Decoding Clock Terminology

Sometimes knowing what different clock terms mean helps you make better clock purchase decisions. It also helps you understand the repair manual when you need to fix your clock.

Let us explain to you some of the common clock terminology. We have also included a few less-known facts about clocks.


Clock Parts

Case – The protective housing or frame of the clock.

Lens – Also called ‘crystal’. The piece of glass or plastic that covers and protects the dial and hands.

Movement – The inner mechanism of clocks.

Dial – The frontal face of a clock indicating the hours, usually in Arabic or Roman numerals.

Hands – Pointed indicators, which mark the hours, minutes and seconds on the clock's dial.


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Analogue and Digital Clocks

Analogue clocks have a fixed numbered dial and indicates time using rotating hands. Digital clocks display a numeric representation of time either in the 12-hour or 24-hour format. There are also flip clocks that have digital displays that work mechanically. The digits are painted on sheets of material which are mounted like the pages of a book. Once a minute, a page is turned over to reveal the next digit.



Flip Clock 5228WI


Alarm Clock

An alarm clock is designed to alert you at a specified time. The first alarm clock was only invented in 1787. You may wonder how people managed to wake up before that. There was a profession called a knocker-upper who would go around houses and knock on your door until you woke up. 

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Pendulum Clock

A pendulum clock is one that uses a swinging weight as its timekeeping element. The first pendulum clock was invented in 1656 by Dutch scientist, Christiaan Huygens. Did you know that if you move a pendulum clock to an altitude of 4,000 feet or more, it will lose 16 seconds every day due to changes in local gravity

Loop 3295ZW


Silent Clock

A clock with a second hand that moves in a continuous sweep instead of a stepping format, hence eliminating the ticking sound. They are perfect for bedrooms, studies and offices.


Luminous 3261ZW


Garden Clock

Garden clocks are clocks that are weather resistant and can also be used outdoor. Apart from telling the time, these clocks usually also monitor the temperature, humidity and atmospheric pressure. Some also tell the tides.

Sunflower 4306ZW


Radio-Controlled Clock

A radio-controlled clock (often referred to as RC or DCF) has a built-in radio receiver. It receives the time signals from a transmission station that control the clock movement and automatically synchronise your clock for you especially through Day Light Savings transitions.

3999ARRC - Station Radio Controlled (DCF)


World Clock

A world clock is a clock that displays the time for various cities around the world simultaneously. It is best for those who need to stay in touch with people in different time zones or travel more frequently.

Big City - 8197ZW

I hope these common clock terms are useful to you when you look for your next clock. If you have more questions about clocks, you can always email us at


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