Put Down Your iPhone—Actual Clocks are Back in Style

From wearable timepieces to gonging grandfathers, clocks are back and better than ever.

grandfather clock
Photo: Getty Images

It is often said that trends are like clockwork, circling back time and time again. That sentiment couldn't be more true, especially when it comes to the resurgence of analog, as predicted by Pinterest. Even in today's world of screens and swipes, there is nothing like a classic timekeeper. Whether you're designing an outfit or a room, a clock is a quintessential, sophisticated detail.

When asked why analog is resurfacing, Atlanta interior designer Steve McKenzie says, "There's a familiarity [with a clock] to childhood and days gone by." As such, clocks are sentimental heirlooms and are often passed down from one home to the next. "​​A recent client had a special clock, so we placed it prominently, so it could be enjoyed daily. I even have a clock that's very meaningful to me that I keep in my walk-in closet."

Beyond being nostalgic, clocks are also sculptural in design, which brings interest to a room. McKenzie suggests a mantel clock to get the look. It's a traditional nod that speaks to today's interior aesthetic. These smaller pieces can be placed between books on a bookshelf or even take center stage on a sideboard.

Analog in Home Design

Of course, if your wall space allows, there's nothing like a longcase, grandfather-style clock. Emily Mabe, the vintage retailer behind Willow and Pearls, has been studying, collecting, and selling antiques for years, and much of her fascination began with clocks.

"When I was a little girl, my dad's mom, my Nana, Lula Mae Hastings, had a lot of clocks. When I say a lot of clocks, I mean, every surface that was flat had a clock, so clocks were just always a part of my life."

Fast forward to a memorable magazine spread in which Mabe saw a stately Mora, and she was immediately smitten. "I knew I had to have one!" she says.

Made in Sweden and popular among European antique collectors, Mora clocks are beautifully detailed hallway timepieces. During a stint in Europe, while her husband was stationed in Germany, Mabe got her chance to own a coveted Mora. Today, her Mora, often seen on her Instagram, is a timeless addition to her formal living room in her Spanish Fort, Alabama home.

Timepieces in Fashion

This popular home element isn't just for interiors. Its revival is popular in fashion too. Third-generation watch-maker Loren Fernandez is one of the co-founders of Nacre, a Lakeland, Florida-based watch company. Despite the fact that many people carry a clock with them at all times, either on their phones or on their smartwatches, Fernandez knew she wanted to create something that would force people to slow down in more ways than one.

"I figured if people would just glance at their watch instead of pulling out their phone to check the time, it may be a subtle reminder to remain in the present," she says. "Hopefully, the younger generation will bring society back to what really matters—being in the moment instead of allowing technology to distract us."

It's one thing for a watch to help us tell time, but it's another for us to be glued to work emails and other notifications at all times. An analog watch is a break from society's fascination with immediacy.

McKenzie points out that using or decorating with analog clocks is a subtle way to ditch the masses. "I think wearing a watch or incorporating a clock into home decor is a rebellion against our digital surroundings."

To that, we say, "Vive la résistance!"

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