The meaning of the clock tattoo is inextricably linked to the passage of time and the relationship between dreams, goals and achievements between the beginning and the end of life.
They say that time is the most valuable thing a man can spend in his life. It's easy enough to see why timing can have such a significant impact.
It is important to understand the unique ideas that clock tattoos and supporting imagery represent. For some, a clock tattoo can be a symbol of two things: life and death.
Time never stops, but you can be sure of one thing: it will always catch up with you.
A broken watch, a melted watch, or a watch without hands can be favored by those who answer to no one but themselves.
Since their creation, whether they are sundials, hourglasses, pendulum clocks with Roman numerals or old pocket watches, these devices on the skin have come to represent the transience of time, specifically of human life.
Below you will find a complete breakdown of the different clock tattoo symbolism that you can apply to your own body art.
Traditional Clock Tattoo Symbolism
1. Clock and Skull Tattoo Meanings
The definitive representations of our own mortality, skulls have been commonplace in tattoos for decades and still carry a lot of symbolic weight.
Skulls make great tattoos thanks to the variety of styles these designs can wear, and when incorporated into a forearm tattoo or a grim reaper sleeve tattoo, they take on a special symbolic meaning.
We are all racing against the clock, with a finite amount of time to go, and a clock and skull tattoo are a great way to let the world know that you are fully aware of your limited time on this earth.
2. Tattoo art of gears inside clocks.
At the heart of a watch are the gears, wheels, and springs that allow for precision and longevity.
When applied to a tattoo, revealing the gears of a clock can represent the complexity of the wearer's emotions and psyche, all contained under the beautiful facade of the clock face.
The craftsmanship of these clocks is incredible and the deeper meaning these internal mechanisms hold is just as interesting, which is of great interest to tattoo lovers who appreciate the symbolism of what lies below the surface.
3. Meanings of eye and clock tattoos
The meaning of an eye and clock tattoo combination is usually pieces that link the different meanings attached to the passage of time, truth, and the elements of life and death.
The eye tattoo design symbolizes truth, protection and guidance, while the clock is a classic tattoo idea, a powerful symbol of the passage of time and the march towards the end.
Eye and clock tattoos often use elements of a realistic or geometric eye in combination with a stylized 3D tattoo.
4. Clock Face Tattoo Meanings
Clocks began as simple time-telling tools and quickly evolved into intricate works of art and technology.
Before the glowing wall clock and the digital revolution, traditional clocks were the pinnacles of engineering.
The precision and complexity involved in creating precise clocks (or the architectural splendor of a complete grandfather clock) before the development of digital technology is staggering.
The attention to detail in these watches did not stop at functionality.
The artistic side of clocks and the style of clock tattoos has become one of the most beautiful expressions of art for tattoo enthusiasts.
5. Hourglass Tattoo Symbolism
Clocks, Ouroboros and the symbol of infinity. All of these disparate images represent different aspects of the mystical nature of time, yet there is no image more instantly recognizable and inextricably linked to time than the hourglass.
Before the development of these timing devices, man's ability to measure time was limited to examining the natural world around him (and from the hourglass eventually came the clock).
Just as grains of sand pass from one glass bulb to another, the moments of our lives pass from the future in front of us to the past behind us.
The hourglass tattoo design is often depicted with wings to further emphasize the transient essence of our time on this plane and the inability to make up for the time we have lost.
6. Pocket Watch Tattoo Meanings
An antique pocket watch was once a symbol of luxury and wealth, with bespoke gentlemen wearing and displaying these ornate watches as a form of functional jewelry.
Although few men still wear these cool chronographs to tell time, they continue to hold a connection to an era of luxury.
Pocket watches are also great elements to incorporate into body art, thanks to the opportunity they provide to add the intricacy of 3D tattoo detail, deeper symbolic meaning, or even the use of cool Roman numeral effects.
Different clock tattoos: time is a human construct
7. Broken Clock Tattoo Meanings
Perhaps the most symbolically powerful of all the different clocks we've seen, the broken clock has the deepest meaning.
If watches represent man's understanding of the finite nature of existence, a broken watch often symbolizes the wearer's indifference to this aspect of life.
These tattoos demonstrate the way in which the user lives in the moment, valuing the experience and leaving aside the importance of measuring time.
8. Salvador Dalí cast clock projects
A clock that turns out to be distorted and melting emphasizes that while the seconds always tick by, time itself is less important than what is done with it.
Surrealist artist Salvador Dalí's cast clock has resonated with countless people, including many different types of tattoo enthusiasts.
This mockery of the rigidity of time shows an admirable rebellion against letting life be governed by traditional ideas about what should happen and when.
Many who choose to paint melted clocks on their bodies do so as a reminder, to themselves or others, not to let imaginary deadlines get in the way. They convey the idea that dreams do not have an expiration date. While it may seem like it's too late for a specific goal, no one really measures time.
9. Broken Hourglass Tattoo Symbolism
A broken hourglass has become a popular tattoo element to represent death and time running out.
In more recent times, this image has taken on a more positive meaning; People often struggle with their connection to often traumatic past events that make it difficult for them to move in a positive direction in their lives.
These broken timers are often used as a representation of an individual letting go of the past and moving on with their lives, free of emotional baggage.
Secondary clock tattoo ideas and design application.
10. Realistic Clock Tattoo Art
A realistic clock tattoo is an eye-catching choice that immediately catches the eye and leaves a clear impression on all who see it.
A realistic clock tattoo draws our visual attention with attention to detail, either as the main image in a complex tattoo idea or as a supporting secondary image.
It creates a visual loop between the user and the viewer, offering the concept of time in relation to the user and/or the tattooed piece itself.
11. Big Ben Tattoo Designs
Big Ben is a popular reference tattoo design for those with an affinity for the ultimate grandfather clock tattoo or those seeking British symbolism.
The great architecture and the long tradition of ringing the bells remind us to appreciate the beauty of the world and the consistency of time.
This tremendous piece of history is magnificent to behold. The beautiful and bold structure towers over and overlooks the bustling city of London, and its tremendous architecture can form the basis for beautiful and realistic grandfather clock tattoo art.
The clock's whimsical ink-drawn details highlight the intense work that went into the design of Big Ben, while also serving as a reminder to enjoy the elusive time as it passes and spend our days appreciating the world around us. surrounds.
12. Artistic Clock Tattoo Ideas
Art is one of the most profound aspects of humanity, and the ability to observe the outside world and recreate it more creatively is central to the human experience.
The way in which abstract art can provide the means to create and interpret complex ideas is what separates us from the animal kingdom.
Applying this artistic approach to clocks can create beautiful, deeply meaningful works of art - just look at Dalí's iconic melting clocks inThe Persistence of Memoryto see the creative potential of an abstract interpretation of clocks.
13. Geographic Clocks and Tattoos
While clocks are man's attempt to interpret time, the work of geography and cartography is his effort to understand the physical world.
Incorporating these two different disciplines into one design can create beautiful tattoos that represent the wearer's search for knowledge and understanding in this often chaotic world.
Whether in color or black and gray, clocks and maps are great complementary design elements.
14. Compass and Clock Tattoo Meanings
The clock and compass tattoo is used in combination to provide time (clock) and direction (compass) symbols, to remind you that the time in your life is limited, so you should explore all possible directions until the time runs out. time.
While clocks are man's attempt to interpret time, the geography and cartography work is his effort to understand the physical world, which is why you will also find maps and geographic instruments.
Incorporating these different symbols into a clock, map and compass tattoo design can create a beautiful ink that represents the wearer's lifelong search for knowledge and understanding.
15. Traditional clock and rose tattoo symbolism.
Roses are a classic element of body art. Every tattoo artist must have the skill to paint these beautiful flowers on the body of people.
A rose tattoo is often depicted with the traditional clock to illustrate the relationship between beauty and time.
Often associated with romantic love and fidelity, roses work very well in tattoos thanks to the variety of colors and representations they can form to create layers of meaning.
A talented tattoo artist can use them as the focal point of a clock tattoo idea or as a secondary symbol designed to create a different meaning.
When it comes to clock tattoos (and their old-school counterpart, the hourglass tattoo), there are several designs that any man can pull off. From the simplistic sundial or hourglass to the ultra-complex pocket watch, many options are used to reflect time and how we operate within the building before our lives end.
see more about- Sun Tattoo Meaning – What Do Sun Tattoos Symbolize?
The clock can symbolize a feeling of time pressure. If this meaning resonates, it may indicate a need to give yourself the gift of time. It is also a reminder that time is a limited resource that must be used wisely. Is your schedule overflowing, your time too tight?
This broken clock symbolizes that struggle and will help you remember both the importance and the fleeing character of time. On your shoulder, arm or your ribs, this bewildering and astonishingly realistic temporary tattoo is sure to look nothing less than amazing.What is the meaning behind clock with no hands? ›
It means doing time and is representative of a long prison sentence. Prison Tattoos and Their Secret Meanings The Clock With No Hands A tattoo of a clock with no hands is one of the subtler prison tattoos you might come across. It means doing time and is representative of a long prison sentence.What does a skull with a clock tattoo mean? ›
A lot of clients ask about Skull tattoos, however with the proper elements and designs the skull can portray different meanings. For example, Skulls with a Grim Reaper may portray death, however Skulls with a clock can portray time.What are clock tattoos? ›
A clock tattoo can represent time passing or an extraordinary date or hour; it can symbolize the beginning or end of life itself. If a clock tattoo calls to you, you're likely someone who has their own unique and personal meaning to add to this piece. Don't be afraid to make this one completely special to you.Why do clocks symbolize yourself? ›
I can compare myself to a clock because it keeps on moving. No matter how hard and tiring our life is, it keeps on moving. Though sometimes, the clock stops because the battery may lose its energy, so does us. We stop doing some things for a bit because we get tired and don't have enough energy to sort things out.What does roses with clock tattoo mean? ›
Rose and Clock Tattoo
The bloom is one of the most beautiful and popular images to get inked because of its meaning; it could represent love and passion, grief, and death, depending on the color you choose.
Rose and Clock Tattoo
This particular flower can be incredibly symbolic: it is often considered an image of life and love, but also death. When paired with the image of a clock, this tattoo design becomes extremely meaningful. A rose and clock tattoo is a great way to convey everlasting love for someone.
“00:00 (Zero O'Clock)” “00:00 (Zero O'Clock)” refers to the song Map of the Soul: 7. Since its release, it became an instant comfort to ARMY as the vocal line sings about hope for a better future. Essentially, the end of any bad day is the beginning of a fresh start for tomorrow.What does the death clock mean? ›
death clock (plural death clocks) A metaphorical clock representing when one is expected to die, e.g. when someone expects to have a short lifespan because of an illness.
In some precision clocks, a third hand, which rotated once a minute, was added in a separate subdial. This was called the "second-minute" hand (because it measured the secondary minute divisions of the hour), which was shortened to "second" hand.What do the three hands of a clock tell us answer? ›
The longest hand indicates the seconds, the longer one indicates the minutes while the smallest one indicates the hours. The shortest hand indicates the hour, a longer hand indicates the minutes, and the longest arm indicates the seconds.What does the tattoo with 3 dots mean? ›
The three dots tattoo represents “Mi Vida Loca,” which translates to “my crazy life.” It often means the struggles of the underprivileged and the minorities. It's a way of saying, “my life is crazy, but I'm thankful for it,” or “life may be crazy, but I'm still here.”What does a lion with a clock tattoo mean? ›
Lion clock tattoo meaning. Clocks are a popular tattoo image perhaps because our lives are ruled by the passage of time. Today lion tattoos signify the same things plus courage savage protectiveness glory victory strength vitality spirit and overall masculinity.What does a dove and clock tattoo mean? ›
Inner forearm tattoo, hooded Guardian Angel, with a classic Roman numeral clock , and two doves to symbolize Peace and Harmony!What does a Roman numeral clock tattoo mean? ›
Roman numeral tattoos can show the date of a wedding, usually with a clock to show that love is eternal, and it can represent the date of birth of your important person or whatever date is closest to your heart.What is the deep meaning of clock? ›
Passage of Time – Clocks are also thought to represent the passage of time, which moves forward relentlessly, and once gone can never be recovered. They can be viewed as a sign that each minute is precious, and that it's important to live every minute of one's life to the fullest.What does each part of the clock represent how do you know? ›
To tell time on an analog clock, you look at where the hands are pointing. The short or small hand tells you the hour, the long or big hand tells you the minute of the current hour, and the thinnest hand indicates the seconds of the current minute.What symbol that symbolizes your life? ›
Heart. The heart symbol represents life and love.What does an owl and clock tattoo mean? ›
Owl and Clock Tattoo
A man who is a deep thinker may be drawn to this design. It can also be used as a way to honor the memory of a loved one, the hands on the watch indicating the moment a loved one passed away. ADVERTISEMENT.
Time symbols have always been popular in art as reminders of the passing of life and the inevitability of death. Hour glass tattoos have been a simple depiction of this for many years, and there has been a long tradition of symbolism within prison tattoos depicting clock and watches with no hands.What does an All black rose tattoo Mean? ›
Given that, black rose tattoos sometimes serve as reminders of mourning and remembering someone or something lost. But where there is death there is also birth, and so a black rose can also represent a farewell to something bad and a new beginning of something good — or so the Victorians thought.What does Tiger and clock tattoo mean? ›
'Tiger with the Clock' Tattoo. Meaning: This tattoo represents time, the one thing we can't control but must live with. It also symbolizes cycles of life; birth, growth, maturity, death, and rebirth. It signifies mortality, existence, infinity, endless love, and stability.What does 3 eyes tattoo mean? ›
Third Eye Tattoo Design:
' It represents intuition and the ability to foretell the future. Typically, this eye design is enclosed within a triangle with sun rays emitting from it. This triangle represents the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
The X represents a kiss, while the O represents a hug. This is most likely because the X is a stylized way of showing two mouths kissing, and the O looks like two pairs of arms connecting for a hug.What does the tattoo 444? ›
The “444” specifically refers to passion and ambition. The number is meant to inspire you to get your act together and move towards something great, don't drag your feet, and reignite and find the things that make you passionate about life.What does 713 mean in a tattoo? ›
MEXICAN MAFIA (EME) “713” tattooed on the subject's skull represents the Houston area code. The number 13 stands for “M”, thirteenth letter of the alphabet, for “Mexican Mafia”.Is a clock a symbol of death? ›
Less blunt symbols of death frequently allude to the passage of time and the fragility of life, and can be described as memento mori; that is, an artistic or symbolic reminder of the inevitability of death. Clocks, hourglasses, sundials, and other timepieces both call to mind that time is passing.What happens a minute before death? ›
In time, the heart stops and they stop breathing. Within a few minutes, their brain stops functioning entirely and their skin starts to cool. At this point, they have died.Why do people stop clocks when someone dies? ›
Someone has died, and stopping the clocks in the house of the deceased, silencing them, is an old tradition, similar to closing the blinds or curtains and covering the mirrors. The clock would be set going again after the funeral. Some people believe stopping the clock was to mark the exact time the loved one had died.
A: The fourth hand is a 24 hour hand that is used to tell the hour in another time zone. The fourth hand can be set independent of the hour hand to measure another time zone and with the rotating bezel a third ti… see more.What is the fourth hand on a clock? ›
The fourth hand points to the UTC hour, allowing for timed coordination over multiple time zones. The hand will travel around the face of the watch once every 24 hours.Which hands mean what on a clock? ›
The big hand is the minute hand and the small hand is the hour hand. When the minute hand is pointing to 12 it is O'clock. When the minute hand is pointing to the 6 it means it is half past.What is the second hand of a clock? ›
The hand that moves around the fastest on an Analog Clock. It shows the number of seconds. There are 60 seconds in a full rotation of one minute.How many types of clocks are there? ›
17 Different Types Of Clocks With Names & Images.What does the middle hand mean and the big hand mean on a clock? ›
Understanding a clock
Students learn that analog clocks have hands and that the hour hand (the little hand) on an analog clock shows the hours and the minute hand (the big hand) shows the minutes.
Three Triangles In A Row
It is known as an 'equilibrio' tattoo, which means an equal balance between the past, present, and future. While the past and future are unfinished and open triangles, the present holding it all together is a complete triangle.
Struggle and Triumph
Another design idea that symbolizes struggle is two arrows pointing away from each other—a representation of war or conflict. On the other hand, an arrow tattoo with a feather represents triumph over that life struggle or conflict, as well as liberty and independence.
One of the most popular numbers used in tattoos is number four. Whether it be Roman numerals, 444 angel number designs, or prison tattoos featuring the number 4, this number symbolizes protection, stability, loyalty, security, and respect.What does wolf tattoo symbolize? ›
A wolf tattoo symbolizes integrity, loyalty, ferocity, strength, love, strong determination. It is believed that each person has a unique energy within, and the tattoo emanates this energy to the universe.
These two predators when placed together are a mean pair. The wolf tattoo brings out the predator side of the owl's symbolism, representing danger and fierceness. This is the tattoo of someone who is a fighter in life and who had many battle scars.What do pulse tattoos mean? ›
Thankfully, heartbeat or pulse tattoos is something simple but with a deep meaning. These tattoos could mean appreciation for renewed life whether surviving a near-death experience, cancer or something straight-forward as beginning a chapter in life.What does a sunflower tattoo mean? ›
A: A sunflower tattoo can symbolize various things, including happiness, loyalty, adoration, and vitality. Sunflowers are known for their bright yellow petals and their ability to turn towards the sun, which can represent positivity, hope, and optimism.What is sparrow tattoo? ›
Sparrow tattoo designs represent humility, freedom, and true love. This bird tattoo is loved by many, and people ink this to symbolize human bonds and emotions. The sparrow and swallow tattoos mentioned above represent a commitment, loyalty, and love.What's the saying about a broken clock? ›
a stopped clock is right twice a day.What tattoo means losing someone? ›
The infinity symbol is a common grief tattoo. This sign represents togetherness and eternity, mostly used to honor a love that will never end. Though you might have experienced loss, your love is endless and unyielding.What does a cracked tattoo mean? ›
Poorly hydrated tattoos can cause your tattoos to split and bleed. This is called tattoo cracking and can cause bigger, deeper scabs to form. Deep scabs can extend your healing time, and can be more prone to getting pulled or ripped off before fully healed.What tattoo represents overcoming? ›
"Spiritual tattoos — mandala, hamsa, chakra, tree of life, Budha, lotus, etc. — are common for battling anxiety. They symbolize the overcoming of struggle, protection, self care, rebirth, the circle of life, kindness, strength, new challenges, and new beginnings."Can a clock symbolize life? ›
Life and Death – Clocks are considered to be a symbol of life and death. They're a clear sign that nothing remains permanent in life and that everything changes at some point or other.What is the clock quote? ›
Don't watch the clock; do what it does. Keep going. You have to cherish things in a different way when you know the clock is ticking, you are under pressure.
What does on the clock mean? Working hard or hardly working? If you're on the clock, it should be the former. To be on the clock is an idiom meaning “working” or “getting paid.” It can also refer to the amount of time a taximeter has on the clock or the amount of time left in a sporting match.What is the symbol for passed loved ones? ›
The most commonly reported “sign” from a deceased loved one is the butterfly. And that makes a lot of sense since butterflies represent the human soul in many cultures.
The green ribbon, also referred to as the mental health ribbon, is the global symbol of mental health awareness and can also be associated with bipolar disorder. The green ribbon Tattoo is an excellent mental health tattoo choice, especially for people who want to show their support for mentally ill people.What tattoo symbolizes moving forward? ›
Small Symbol Tattoos. Delta Symbol. Upper (arrow) means progress, moving forward; open delta means opennes to change.Does 1 tear tattoo mean? ›
A teardrop tattoo is a small tattoo in the shape of a teardrop near one or both eyes. It is closely associated with gang and prison culture, where it often indicates one has served time, one has been humiliated, or one has killed. Others may get such a tattoo to represent sorrow or loss.How should a tattoo look after 3 days? ›
Days 2 to 3
By now, your tattoo will have a duller, cloudier appearance. This happens as your skin heals. Scabs will start to form. Wash your tattoo once or twice a day, and apply a fragrance-free and alcohol-free moisturizer.
Vaseline isn't the best choice for tattoo aftercare. Petroleum jelly traps moisture and bacteria, which can lead to infections and scarring if your tattoo doesn't get enough air while it's healing. You may be able to use Vaseline on old tattoos if your skin is dry.What is the symbol for mental illness? ›
The green ribbon is the international symbol of mental health awareness. Wear a green ribbon to show colleagues, loved ones or simply those you walk past that you care about their mental health. It can also be worn in memory of a loved one.What is a symbol for inner strength? ›
Oak Tree. The oak tree is often seen as a symbol of inner strength, resilience, and potential. It is an iconic representation of the human spirit and its capacity to overcome obstacles in life.What symbolizes hope and healing? ›
Petunia. Petunias are colorful flowers that have been associated with hope, healing, and well-being for a long time.