The clock is of course better known as Big Ben, which is actually the name of the bell inside, which was installed in the tower in 1859. The tower itself is called Elizabeth Tower.
Equally worthy of our admiration, and with remarkable stonework, is the Rajabhai clock tower, in a university compound in Mumbai, India.
One of the most famous clocks in Europe is the astronomical clock found on the Old City Hall in Prague. The movements of its allegorical mechnical figures always draw a crowd to the Old Town Square. It was installed in 1410 and death, portrayed as a skeleton, strikes the time.
This clock tower, the Zytglogge in Berne, Switzerland, is less lofty but also photogenic. It is found in the old part of the city which is a UNESCO heritage site, and was built between 1218-20.
Clock towers in farther flung destinations bear subtle influences of local architectural styles, such as this one in Bukittinggi, Indonesia, which has a distinct south-Asian flavour.
Or this Islamic-style clock tower in Kuala Lumpur, which is attached to the Sultan Abdul Samad mosque.
This caravanasi in Acre, Israel is known as the Khan Al-Umdan. It was built in 1784, with the clock tower overlooking granite pillars that surround a courtyard.
In Beirut, Lebanon, the elegant Hamidiyyeh Clock Tower, originally built in 1897, was reconstructed following the civil war.
The Mekkah Royal Hotel clock tower is the tallest in the world (601m) and also known as the Abraj Al-Bait Towers. It dominates a government-owned complex of buildings in Mecca, Saudi Arabia. The clock face is also the world’s largest, at 43m in diameter.
It may be (much) shorter but this clock tower in Metz, France, has its fair share of admirers.
Another grand, European clock tower is found at the city hall in Munich, Germany. It’s gothic style is reminiscent of Big Ben, but it was built much later, in 1908.
In Moscow, certainly the reddest clock on the list, the Spasskaya Tower flanks the eastern wall of the Kremlin and is the complex’s main tower, built in 1491 by an Italian architect. The clock appeared later.
This is the Old Kowloon station clock tower, one of Hong Kong‘s most recognisable landmarks. It’s 44m tall and was completed in 1915. Time only stopped ticking during the Japanese occupation of Hong Kong in the Second World War. The tower is a lone survivor, as the rest of the station was demolished in 1977.
More recently-built clock towers can be found in more modern styles, such as this, in the Potsdamer Platz, Berlin. A policeman used to stand on the top and direct the traffic. Germany’s first traffic lights were installed in 1924.
Also notable is this, the Deira Clock tower, insalubriously sited at a busy roundabout in Dubai. The arms of this Sixties’ concrete structure gracefully arc towards a boxy clock that balances on their tips in the centre.
In America, the Philadelphia City Hall clock tower is not to be sniffed at, completed in 1901.
San Francisco‘s, at the Ferry Building Marketplace, strikes a pose in front of the Golden Gate Bridge. It survived two major earthquakes in 1906 and 1989.