Obelisks and sun dials were all well and good until increasingly complex technologies made accuracy and consistency a real requirement of time-keeping. As the distance between towns, cities and even states grew smaller thanks to trains and postal routes, exact time tables were critical for good business.

Despite some early ideas from Italian, American, and Canadian business men and philosophers, the first applied instance of standardized time began in New Zealand in 1868, when they standardized an arbitrary unified time for the entire country. In 1869, Charles Dowd suggested standardized time zones to the American Railroad Company as a way to keep their routes consistent. Dowd’s concept of time zones stuck, though the borders he suggested were not used by the Railroads, since they covered unequal amounts of territory and also included north/south dividing lines. (To this day, no one is quite sure why; Dowd’s system essentially left New England in a time zone all on its own compared to the rest of the country.)

Even after these standard time zones were implemented and maintained by many businesses, recognition of this time was not mandatory, which means that some cities like Detroit, which rested between two of the standard time zones, refused to acknowledge either, and stayed on local time until the 1900s. Thanks to conflicts over daylight savings time, it is still possible to miss out on time zone changes in places like Arizona, parts of Canada, and most of the Asian continent.

The 24-hour day was officially adopted at the International Meridian Conference in 1884, and shortly after this, the 24-hour longitudinal global time zone system was created, though not universally applied. Today, some large countries like China still subscribe to a single time zone within their borders. Some countries in the Middle East keep to a local time that is half an hour different from the nearest official time zone. In Nepal, the difference is something like fifteen minutes, which probably results in a lot of uneasy watch re-setting at the border crossing.

The modern technological world tends to forget about time zones; now that the globally recognized divisions are determined by atomic UTC time and updated regularly by satellite connection and global positioning technology, most of us let our cell phone, laptops, and watches do the computations for us, and we enjoy the ease those products give us while also being stylish and reliable.
Still, there are some of us who still travel with an old-fashioned watch on our wrist, and we take the few seconds it requires in a new place to reset the hands of our watch and get into sync with the time zone we find ourselves inhabiting. While some may see this as an inconvenience, I am coming to see it as a joy, and as a chance to orient myself to a new place, a new atmosphere, and even a new time. Perhaps there is a certain amount of wisdom in taking the time to know the time, to deliberately orient ourselves to the real pace of life around us. Besides, there are plenty of lovely watches that require a bit of manual investment to get them into the proper time zone.

Check out the Tick Tock Shop today for all of your time zone needs, whether you mean to stay in this one and get the kids to school on time, or you plan travel around the world before you reset your watch again.

As any viewer of National Treasure can tell you, Ben Franklin first came up with the idea of Daylight Saving Time in 1784. What most Americans probably don’t know is that Franklin didn’t actually suggest the system we use today; his suggestion to get up an hour earlier to get more daylight was a punchline in a satire about French workers. Nothing else came of it until years later.

Actual credit for the complete concept of Daylight Saving as a workable system officially goes to George Vernon Hudson, an avid bug collector and scientific explorer who proposed the system in 1895 so that he would have more daylight hours for bug catching after he got off work. Daylight Saving as we know it today wasn’t implemented until World War I; in 1916, Germany began adjusting its standard times to modulate its energy use.  The United States adapted to Daylight Saving Time in 1918, and we’ve been living with it ever since. (Unless you live in Arizona. Or Hawaii. Or parts of Indiana.)

Daylight Saving Time in the United States makes changes of one-hour increments in order to shift the working day into the prime daylight hours. This means that in the spring, DST makes a day that is only 23 hours long as we all shift our clocks forward an hour so that we can catch it in the morning. In the fall, DST requires us to set our clocks back an hour, and we inhabit a 25-hour day.

DST has long since become a normal, if inconvenient, part of American and European life. It is a concession to a world which is increasingly obsessed with precise time measurement, scheduling, and global communication. With so many people in so many places involved in business, transactions, and conversations across the globe, it is essential to know what time it is where you’re calling, and how long you have to work things out before the end of the business day where you are. Still, thanks to increasingly precise and speedy technology updates, many people are starting to find Daylight Saving Time not just old-fashioned, but downright unnecessary. The system has had both its supporters and its enemies since it was first enacted.

Logically, DST makes a lot of sense if everyone decides to do it at the same time and in the same way. Just as we have established latitude, longitude, global time zones, and the date line, Daylight Saving is yet another facet of the complex, careful system that supports the logistical infrastructure of global communication. It makes it easier to know what time it will be when you land somewhere, or what part of the afternoon you are trying to conduct business in when you have coworkers in another country. Additionally, it does still provide those few extra hours of precious daylight, if you’re in the right place at the right times.

The problem is that DST is not followed everywhere, and it’s not even followed in all the same ways. Europe, Asia, and America all technically follow Daylight Saving, but they all enact it on different times and different days, which means that the majority of the global business world is slightly out of sync for a few days twice a year. Even then, there are places in the United States that have decided not to follow DST, so crossing the border between Arizona and New Mexico results in local time travel.

Multiple states, including Colorado, have considered legally renouncing Daylight Savings over the years. Places like Michigan went multiple years without observing DST, only to switch back over again. Local business concerns and voter frustrations have led to these discussions and changes in many places, and there is no indication that these issues are going anywhere.

Love it or hate it, Daylight Savings Time is a fascinating point of tension between global awareness, local government, and personal convenience. What are your thoughts? Should DST stay, or should it go? How can we make it better?

Out of all the time-pieces available today, pocket watches may have the most fascinating (and socially mobile) history of development. Originally a novelty item for the very-upper-class, they eventually became a mandatory working-man’s tool and a hallmark of the industrial middle class. The basic pocket-watch construction became familiar in the late 1400s, though they were more often found on a string around the neck than in the actual pocket. These first prototypes were so expensive that only dukes and monarchs could afford to have them made. Naturally, they were covered in precious metals and stones, and though decorative, they weren’t actually very useful for keeping time. Most of the early creations only included hour hands, and even those failed to be consistently accurate.

In the 1500s, European watch-makers began to perfect accurate, mobile clock mechanisms; pocket watches became lighter and more reliable, but like most personal time-pieces, they were still largely relegated to the upper class. Peter Henlein’s spring-action pocket-watch design in 1520 sparked the beginning of the pocket-watch trend, and they have remained popular right up to the present day. Throughout the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, pocket-watches gained a minute hand, and also began to include more gears that allowed the watch to keep better time and be wound less often. Some designs even used gems like rubies as bearings inside the watch to reduce wear and tear on the metal elements.

These improvements made the pocket-watch the ideal timepiece for railroads in America, Britain, and Europe when the Industrial Revolution hit in the nineteenth century. The railroads epitomized the Western world’s new obsession with accurate time; railroads began requiring their employees to carry a certain standard of pocket-watch to ensure that schedules remained on time. In a few short years, the pocket-watch became a symbol for progress, industry, and reliable time-keeping. Ironically, the Industrial Age soon brought along new technologies, and by World War I there were many readily-available timepieces that made pocket-watches seem old-fashioned.

Despite the changing trends, pocket-watches never went entirely out of style. They have remained as a pillar of the world of watches not just because they are meaningful historically, but because they provide a sense of occasion, permanency, and dignity that many of us find appealing in today’s hectic digital world. Pocket-watches make impressive, thoughtful gifts, whether for a holiday gift or to commemorate a special occasion, and the Tick Tock Shop provides many exceptional options for you to choose from.

Shop our on-line selection of Charles Hubert pocket watches here.

Of all the watch brands available today, Hamilton has a uniquely American history, spanning everything from wartime production to the development of airplanes to the glamor of Hollywood.

The company was founded  in Lancaster, Pennsylvania in 1892. Hamilton’s quality was soon well-known across the United States.

By 1912, Hamilton Watch began providing accurate pocket watches for the American railroad system. H78719553_PR_4_mid_7923In 1914, the company became the official timepiece supplier to the American armed forces. Only a few years after that, a Hamilton aeronautical watch was used by the first American airmail postal service. By the 1930’s, Hamilton was a watchword for style and reliability in commercial airlines and military operations alike.

That dedication to the Armed Forces was put to the test at the start of World War II. In 1942, Hamilton ceased selling watches to consumers and concentrated on making timepieces exclusively for the American armed forces. They shipped out a million timepieces over the course of World War II, including over ten thousand cutting-edge marine chronometers.

After the war, Hamilton returned to the American public, and soon became the brand name of Hollywood. Hamilton watches appeared in the 1951 film “The Frogmen,”  the first of many World War II movies that would include Hamilton equipment. Hamilton soon furnished many other Hollywood productions, including Elvis Presley’s “Blue Hawaii” and Stanley Kubrick’s “2001: A Space Odyssey”. Today, Hamilton watches have appeared in movies like “Men in Black”, “Independence Day”, and “You’ve Got Mail”. Every year since 2006, the company has also sponsored the Hamilton Behind the Camera Awards, which gives credit to the people behind the scenes of Hollywood films.

Along the way, Hamilton continued to be a pioneer in watch technology. In 1957 they offered the world’s first electric watch, and in 1970 they sold the first LED digital watch. It wasn’t until

2003 that Hamilton’s major watch production moved from the United States to Biel, Switzerland. Even now, the company has a uniquely American blend of style, adventure, and dedication that makes any of their products a worthwhile addition to your timekeeping collection.

The Tick Tock Shop is a proud Hamilton provider. Take a look at some of these great products currently in stock

People often ask us what we recommend to clean and polish antique clock cases. After trying a large variety of products we found one that we are confident using in the shop, and we feel good about selling for your use at home. We do not use it on modern furniture with a polyurethane finish because it will just sit on top of the finish and not penetrate into the wood, but for antique pieces it is simply the best. We apply it with a small piece of cotton cloth and/or a soft paint brush. You can use a little on a cloth every time you dust, or more generously for a piece that needs more care.

Here is the story about The Natchez Solution:

 After 30 years of searching for a quality wood furnishings conditioner, Mississippian Jack Ramsey developed The Natchez Solution. Ramsey discovered a 1738 recipe from a Virginia pioneer that actually feeds into the grain of the wood. He studied, worked and refined this mixture into an all-natural blend of beeswax, mineral oil and lemon oil. Ramsey began test marketing his conditioner in 1983 under the name The Solution. He sent several samples to Natchez Mississippi antebellum homeowners and antique dealers because, he said, “If it worked on all that priceless furniture, we had something.”

 The response was overwhelming. In fact, the city of Natchez was so impressed with Ramsey’s product that it allowed him to add the city’s official logo to his product and it became The Natchez Solution. Mr. Ramsey has since passed on but The Natchez Solution continues to be made in rural Hinds County near Jackson Mississippi and is now available worldwide via the web site www.natchezsolution.com . Evidence of the Natchez Solution can be seen in museums, private homes, country clubs, antique shops and furniture stores throughout.

 There are two reasons for The Natchez Solution’s success. One is the selection of oils in the formula which are heat-blended with raw beeswax and lemon oil to “feed” the wood and bring out its luster; the other is the method used to suspend the all-natural ingredients so they won’t separate and leave behind the age-old problem of wax build-up. The wax and oils feed into the wood together and replace the lost sap to keep the wood alive. This prevents furniture from cracking and splitting and drawers from sticking as a result of age and natural wear and tear.

 The Natchez Solution’s customers say there is no substitute. “I’ve never seen anything like it,” said Ben Long, owner of Uncle Ben’s Country Cottage in Jackson. Long buys the product by the 55-gallon drum for polishing his hand-made furniture. Long also uses it with 0000 steel wool to clean and polish antique wood. Pennsylvania home restorer Jeffrey Wyatt uses Natchez Solution on hardwood floors. “We like to leave the patina in the floors of our restored homes,” says Wyatt. “The Natchez Solution works great to clean the dirt and protect the wood. We even use it on staircases and mantels.”

 *Thanks to www.natchezsolution.com for the information! Stop by and pick up a bottle today.

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Store Hours and Holidays


HOURS: M-F 9:00-5:30
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2021 Holiday schedule
Monday, May 31, 2021 CLOSED Memorial Day
Monday, July 5, 2021 CLOSED Independence Day