. The clocks have a special feature: The second hand sweeps out a minute in 58.5 seconds, then pauses at the 12 o’clock mark. In Switzerland, literally, time stands still once a minute.
It’s perfect that Apple is licensing the Swiss Clock design, since the Swiss make the most Apple-like clocks on the planet. In the Swiss railway system, time isn’t the same as it is everywhere is. It’s special and different. It may be more intuitive, but it’s also more limited in application. Sound like the antics of a computer company you may know?
By the way, the watch maker Mondaine makes licensed watches using the Swiss Railway Clock design. They even had a line, called Stop-to-Go, that imitated the short minute and the pause, but without the electric station-to-station sync that the actual Railway Clocks had.
If you’re going to borrow someone else’s design, why not take the weirdest?
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