My Favorite Second Hand

second hands typically come in two flavors:

  1. tick—wait on each mark for almost a full second, then snap to the next mark.
  2. sweep—move continuously.

then there’s this one:

slow tick

i’ve only ever seen this once. this motion lets you pinpoint the exact start and end of each second.

normal ticking doesn’t help because the movement is so quick you can’t see it; you actually just keep time in your head and predict when the hand will move. sweeping is useless. hence the best flavor:

  1. slow tick—wait on each mark for a partial second, then move slowly to the next mark.

this lets you perceive time more precisely, which is the whole point of a clock. does it ever actually matter? i doubt it. but it’s elegant and it’s sensical and it feels so right to me.

my relatives were just trying to replace their dead old wall clock. i didn’t mean to talk them into a fancy $120 atomic one.