We recently covered the world’s largest wristwatches, but today we’re going to discuss something much bigger. Clocks.
Similar to the evolution of skyscrapers around the world, tower clocks are also increasing in size.
Top 5 Largest Clocks
- The Makkah Clock in Mecca, Saudi Arabia. Its four clock faces are each 43 metres in diameter.
- Istanbul Cevahir clock in Istanbul, Turkey. 36 m.
- The garden clock in Surat, India. 24.2 m.
- Centro do Brasil railway station clock in Rio de Janeiro, Brasil. 20 m.
- Duquesne Brewery Clock in Pittsburgh, USA. 18 m.
The Largest Clock in the World
The largest clock in the world actually consists of four clocks, one on each side of the Makkah Royal Clock Tower.
The 601 meter tall and 120 stories high tower is part of the Abraj Al-Bait skyscraper complex. It not only houses the Fairmont hotel, but also the Makkah Clock. Its four clock faces are each 43 metres in diameter.
The tower was completed in 2012 after ten years of intense construction work. The massive clock was manufactured in “only” four years. It was designed and built by the German tower clock manufacturer Perrot Gmbh & Co. KG Turmuhren und Läuteanlagen. A company that’s been around since 1860, and is now run by the 5th generation of the Perrot family.
The four clocks are powered by solar energy.
To make sure they are perfectly accurate, they are synchronized by no less than five atomic clocks at the MAKKAH-Time Institute.
Let’s talk numbers
- The mechanism for each of the four clocks weigh 21 metric tons.
- The entire clock weighs 36000 metric tons.
- Hour markers are 7 metres high.
- Hour hands are 17 metres long, and minute hands are 22 metres long and 3 metres wide. Each of the hands weigh up to 7500 kg.
The extremely long and heavy hands are made from a stiff and lightweight carbon fibre composite (prepreg) to prevent the hands from flapping against the dial during storms. This could otherwise destroy the dial.
What about aesthetics?
2 million specially manufactured white and green LED fixtures were used to make the watch visible and readable at all times. In fact, it is readable from up to 8 km away, both day and night. This solution is definitely superior to the luminescent materials used in wristwatches.
All those LED lights also make the clock very beautiful at night.
Because the tower is located so very close to the holiest of all places, The Holy Kaaba, it was important to incorporate islamic ornamentation and design features into the clock. Above the dial there is a huge inscription. It says “Allah is great”.
Makkah clock video
Here’s an in-depth video about the design and construction of the Makkah Clock.
The Largest Timepiece in the World
Although the clock in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, is enormous, there are (or at least have been) even larger timepieces on the planet.
According to Guinness World Records, the largest timepiece ever constructed had clock arms that were 1636.8 metres long. Yes that’s right, more than a mile long.
It took Jim Bowers 13 months to create a timepiece that used lasers instead of mechanical hour and minute hands. He built it in the Black Rock Desert in Nevada, USA, and it was used and measured at the Burning Man festival in September 2011.