Clocks, time and the meaning of happiness (with due respect to Dave Gorman)


It may be an empirically verifiable fact or it may be an urban myth given status by constant repetition, but according to Dave Gorman (presently appearing at the Edinburgh Fringe) it is a truth recognised by marketing departments and photographers of clocks everywhere that happy clocks sell better than ones that aren’t.

Big Gums Smiley Face large wall clock on

Big Gums Smiley Face large wall clock on

Now, a happy clock is a clock that is smiling at you, the corners of the lips upturned in a parody of human contentment. Think ten minutes past ten* (or its mirror image ten minutes to two). Strictly speaking an unhappy clock would show twenty minutes past eight or twenty minutes to five, but for marketing purposes we can think of it as any clock that isn’t happy.

* Eight minutes past ten to be precise, but you would have to see the show to get than one explained.

Can this be true?

A quick web search and this is my first result – contemporary designer clocks form Jazz It Up Interiors. Scroll through the pictures. It’s not until the 26th clock that you see a clock that isn’t smiling (or the celebrity botox version of five minutes past eleven). Number 26 says twenty minutes to eight. And now I’m aware of the phenomenon it’s quite a relief to look at a clock that isn’t trying its hardest to sell itself to me.


1. Funky Egg Cup Clock


2.. Vertical Wall Clock


3. Striped Cuckoo Clock


4. DIY Grand Numbers


5. Porcelain mantle clock


6. Peek-a-boo Cow Clock

1. Funky Egg Cup Cermaic Wall Clock from Jazz It Up Interiors

2. Vertical wall clock in yellow from Sonic Design

3. Striped Cuckoo Clock from Rocket St George

4. DIY Grand Numbers Wall Clock from Oliver Bonas

5. Paris porcelain mantle clock from Roderick Antiques Clocks

6. Karlsson Peek-a-boo Cow Clock from Contemporary Heaven

All smiling. And I could have gone on and on and on.


One Response to “Clocks, time and the meaning of happiness (with due respect to Dave Gorman)”

  1. Owen Philipson (@ESIinteriors) Says:

    I think there is a similar theory with cars

    happy car

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