Clocks Make a Comeback

I did something out of the ordinary this weekend: I meditated.

Specifically, I began a course in TM—Transcendental Meditation—a widely practiced daily meditation technique that centers on the repetition of a Sanskrit mantra over the course of two 20-minute sessions, one in the morning and another in the afternoon or evening. Founded by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi in the 1950s, the practice requires that you sit comfortably with your eyes closed and train your mind to effortlessly return to the mantra whenever thoughts enter.

So far, my sessions have gone better than expected. In our first attempt without an instructor, my sister and I were thrilled to discover that we’d unwittingly spent 35 minutes meditating. For someone who has a hard time sitting still for two minutes, much less 35, this felt like quite a feat.

For obvious reasons, our instructor advised us against using our phones to check how much time has passed in a session: One look at any incoming texts, calls, or messages and the notion of rest goes out the window. So now I’m obsessed with finding a nice clock for my room, something that I can see from a distance without straining my eyes—a model with some style, perhaps even a smidgen of horological significance.

As I recently discovered while researching a New York Times story on the resurgence of finely made clocks, there are way more options out there than I anticipated, particularly in the luxury sphere, thanks to celebrated watchmakers like Cartier, Jaeger-LeCoultre, and Patek Philippe, who are renewing their commitment to clocks.

Timepieces that seemed quaint and out of step just a few years ago now feel like treasured objects that deserve a place of honor in a fine jewelry and watch store. But how many retailers would agree with me?

In New York City, the estate dealer Lee Siegelson has an extraordinary collection of vintage clocks from the Deco era, chief among them pieces by Cartier and Lacloche that testify to the enduring appeal of clocks as decorative objects.

Estate dealer Lee Siegelson’s trove of Deco-era clocks includes this lapis and diamond beauty from Lacloche.

For connoisseurs of timekeeping, however, there are plenty of clocks with serious mechanical chops. For those headed to Geneva in a couple weeks for the start of the 23rd annual Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie (SIHH), as well as the satellite events that take place around town, keep your eyes peeled for a clock designed by Miki Eleta, a self-taught clockmaker from the former Yugoslavia, that will be on display at the M.A.D. Gallery on rue Verdaine.

And get set for a year in which more watchmakers pursue the clock business. To wit: A couple months ago, Jaeger-LeCoultre CEO Jérôme Lambert hinted that the brand has a spectacular table clock coming out this spring. “There’s going to be a fight for them,” he said.