In Search of a Thai Clock

Thai Clocks

This article was originally posted on WomenLearnThai.com.

Thai Clocks are difficult to find!…

This week I got it into my head that I just had to have a Thai clock. I didn’t want anything fancy, but I did want a clock I could use for years, preferably in wood, but I’d take a metal of some sort.

I started looking in an area of Chiang mai with a small clock community. There were only about six stores but they were chock-full of clocks and watches of all sorts.

Only two stores in that community had wall clocks. Both plastic. One store had wristwatches with Thai numerals (and only one of those were made for women).

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Tesco Lotus. Nadda. Asia Books. Nadda. And just one store in Central Mall (airport) had a beautiful King’s 60th anniversary watch. For men.

I’d march into watch shops and we’d all have a good laugh. No Thai clocks in Thailand? Are you kidding me? What happened to loving all things Thai and all of that?

Googling, I was able to find wooden clocks on amazon.com (not .co.uk) and on ebay. Doing a search for the name of the company (Laan-Gao) I was able to track down a few decent clocks. But is that all there is?

Thailand is loaded with creative people – surely there’s more available – yes? Does anyone know where the quality Thai clocks can be sourced? I’d love to have one. And I’m not alone.

Thai Clocks

20 comments
  1. My gf bought a Thai 12 hour clock for me at Central Rama III in Bangkok (I’ve since seen at least one at D.I.Y but probably not the best quality). I don’t recall the brand of mine (it’s at home and I am in BKKnow) but good quality/accuracy. But that was before I learned the Thai 4×6 hour time system. I’m probably dreaming due to the relative rarity of a 12 hour Thai clock, but I’m not looking and would definitely buy one that is only 6 hours with Thai numbers
    .

  2. That’s what I was thinking too. For that price I want all 12.

    Btw: apparently my new theme isn’t allowing urls unless I put them in plain with no html (they disappear). I’ll have to work on that…

  3. Hi Tony, if it’s a URL your comment won’t come through until it’s approved. When I got the alert there wasn’t anything there. I don’t think my comment code has gotten clever enough to strip out urls (I hope not anyway!)

  4. I see the link to the clock did not survive my last post. Let’s see if I can make this known without offending the URL gods.

    Go to lazada (dot) co (dot) th and do a search for SE262FAAVSZ9ANTH-1466503

    That should get you there.

  5. I have occasionally seen clocks around. In fact, I had one at one time. I found this one in the Lazada collection and they may have others if you want to browse the 900+ in their on-line clocks catalog.

    I have been looking for a man’s watch with Thai numerals for some time. They are extremely hard to find.

    There is also an iOS app called Thai Times that is a lot of fun. It gives you a large digital display of the time in Thai numerals along with a lot of other information for learning how to say time in Thai.

    Good luck.

    Tony

  6. Hi! So have you found a Thai wall clock? I’ve been looking for months but no luck so far

  7. Liam, you make a good point. In Thailand, twenty four hour clocks were mostly military/formal but I can’t find out when it was introduced. Villagers (most of Thailand) would have their blocks of time announced by gongs of some sort, hence the name changes.

    Wikipedia: Six hour clock

    … mong chao (Thai: …โมงเช้า, [mōːŋ tɕʰáːw]) for the first half of daytime (07:00 to 12:59)
    Bai … mong (บ่าย…โมง, [bàːj mōːŋ]) for the latter half of daytime (13:00 to 18:59)
    … thum (…ทุ่ม, [tʰûm]) for the first half of nighttime (19:00 to 00:59)
    Ti … (ตี…, [tīː]) for the latter half of nighttime (01:00 to 06:59)

    The gong was used to announce the hours in daytime, and the drum at night. Hence the terms mong, an onomatopoeia of the sound of the gong, and thum, that of the sound of the drum. Ti is a verb meaning to hit or strike, and is presumed to have originated from the act of striking the timekeeping device itself. Chao and bai translate as morning and afternoon respectively, and help to differentiate the two daytime quarters.

  8. I wonder if the scarcity has something to do with the Thai system of telling time, how they use 4 6-hour blocks of time instead of 2 12-hour blocks. Just thinking out loud, but I wonder if a 12 hour clock with Thai numerals isn’t a new invention or something.

  9. Bernard, I’m with you there. I also like antiques. And these plastic clocks will never become antique (just junk).

    I’ve never been to the street market here on the weekends – I’ll check it out, thanks!

  10. Hi Cathreine, do you know that, behind the Prince college, there is very weekend days a large, large street market (not like the one for tourists at Taphae Gate) but more like street markets in Paris or I guess in London. Thai people sell everythings, but I found old thais things and small pieces of furniture for very few bahts. I like to go there. Need a hat (or an umbrella).

  11. I think I will buy a pendular one at LAAN-GAO. But will try first to find an old one. I like old things, they have soul that new ones don’t have…

  12. Thanks Mac, I’ll check.

    Stuart, could you please let me know after you roam around JJ’s? There’s a similar place in CM but we didn’t go in because some of the stalls were still closed (I got this wild hair too early in the morning).

    I know there’s antique places in Chiang mai so I’ll look into those later on this week. It’s just that it takes a long time to track things like this down. Most everyone who knew of “someplace” sent us to mostly nadda or the wrong thing.

  13. Hmm… now that you’ve started talking about it, I want one too! I wonder if there are some at Jatujak Market.

  14. ร้านอาหาร ห้องแถว ถ.นิมมานเหมินทร์ has quite a collection of old wooden clocks. Not sure about Thai clocks but somebody there is into antique timepieces.

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