Clock Tattoos: Meanings, Pictures, Designs, and Ideas
The Timeless Clock Tattoo
Clocks are fascinating objects, both visually and symbolically. A clock tattoo can be designed to incorporate a variety of symbolic and meaningful elements, and since there are many different types of clocks to choose from, it's easy to create a unique and personal design.
Clocks are not really a mainstream tattoo design, so when you do see one, it can really catch your eye. To accommodate the detail and shading in the clock and its mechanism, these tattoos tend to be larger. When done well, they can be extremely stunning and completely unique. Clocks can be designed to look masculine, feminine, or neutral, so anyone can wear one.
Below, you will find a discussion of clock tattoo designs and meanings, with many pictures, to help you find inspiration for your next tattoo.
Time and tide wait for no man.— Chaucer
Time is the longest distance between two places.— Tennessee Williams
Clock Tattoo Meanings
The clock tattoo can represent a variety of different meanings. Although they represent time, they can represent so much more. Remember, your tattoo symbolizes what you want it to. Below are some possible meanings of this tattoo.
- Incarceration (literal or metaphorical)
- A special moment
- Life or mortality
- Endlessness or infinity
- A beating heart or a drumbeat
- Endless love
Life and Death
In general, a clock symbolizes life and death. Time never stops, and we tend to forget that fact. One day, time will catch up with us all, and our short time here will be over.
Clock tattoos can be designed to represent this very understanding. A tattoo designed to represent life can incorporate various living elements such as flowers or roses, while those meant to represent death might incorporate skulls, fire, or the grim reaper. To represent Christian life, angels or a cross might be used.
This tattoo could also symbolize an endless love. It could be the love you have for your parents or your children (in which case, their names, faces, or dates of birth might be incorporated). One common symbol that is used for such designs is the heart. Doves, flowers, angels, and stars could also be used.
These tattoos might also be designed with inspirational quotes (such as “Don’t let time pass you by” or “Make every second count”) included on banners or embedded into the clock itself.
Better three hours too soon than a minute too late.— William Shakespeare
Clock Tattoo Design Options
broken or melting watch (like Salvador Dali)
the white rabbit from "Alice in Wonderland" ("I'm late!")
analog or digital display
Big Ben (in London)
tempus fugit ("time flies" in Latin)
Other Ways to Represent Time: Hourglass and Infinity SymbolsClick thumbnail to view full-size
Yesterday's the past, tomorrow's the future, but today is a gift. That's why it's called the present.— Bil Keane
Time moves in one direction, memory in another.— William Gibson
Before You Get Your Tattoo
There are some very important things that you should remember before you choose a tattoo of a clock (or any tattoo, for that matter).
- Make sure that you take the time to fully research it and think about what it should mean. Make sure you’re absolutely clear on the details of what it will look like and how it will fit on your body.
- You want to make sure that you completely understand what your tattoo stands for. You don't want to find out afterwards that it might represent something completely different from what you wanted.
- Don't rush to get inked! People who get inked on an impulse usually have regrets about their choice later on down the road.
Lost time is never found again.— Benjamin Franklin
Forever is composed of nows.— Emily Dickinson