Retro Steampunk Clock Ultimate Guide
By Steampunk Origins | Updated Oct 09, 2019
Imagine a world in which steam power was never overhauled. A world where locomotives blowing fluffy clouds are the de facto mode of transport.
Let’s just pretend for a second that everything advanced the way it did to get us where we are today, with that being the only difference.
Retro Steampunk Clock Quick Review
|Product||Best For||Our Rating|
|1. The Stormgrave Chronometer Clock||Desk Clock|
|2. Design Toscano Gears of Time Sculptural Wall Clock||Handpainted Quality|
|3. Generic Retro Flip Down Clock||Flip Down|
|4. 3d Retro Oldtown Clock||Overall|
|5. Aero Snail Retro Dia Wall Clock||Subdued Design|
Top Choice: The Stormgrave Chronometer Clock
Authentic, full-steam-ahead style for the true steampunk.
Unfortunately, the world introduced above is not what happened, so we’ve got to be happy with the next best option, and that is steampunk paraphernalia.
The lucky thing is that there is an incredible variety of these recognizable objects on the market to get your hands on: clothing, furniture, machinery and even steampunk clocks. But before we check out a few of those, let’s look into what the subculture is about.
What is Steampunk All About?
Steampunk can be defined as retro-futurism, or how the future would look if the past had a bigger place in it. Take a Zeppelin, fly it to the cyborg age and you get steampunk aesthetic, a jumble of the best of both old and new. It is about being quirky, sure, but also about staying true to what is valuable – you don’t have to change things that are perfect the way they are.
Mostly, though, steampunk is about daring to dream big. It’s about innovating only where necessary, but then going all the way and doing it properly. It is far from being just a subculture based on visual peculiarities: it is a way of life. It’s no accident that Jules Verne – the father of steampunk, arguably - is the second most translated author ever, inches behind some guy called Shakespeare.
Verne wrote about gutsy things, like going around the world in 80 days, knowing full well that that might not have been possible at the time. But it may be fair to say that one of the reasons it is possible today is because of people like him; those who dared to go further, in their thoughts, hopes and dreams.
Aim to be one of those guys, not your loser neighbour Lou. He might not know this yet, but we don’t have forever. Life, in fact, is way too short to be content with mediocrity. The time has come to get something going. Speaking of which...
What Time is It?
What time is it? Now, if you looked at your computer to find out, you get no points. If you got your phone from your pocket, you get ten. A flip of your wrist gets you twenty, and if you turned your eyes up at the wall to glance at a clock, you win. If there is only a spot of blank wall in that perfect place for a fixed timepiece because you think clocks are démodé, think again.
Today, the stuff to have is the stuff others don’t – rare, hard-to-find pieces that say something about you. You could get one of those clocks every dentist’s office has, sure – one with a black rim, black hands and black numbers on a white dial. One where having Roman numerals counts for a hint of rebellion.
You could do that, and live your perfectly nice life like your perfectly nice neighbour, of course. Except for the fact that the guy next door is not nice, just boring, and you don’t want to end up like him.
Do something a little of-kilter every once in a while. Get some pink socks to go with your serious suit or find the guts to ask for that woman’s number, you know the one. To get the ball rolling, and to serve as a reminder not to take life lying down, get yourself a steampunk clock and hang it in that bland patch of wall. Get out of your comfort zone and don’t go back.
Why a Steampunk Clock?
You may be thinking why clocks? Well, that’s easy: because there is nothing more steampunk than an analogue clock. Think about it. It’s retro, meaning people don’t use them much any more, but there really isn’t anything much better that has replaced them.
If you’re thinking digital, just ask someone with an automatic watch how often they have to change the batteries in it. Plus, the whole thing is a collection of gears that mostly come in the color palette typical for the style.
To help you get started on your steampunk journey, we’ve collected a few clocks for you to choose from, so you can watch the movie Brazil instead of sifting through tons of options.
We’ve tried to narrow it down to a small but varied selection, so you’d find just the piece that fits you. There are the more mainstream, reasonable options, of course, but there are also the more daring choices.
All of these clocks also make fantastic gifts for the steampunk in your life, but we can’t guarantee you’ll want to part with any of them once they get delivered to you. Pick one of these to incorporate a little steampunk into your day.
Retro Steampunk Clock Review
Authentic, full-steam-ahead style for the true steampunk.
By far the most steampunk one of the lot, our last entry is definitely no pushover. You may be bothered by its resin make, fine, but hold on for a second. If you have no regard for the status quo, live alone or at least without a female companion who puts a damper on your enthusiasm, this one is for you.
This take-no-prisoners free standing clock is a statement piece that says something like “I really don’t care what you think because you have no idea about anything”. Let’s face it, most people don’t, anyway. But you obviously do, being such a discerning gentleman.
This clock has a second hand – meaning a hand counting the seconds – but the funky mess of the design makes it hard to tell what hour it even is, so this feature may not be that useful. This may sound inconvenient, until you really look inside yourself and realize that telling time is also not what you’d get this clock for. Who cares what time it is when you’ve got an object this cool? Exactly, no one.
- Most true to steampunk style
- Has 3 Hands
- Made of resin
- Hard to read the time off the face
Gorgeous hand-painted clock with unapologetically steampunk style to add a bit of whimsy to your living space.
While the first two items on this list are more of an homage, a nod to steampunk style, this one is more like a head-on-collision. This model is more like a sculpture that tells time than a mere clock.
All brass tones and gears as is a must for the style, this is a sublime choice if you don’t want any confusion as to what you’re trying to say.
This clock comes in two sizes just like the previous one and will fit any space – if not in design, certainly in size. Also like the previous entry, this clock is not made of authentic steampunk metal but is unfortunately cast in resin, a slight deficit which is made up for through the hand-painted design.
If that’s not steampunk, we don’t know what is. Maybe don’t put it close to any digital contraption, they might not get along.
- Hand-painted design
- Authentic Detailed Design
- Resin make
- Colours are less vibrant than typical Steampunk
Unique and intricate clock that looks so precious, it almost makes you forget how noisy it is
Remember the click-clack of those retro train station timetables rattling off destinations letter by letter, with that soft spoken lady calling out delays in the background?
This thing is that memory in clock form, but with a modern edge. Exposed gears and essentially no cover make this clock special, but, it must be said, they also make it more than a tad bit noisy.
You can pull a Don Draper and have it in your office, or, if you’ve got nerves of steel, you can have it in your bedroom – but only if you live alone or desperately want to.
Retro Steampunk Clock Look
The bare-bones look of this clock gives it a very playful and mechanical feel and will steal your heart if your childhood was spent wondering how those railway station signs work.
While it isn’t quite steampunk but rather ties into to the – recently tres chic - 50s aesthetic, this gorgeous clock somehow still fits the bill with its exposed innards and retro vibe.
This model makes a perfect gift for anyone you want to both impress and annoy just a tiny little bit. What the plastic drum-set gifted to your bosses kids was back in the day, this clock is now.
- Cheapest option
- Very unique design
- Great build quality
This clock may be a bit of a splurge but will fit any space and style.
This one is also quite sizeable, but has a smaller version, in case you need to fit it somewhere a bit more snug. It is made of MDF (processed wood) instead of metal, so we’ve got to knock a couple of points off for that, and perhaps for the fact that this completely silent beauty is still on the pricey side considering its material.
But it comes with a lifetime warranty, which definitely helps justify it as a worthwhile investment - which is convenient since steampunk will never go out of style.
Perhaps not quite as attention-grabbing and visually striking as a metal clock of its size would be, this model is still a conversation-piece for when you have your friends over. This clock may be an ideal choice both for those looking for an introduction to the steampunk style and for the ones looking to scale down from a full-blown addiction.
- Comes in two sizes
- Lifetime Warranty
- No Sound Whatsoever
- Most Expensive Clock
- Made of Processed Wood
Best Large Steampunk Clock
A gorgeous, large clock that makes a statement and draws the eye but still manages to look subdued.
First off, this clock is big. The second thing you’ll notice is that it certainly does not come cheap. But it comes very stylish, that’s for sure.
For all its shiny, brassy coolness, this is a rather sophisticated and subdued piece, so it’s really a compromise. Or at least this is what you will tell your partner after, not before, you have ordered this thing. Best hang it up when she’s out, and make her face the music. Or the time.
It comes in two colors: proper, no-holds-barred steampunk brass, or reliable, plain old black. Your call. For its size, it weighs almost nothing, clocking in – no pun intended - at one kilogram, or the weight of four garden variety apples.
This doesn’t mean the manufacturers compromised on the quality, however: this decorative timepiece is made of metal, as any proper steampunk object ought to be, whether it is a bionic arm or a wall clock. Plus, its skeletal build allows any wall color or pattern to show through it, making it fit virtually any space.
- Comes in 2 Colors
- The design is subdued and will go with almost anything
- Roman Numerals give retro look
- Very light for its size
- Has a pendulum that is not functional
- A bit big for some settings
The Best Steampunk Clock Is..
These five steampunk-inspired timepieces are bound to make any home a bit more eclectic and your everyday life a bit bolder.
Disclaimer: the steampunk way of life is addictive, and it is possible that the purchase of any one of these clocks will lead you down a path filled with gears, metal and DIY tinkering. Whichever clock you choose – whether you are more of a subdued person or a who-if-not-I kinda guy – there is definitely something here for you.
My personal favorite is no. 4, the Generic Retro Flip Down Clock, but if you’re looking for something quieter in sound but louder in look to really showcase your steampunk side, I’d recommend the timepiece most evocative of the style; the Stormgrave Chronometer.