Famous Clocks in Pop Culture

Posted by David Winnick

[Header image by Oliver Hale on Unsplash]

December 29th is Tick Tock Day, and no that doesn’t mean it is time to look at short videos all day. As the year winds to its inevitable end and we can at last say goodbye to the seemingly endless 2020, it is time to consider the things that have been yet to be done this year. As the clock ticks ever onward all around the world, we at Quirk wanted to take a look at some of the greatest clocks in popular culture as a reminder of the hours spent cooped up at home watching TV and reading books this year.



Back to the Future Clock Tower

An integral part of the story for all three Back to the Future films, the clock tower is one of the most iconic images of the film series which revolves completely around time, clocks and watches. Sent back in time by accident, young Marty McFly must seek help from a younger version of his friend Doctor Emmet Brown to get him back to the future. The only problem is that there isn’t enough power accessible to move Marty through time unless he can harness the lightning set to strike Hill Valley’s famous clock tower. It takes all the timing and luck they have, but Marty and Doc manage to get that lighting and send Marty home just in time for two sequels.




The White Rabbit’s pocket watch

Created by Lewis Carroll for his 1865 novel Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, the White Rabbit is one very time sensitive critter. Constantly fearing that he is going to be late for a verity of events, the Rabbit is obsessed with keeping time on his ever-running pocket watch. Easily one of the most iconic of Carroll’s creations, the White Rabbit and his watch have been referenced in many pop culture homages, including scenes in The Matrix and the Jefferson Airplane song “White Rabbit.”




The clock in the crocodile from Peter Pan

While Peter Pan has one of the world’s most famous clocks in it, Big Ben, there is a much smaller clock which is integral to the story. After losing his hand to a crocodile, Captain James Hook manages to fling a ticking time piece down the beast’s gullet. The clock becomes an early warning sign for Hook every time the reptile comes swimming by to finish the pirate off. If not for the constant ticking, Hook would have been a goner well before the Darling children ever made it to Neverland.




The Doomsday Clock in Watchmen

Perhaps one of the most famous clocks in all of comic book history, the Doomsday Clock functions as a constant reminder in the comic book Watchmen that the world teeters on the brink of nuclear annihilation. While the clock is seen often enough in the comic book, it is also frequently referenced in other designs in the story like Dr. Manhattan’s hydrogen atom symbol and the Comedian’s smiley face pin. Watches and clockwork abound in a comic where even the heroes go by the collective team name of The Minute Men.




The Clock on 24

Agent Jack Baur has the absolute worst days ever. In the Kiefer Sutherland staring television show 24, every hour of television represents an hour of real time for the characters while each season contains 24 episodes making up a single day for each of the characters. While a very interesting concept, it can seem a little bit far fetched at times as every season, Jack’s day goes from okay to bad to worse to the most terrible day in his life. Anyone who has ever watched the show will always have the ticking of that clock stuck in their heads.