Some Muslims view the Royal Mecca as an important step toward resetting the world's clocks away from the Western-centric Coordinated Universal Time (which since 1972 has been the same as Greenwich Mean Time, first set in 1884 out of the Royal Observatory in Greenwich, London, England). The new clock will be set for local "Mecca" time, which is about three hours ahead of UTC.
While the predictable debate over the wisdom of such a switch rages on, Surge Desk sought to see just how the clock measures up to other big timepieces of historic importance.
Royal Mecca -- World's Largest Clock Tower
- Location: Mecca, Saudi Arabia
- Time Zone: +0300 UTC
- Clock Face Diameter: Between 130 and 151 feet (conflicting reports)
- Height: Approximately 2,000 feet
- Clockmakers: Dar al-Handasah, Premiere Composite Technologies, Saudi Binladen Group (yes, that Bin Laden, although Osama's relatives, wealthy Saudi Arabian businesspeople, long ago disavowed him)
- Completion Date: Autumn 2011 (tentative)
- Other notable features: 75-foot-wide golden crescent moon hoisted on a spire 200 feet above the clock that shoots 15 beams of light 16 miles away.
Big Ben -- World's Most Famous Clock Tower
- Location: London, England
- Time Zone: +0000 UTC
- Clock Face Diameter: 23 feet
- Height: 315.9 feet
- Clockmakers: Ralph Hengham (financier) and Augustus Pugin (clockmaker), who was recently declared to to be "The World's First Goth." The clock was reportedly his last design before going insane and dying.
- Completion Date: 1859
- Other notable features: A 14-ton bell named for Sir Benjamin Hall, which only rings on New Year's.
Samrat Yantra -- World's Largest Sundial
- Location: Jaipur, India
- Time Zone: UTC +0530
- Clock Face Diameter: 150 feet
- Height: 88 feet
- Clockmakers: Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II (commisioner)
- Completion Date: 1733
- Other notable features: Just one portion of larger complex known as the Jantar Mantram, which contains some 14 different highly accurate, thoroughly ancient astrological instruments constructed from marble and stone. The Samrat Yantra is supposedly so accurate it can tell time to within two seconds.
Su Song's Astronomical Water Clock Tower -- World's Oldest, Most Innovative Clocktower
- Location: Kaifeng, China
- Time Zone: UTC +0800
- Clock Face Diameter: 4.5 feet
- Height: 35 feet
- Clockmakers: Emperor Chen Tsung (commisioner) and engineer Su Song -- the original Renaissance Man out of China, he was well versed in not only mathematics, astronomy and metallurgy, but also drugs, zoology, poetry and politics.
- Completion Date: 1088
- Other notable features: The first known water-driven, chain-linked machine of its kind. Employed 133 different clock jacks to indicate and sound the hours. Tragically dismantled by foreign invaders 39 years after its construction.