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Display technologies

In the field of clock-making there are different types of clocks that differ based on the technology used for indicating time and the features offered.

Time reading is usually performed in double-quick time.

Usually, those who needs to constantly need to check time, do so at a glance, and the more time is critical to the task at hand, the more frequent the reading will be.

 

The primary task of a clock, therefore, is not to show the most accurate time, but to display it in the clearest possible way.

From many angles, at a great distance, with various ambient light conditions… the clock must always be readable in a split second, and every clock must supply the adequate characteristics for the context it is set in.

 

The various display technologies, developed in the last decades, instead of replacing each other, stand aside to better cover all possible situations, even with concern to other preferential factors (e.g. energy saving).

 

The first great distinction to be done is between luminous clocks and non-luminous ones.

 

 

Luminous clocks have the obvious advantage of being readable at night and in dark places, but they also provide higher readability at a distance, at any time of the day.

These two features make them ideal for outdoor use.

 

LED

The most common luminous technology uses LEDs to outline hour/minute digits (and further information): this is due to the higher and easily adjustable brightness they can provide, with relatively low energy consuption.

Graphics design can be operated with various techniques: it is possible to form the ordinary seven segments, with exposed LEDs or with a light diffusing film (to make the light better spread throughout the single segment), to enchance maximum readability; it is also possible to lay down an LED matrix, that allows for a higher flexibility in terms of text style and, if needed, dynamic effects.

 

Fluorescent

The VFD technology (Vacuum Fluorescent Display), besides its low energy consumption, allows for an extremely neat outline of displayed digits, making the information highly readable.

Furthermore, the display design is more elegant and refined, making this technology a competitive advantage in environments where style is a critical aspect.

 

 

As one can easily figure out, non-luminous clocks require less electrical power, thus reducing costs and environmental impact.

 

Analog (hands)

The most classical of clocks is a timeless classic, because of its minimum consumption, the lowest production costs and the highest readability at a distance, since one only needs to distinguish the hand directions to acknowledge the current time.

Simple, international, reliable… the analog clock is by good reason the most adopted clock in stations, airports and all the large crowded facilities.

 

Flaps

The flap clock was invented by Solari and, since the ‘40s, it never stops being an example of design and comunication minimalism. The genious within mechanically turning a continuous movement into a digital visualization leads to a high mechanical reliability, a reduction in power consumption and a distinctive and refined communication style.

This technology first represents a style choice: nowadays, adopting a flap display means giving a cherished and timeless design to any environment, without sacrifices in terms of clearness and communication effectiveness, while still respecting environment.

 

 

As an example of the importance of time readability, consider the care with which hospitals choose their operating room clocks.

 

Besides hygiene matters, an operation room clock must comply to specific requirements:

1) maximum readability by personnel;

2) possibility to remotely starting and stopping a chronometer.

 

For these reasons, the design of these devices has been given a particular care.

The chosen technologies to satisfy these needs are the ones that allow for maximum effectiveness in using the chronometer: LED segments (with light diffusing film) and analog hands.

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