Clocking in New Year’s Eve

big ben

As the year ticks down, one might consider just what kind of clock would be best to welcome the new year  with. That it be a vintage clock is a given. But what vintage clock?

Big Ben in London is an obvious choice. Except that Big Ben is actually not the clock, it’s the bell in the Elizabeth Tower at the north end of the Palace of Westminster. The clock is called the Great Clock of Westminster, it’s face is 23 feet in diameter and it’s made of opal glass. The details of the movements are rather detailed and astounding, we’ll leave those details to Wikipedia

There’s the Rathaus-Glockenspiel Clock in Munich for those who enjoy a little dancing and music with their hourly updates. There are 43 bells, 32 life-sized figures and a giant herd of sightseers ready to watch them do their thing. Murophobes can relax, Rathaus translates as Town Hall. 

Or closer to home, the Big Penn, the illuminated four-faced clock at Philadelphia City Hall. One the highest and biggest when it was built in the late 1800s, it is still one of the most beautiful. 

And traditionalists will argue for the ball drop in Times Square. Which is of course quite beautiful with it’s 12 foot diameter geodesic ball of Waterford crystals and LED lights. You can even download an app so you can count down with the ball. Which is probably much more pleasant than actually being in Time Square to watch it, since you have to arrive quite early to stake a spot and cannot leave your assigned corral once you’re in it. And there are no porta facilities.

If those crowd magnets aren’t your thing, we can suggest a few smaller vintage clocks you can call your very own from some of our favorite Etsy shops.


From the top

Ornate Hollywood Regency clock from BlueMoonCollectibles.

Bulova Accutron wristwatch from avintageobsession.

Bakelite Sessions Art Deco clock from alwaysmaybevintage.

Detex Guardsman watch clock from CreekLifeTreasures.

Oversized Seth Thomas watch clock from SouthernGilt.

Classic Big Ben Westclox Alarm Clock from ThirdShift.

Art Deco deer clock from 4EnvisioningVintage.

Benrus ladies watch by AtticandBarnTwo.

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  1. The slow tick of an old clock is the heartbeat of a home. I was never fond of the fast ticking that makes me feel as though I need to rush. We have a deep love and respect fo clocks and timepieces in our home and thank you for your timely post!

  2. I love old clocks. Much to my husbands dismay I have started up another collection and it’s Big Ben clocks. Thank you so much for adding my Hollywood Regency to this gorgeous collection.

  3. I adore Old Clocks, too. Wonderful collection to Ring in the New Year with! Thank You for including my Detex Guardsman watch clock.

  4. We were lucky enough to get tickets to a Downton Abbey Christmas ball at Highclere Castle this year. Our hotel overlooked Big Ben, what a beauty! Hearing it ring was such a treat.

  5. I too am a clock lover, from a long line of clock people. My family includes lots of school teachers (believe it or not, they watch the clock even more than their students do), but my favorite clock lover was my Dad. He was a POW for 2.5 years in WWII and spent the last year underground working in a coal mine in Japan. During that part of his internment, he said he had no idea if it was day or night which is a sensation I can’t imagine. The first thing he bought after their liberation was a wristwatch and he wore one every day for the rest of his life. As he was fond of saying, time marches on. Even if you don’t know where you’re going, you still need to know how fast you’re getting there. 🙂

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