A special moment

This February 20 contains a unique moment in timekeeping which will never happen again, says Julius T. Fraser, American philosopher and well-known researcher in the study of time, in an article in “Watchbizz,” an online European newsletter for the watch industry.

For a single moment shortly after 8 p.m., on Wednesday, the time signature (hour, day, month, year) has “a perfect symmetry,” Fraser says. Using both the 24-hour clock (widely used in Europe and for military time) and the European style of writing dates, the special moment is written: 20:02, 20.02, 2002 (8:02 p.m., the 20th of February, 2002).

The last time there was such symmetry, notes Professor Fraser, was in the year 1001 (10:01, 10.01, 1001 or 10:01 a.m., Oct. 1, 1001). But there will never be another such moment. The next obvious date for such a symmetry would be 30.03, 3003 (Oct. 30, 3003)-but, barring major changes in the Earth’s rotation, there is no “30th hour.”

“Only we, here and now, can enjoy this `symmetry of time,’ ” says the “Watchbizz” newsletter.

“Every moment of life rushes by irrevocably,” the philosopher tells the newsletter. “Take at least this historic date to heart and consider it.” And when those decisive 60 seconds are past and it is 20:03 (8:03 p.m.), asked “Watchbizz” of Fraser. “Then, you have understood something of the nature of time,” he says. “There is always only the moment. When you pause to consider it-it is already past.”