Swiss Railway Clock

It is sometimes hard to believe that elegant and restrained designs have been around for so long. The clock designed for the Swiss Federal Railways came about in 1944, the same year I did. I wish I looked as modern as the clock.

It was designed by a Swiss engineer, Hans Hilfiker and clock manufacturer Mobatime for use as a station clock throughout the network.

Later Hilfiker added a red second hand in the shape of a railway guard’s signalling disc. The second hand is powered by an independent electric motor, and completes a circuit of the clock face in a little under a minute. It then waits at the 12 o’clock position until the clock receives a signal from the central master clock. The minute hand, which until now has been stationary pointing to a full minute, jumps ahead one minute, and the second hand begins a new revolution of the face. Swiss trains leave the station right on the full minute.

Almost as a tribute, the clock face design has recently been licensed by Apple for use in some of their devices.

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