Today, the time is whatever we read that it is on our iPhone’s home screen. It’s another digitized fact in our lives. But historically, clocks helped articulate the experience of time passing. Consider the swinging pendulum of a grandfather clock, or the hourly chirp of a cuckoo. These timepieces gave time a certain context in our lives—so much so that sailing ships once used clocks to navigate trips across the ocean.
The Cubic Clock, by the design firm Nendo for the luxury timepiece retailer The Hour Glass, reimagines time as a shape moving toward, and away from, perfection. It’s an 8-inch, aluminum cube built to rest on a table. The top corner breaks away to form conventional hour and minute hands, which spin through the day like any other analog clock. But at noon and midnight, those hands come into perfect alignment with the body of the clock. So only at these two specific moments in the day is time a complete shape.
“In this position the form is united as one solid cube, as if reset, from this point the clock’s hands move forward giving the impression of a reset of the mind,” explains the product page.
I can’t imagine how satisfying it must be to watch those arms complete the cube twice a day . . . or how maddening it might feel knowing it would be hours until the cube is formed again. In any case, this sculptural treatment turns time from another fact into something of a 12-hour ritual. If only The Hour Glass were selling more than a mere 10 units, priced at $44,000 apiece.