What Time is It?


“I need to make my meeting at 3. What time is it right now? Okay it’s 2, so I still have an hour to prepare. How much longer until this meeting is over? 50 minutes? Okay, I’m not going to look at the time, maybe it’ll go faster that way.”

“It’s been long enough since I’ve looked, this meeting should be close to finishing. 51 minutes left?!? What in the…”


Time. A concept that has baffled and intrigued humans for centuries. Today, most of Western society runs because of our ability to know time. Making appointments,  attending classes, scheduling meetings, conducting business across states and nations, knowing when to eat, and figuring out when to meet with a friend are all a mere sampling of the different activities that depend upon our ability to measure time.

The “What Time is It?” Gesture

Evolving past methods such as tracking the sun, we eventually came up with a wearable wristwatch. The “What Time is It?” gesture meant holding up one’s arm and looking at that circle on your wrist. Of course, watches are far from extinct, so this is still a common gesture. Without a watch, we can mimic the action of looking at a watch to suggest that we’re in a rush, the person we’re talking to needs to hurry up, or we’re uncomfortable and want to leave.

After the advent of mobile phones, this gesture became reaching into one’s pockets and holding a phone in the palm of one’s hand. For many people, phones have replaced the watch as a main timekeeping object. But where will future technologies lead this gesture? We have smart watches like Pebble and a rumored iWatch to look out for, so maybe we’ll be looking at our wrists again and the “What Time is It?” will come full circle. Will the time always be displayed in the corner of futuristic glasses? How do you think we’ll be keeping track of time?