By on July 15, 2011

I don’t know about you, but I’m finding the “analog clock=luxury” thing a bit played out. One upon a time, the old-school interior clock was everywhere… and folks called it a modern convenience. Then it became a genteel, slightly throwback Maserati hallmark. Then it became a symbol of Infiniti’s admiration for Maseratis, and its desire to stand apart in the luxury market. Then Chryslers started adding clocks as it moved, unconvincingly, to position itself upmarket. Now? Now the interior chronograph just seem to be a symbol of trying to hard to appear luxurious without really offering anything unique, distinctive, or innovative. Which is why I’m a bit concerned that an early shot of the new Lexus GS, a car that has years of underachievement in a crucial segment to make up for, seems to show that Lexus has succumbed to the siren call of the dashboard clock.

To the best of my knowledge, Lexus has never indulged in an analog dash clock before (at least in the US market), as its interiors have always been modern and purposeful, emphasizing function over frippery. This isn’t a question of “ruining” the car itself… few customers are likely to put as much emphasis on an analog clock as I do. But in this small step I do see signs of a brand drifting away from its pioneering roots and towards the directionless malaise that inevitably leads to fad-chasing, and style over substance. Even if Lexus does need to reinvigorate its aesthetic DNA, ripping of the cheesiest “Luxury: I Has It” signifier in the interior design playbook ain’t a promising start. Don’t clock up a good thing, Lexus!

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72 Comments on “What’s Wrong With This Picture: Death To The Dash Clock Edition...”


  • avatar
    philadlj

    Ripping off the Maserati/Infiniti analog clock is the least of this new GS’s problems.

    The spindle-shaped grille, aside from looking hideous and tacked-on essentially the same old GS shape, is already present on some of the hotter Holden HSV models (see pics here: http://www.netcarshow.com/hsv/2011-e3_gts/), the latest attempts to see just how many styling bells and whistles can be affixed to the originally clean and elegant Commodore’s schnoz.

    So…Lexus’s bold new iconic trademark look is just lifted from blown muscle cars down under. And the net effect will still be dull and forgettable, because after the initial novelty of the first-gen, that’s what the GS has always been.

    Lexus is playing the “me-too” game with regard to big honkin’ trapezoidal grilles…so it stands to reason they’d do the same with the interior. It’s a shame recent Lexus interiors (HS, CT) have lost the plot – the current LS remains one of the most comfortable, best-smelling places to spend time.

    • 0 avatar
      Marko

      But the CT is lower-priced and “downmarket” (relatively speaking) from anything Lexus has offered before. I don’t care for its interior, either, but it’s intended as a “deluxe Prius”, a bridge between Toyota and Lexus branded products, more than anything else.

      I agree about the HS though – they really tried too hard, and the slow sales prove it.

      The trapezoidal grille has appeared in Lexus products before:

      http://consumerguideauto.howstuffworks.com/1992-to-2000-lexus-sc-300-400-5.htm

    • 0 avatar

      So what is the difference between the ES and GS?

      Lexus is playing the “me-too” game with regard to big honkin’ trapezoidal grilles…so it stands to reason they’d do the same with the interior.

      Lexus is getting to be weirder than Acura.

    • 0 avatar
      alexndr333

      The main problem it seems to me is that digital readouts are hard to render in any way remotely stylish, while clocks can use materials, shapes and colors in ways both simple and ornate. Don’t most of us have a fancy-schmantzy clock at home as much for the look as for the function? Further, it’s too easy to bury a digital clock among all the other digital information while an analog clock becomes a piece of dashboard jewelry. And finally, how do you market a car having a digital time read-out without sounding like an advertisement for a Chrysler from the 1980′s?

      If you prefer a digital clock over the “frippary” of an analog clock because it focuses on pure function, you might as well complain about any exterior styling element that does not contribute to reducing aerodynamic drag. You could work for Mr. LaHood.

  • avatar
    mike978

    I agree with Ed clocks have been over used in new car interiors. The new VW Passat (US model) has one too (unfortunately).

    • 0 avatar
      APaGttH

      Analog clocks have no place in a 21st century car; also a pet peeve of mine on interior design. There is nothing luxurious about it.

      • 0 avatar
        TEXN3

        Agreed, especially when it looks like a cheap Timex that the Fusion had for a while. I think it’s the biggest detractor on alot of cars, especially when you have a digital clock on the NAV screen or elsewhere on the car. I don’t mind the seperate digital clocks in my older Acura and newer Subaru.

        With that said, I still like to wear an analog watch…much easier than pulling my iPhone out all the time. They’re not fancy, but super-thin and metal (Skagen).

      • 0 avatar
        psarhjinian

        For that matter, a soft dash and doors has no place on a 21st centuty product. Does “luxury” in cars still need to ape horse carriages of two hundred years ago?

        I know people who have stereo equipment that costs significantly more than my car. Is there any leather, vinyl or wood? No. Is there chrome? A little, sometimes. It’s mostly nice, albeit hard, textured plastic and aluminum. It looks nice and it works.*

        I do agree that Lexus used to have a slightly different tack on luxury than it’s competition. While you could get wood and chome and such, you didn’t necessarily have to**. Yes, this got you dashes that looked (but didn’t feel) plebian because they were designed to be ergonomic first and luxurious second. But Lexus’ sales have directly tracked adding more luxury trappings, so you can hardly blame them.

        I also miss how older Lexuses were designed more for a given market than according to a common design language. The IS looked like a sports sedan, the LS like a execu-sled, the RX like a minivan. Now they’re trying the same-sausage-different-size and it really is unfortunate.

        * I really liked the “piece of modern stereo equipment” surface texturing in some Hondas (eg, the CR-V).
        ** and in the Toyota Century, which slots above the LS, you get fabric seats

      • 0 avatar
        rpn453

        I know people who have stereo equipment that costs significantly more than my car. Is there any leather, vinyl or wood? No. Is there chrome? A little, sometimes. It’s mostly nice, albeit hard, textured plastic and aluminum. It looks nice and it works.*

        Sure, but the stereo would sound terrible at higher volumes in a room that’s completely covered in hard surfaces.

      • 0 avatar
        NulloModo

        I’ve seen high end stereo equipment finished in exotic wood and leather. Wood, leather, and analog clocks probably aren’t ‘must haves’ for a luxury car, but they’re nice.

        I like dark stained wood, rich dark brown leather with quilting, chrome accented analog clocks, leather wrapped everything, and other traditional luxury car cues. I like the house in this Audi commercial better before it changes. Everyone has tastes, and there’s no reason that there can’t be cars made to suit everyones’ preferences.

        Regarding this particular car though, the analog clock would probably be a better fit for an executive cruiser like the LS rather than the GS which is supposed to be the big sports sedan.

    • 0 avatar
      Pig_Iron

      I not only do I like a nice analogue clock, I like rotary semaphore traffic signals too – they’re very civilized.

      Oh, and I don’t mind digital clocks, as long as they’re honest to goodness NIXIEs. ;-)

  • avatar
    Da Coyote

    The first Lexus (400) was awesome. As the years passed, it appears that Toyota’s bland styling has metastasized to Lexus, and while I still think their quality far exceeds anything out of Germany – the looks ….suck.

  • avatar
    cwallace

    Well, it beats that junky three-button LED clock that occasionally finds its way out of the Toyota parts bin.

  • avatar
    bucksnort

    My Infiniti dash has one analog clock and can show two digital clocks if I dig the second one out of the electronic screens. The only one I ever use is the analog. It is the fastest and easiest to locate and comprehend.

    As an aside, buried in the depths of the nav screen menus are the car’s longitude, latitude, altitude and the positions of the satellites the GPS system has detected. The latter are displayed on a half-sphere depiction above the earth. Knowing the altitude is potentially interesting but I wonder why the Japanese want to know where the satellites are?

  • avatar
    Educator(of teachers)Dan

    Sometimes the analog interior clock is useful when buying used cars. For example with the most recent Lincoln Town cars it can help you distiquish trim levels when the seller can’t be bothered to take a proper picture of the D-pillar or state the actual trim level in the description. I also do think that the Chrysler 300′s dash clock did look elegant on the dash, one of the positive things in the old models otherwise chintzy interior.

    Oh and I am a rarity among my colleauges (of similar age and younger) in that I own two analog watches. One cheap no-name one with the logo of a favorite sports team and one illuminated one that reports the current date to go with a Southwestern Native American style watch band that many gentlemen wear around here. They all just use their phones.

  • avatar
    Russycle

    I’m pretty sure my dad’s 1960ish VW ragtop had a clock in it. I thought it was pretty neat back then, but there was nothing luxurious about that car.

  • avatar
    HiFlite999

    Sorry, but I like analog clocks, for the same reasons I like analog speedos, tachs, and gas gauges, ie, easy to read at a glance.

    • 0 avatar
      tced2

      I like the fact that analog clocks can be read when the car is turned off. I agree that totally digital readouts of speed or tach take longer to comprehend. You can understand the speed of your car once you learn the layout of your speedometer – for example 60 mph may be located at the 12 o’clock position. You don’t have to read 60 in a digital readout, you just see the postion of the needle.

      • 0 avatar
        APaGttH

        You can understand the speed of your car once you learn the layout of your speedometer – for example 60 mph may be located at the 12 o’clock position. You don’t have to read 60 in a digital readout, you just see the postion of the needle.

        Speedometer at a glance without numbers…

        Gridlocked
        Crawling
        School Zone
        Could you drive any slower
        City cruise
        Highway
        Highway onramp
        I’m movin’
        I’m really movin’!
        I was going how fast officer?
        Look, can’t you just give me a speeding ticket?
        I’M GOING TO JAIL!!!
        Ludicrous speed – GO!

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      I’m not sure if they (analogue readouts) are easier to read.

      I can read the speedo of a late-model Honda Civic from the next car over, and the dash of the penultimate Prelude or C4 Corvette was much easier to read at speed than the successor’s plain gauges.

      • 0 avatar
        geozinger

        @psar: “I’m not sure if they (analogue readouts) are easier to read.”

        I think this is a matter of personal preference. I could read either one, grokking them equally well. You’ll train yourself to use them, particularly if it’s important to you.

    • 0 avatar
      MrGreenMan

      +1.

      Future generations will fail to understand what the expression “quarter ’til” means. It won’t help that they probably won’t see physical quarters, either.

      I’m sure Secretary Ray “Just Do What I Say!” LaHood would appreciate the minimization of driver distraction when analogs are faster to read and you don’t have to adjust illumination of the dash for outside lighting to know if you’re late.

      • 0 avatar
        psarhjinian

        Future generations will fail to understand what the expression “quarter ’til” means. It won’t help that they probably won’t see physical quarters, either.

        Can you use a sextant and some star charts to tell your position and date? How about a sundial and moon phase chart to tell you the time and day?

        Technology moves on. This isn’t always, or even often, a bad thing. Just because an analogue clock, driven by gears and using hands pointing to degrees on a circle, was the most effective way to display time doesn’t mean that’s always the best way.

        The sextant+starchart+phases+sundial crowd thought about clocks the same way. Imagine if we listened to them?

      • 0 avatar
        MrGreenMan

        You must have missed: A nice analog clock is a thing of beauty, worthy of its own aesthetic value. Further, given how long clocks have been around in the format of two or three hands moving by gears — English, French, and many other languages have large numbers of idioms built around them.

        I have encountered a large number of people, all brainless and young, who completely misunderstand that “quarter past” is :15 and not :25, and it’s also a pity when the vibrancy is beaten out of the language. Then again, measured on a central planner’s table for allocation of resources, there is no space for vibrancy of language. These same people don’t know what a Soviet Union or a Gulf War is, either.

        Nobody said I was forcing you to tell time by a dial, but they are really nice, and, well, you know, luxury cars often have things beyond the utilitarian minimum. La bella vita often includes things that are enjoyable that might not be considered the best allocation of resources when tallied on a central planner’s chart for a managed economy.

        Viva la choice when it comes to variety in automobiles — choice is an expression and byproduct of liberty. Thank goodness Lexus wants to try things that people might just like instead of giving us a metal box with an I4 and a manual because it’s good enough to get us there and the most efficient use of resources when measured on that socialist planner accounting sheet. When Toyota gets hit for making bland mobiles, and then they add a feature that a certain segment might say, “Hey, that’s just kind of neat, I can’t get a Town Car anymore, maybe these guys get me,” they deserve credit for thinking outside the beige box.

      • 0 avatar
        psarhjinian

        You must have missed: A nice analog clock is a thing of beauty, worthy of its own aesthetic value

        So is a well-designed digital one. So is the dash a whole. The point of this article is that an analogue clock isn’t a requirement, or a tradition for Lexus, and that in automobilia it’s kind of like tailfins and chrome: frippery.

        Toyota’s take on luxury has generally been a functional one. Adding a clock for the sake of having a clock on the dash is kind of pointless.

        I have encountered a large number of people, all brainless and young, who completely misunderstand that “quarter past” is :15 and not :25, and it’s also a pity when the vibrancy is beaten out of the language.

        What you mean is that you value a quirk of the language and they don’t. I expect that those young people think you’re old, stodgy, resistant to change and unwilling to come to terms with a world that’s passed you.

        Neither of you is really right, but neither of you is wrong, either. You just value different things differently.

        Then again, measured on a central planner’s table for allocation of resources, there is no space for vibrancy of language. These same people don’t know what a Soviet Union or a Gulf War is, either.

        Oh, come on, “central planner’s table allocation of resources” indeed. That’s a crutch of a statement that says what you value is somehow more important than what they do, and that because “socialist” is a dirty word in your circle you’re going to use it as a slur.

        They probably do know what the USSR or Gulf War was, but it’s not relevant to them, just as the Boer War or the Hanseatic League isn’t important to you. What they do know, though, is that they’re being looked down on because they’re young and because the world has changed, just like every generation has since Ugh and Ogg despaired how the kids these days were putting stones on the end of their sticks, instead of sticking to pure wood like the good old days.

        Thank goodness Lexus wants to try things that people might just like instead of giving us a metal box with an I4 and a manual because it’s good enough to get us there and the most efficient use of resources when measured on that socialist planner accounting sheet.

        You have two contradictory points: one, that because it’s new it has to be bad, and two, that frippery for frippery’s sake is a good thing.

        Have you see the Toyota Century? The V-12 luxury sedan they sell in Japan and that starts where the LS leaves off? It embodies what Toyota used to think about luxury. By your arguments—that things shouldn’t change—this is a good thing. And yet it’s austere, which in your mind means “socialist balance sheet”.

        I submit that Lexus isn’t doing “socialist balance sheet”, but “trappings of the nouveau riche”.

        Again, the point here, and that I agree with, is that Lexus is adding baubles (you know, the kind the kids like; what do they call it, again? “Bling”?) for the sake of baubles, which is a shame because this kind of magpie luxury is exactly what got Mercedes in trouble in the first place.

      • 0 avatar

        @MrGreenMan; you could make the same argument about equine terminology. People still say ‘chomping at the bit’, ‘putting on airs’, ‘curb your enthusiasm’, etc, even though 99% of the public can no longer tell a bit strap from a cavesson.

      • 0 avatar
        golden2husky

        …I like the fact that analog clocks can be read when the car is turned off…

        Many GM cars allow the reading of the digital clock even when the key is removed. Simply press the volume knob on the radio and the display turns on with the time readout. Release the knob and he display, uh, times out…

    • 0 avatar
      carve

      I disagree. The advantage of an analog tach or speedo is you can look in your perephrial vision and see roughly what % of the face the needle has swept, and how far it is from redline or whereever it aught to be.

      Analog clocks have two hands, which eliminates this purpose. If they only had one hand I’d agree, but I think they’re about as useful as a tach or speedo with two hands. Could you imagine if you had a tach that had one hand for thousands of rpms, and another for hundreds…or a speedo that had one hand for single miles per hour, and another for 10′s? It’d be hard to read at a glance.

      Analog clocks are antiquated and primarily useful for the older generations who grew up with nothing else. I MUCH prefer digital, even though I prefer analog tachs and speedos.

      • 0 avatar
        psarhjinian

        I disagree. The advantage of an analog tach or speedo is you can look in your perephrial vision and see roughly what % of the face the needle has swept, and how far it is from redline or whereever it aught to be.

        Have a look at the gauge cluster on a C4 Corvette. You can achieve the same, or better, if you’re smart about displaying the information. And then you’ve the Honda Civic, which puts the speed right up in the same plane as the road so “at a glance” isn’t required because you don’t need to glance.

        Never mind that most people don’t drive to redline, or in circumstances where knowing their speed at a glance is required.

        Analog clocks have two hands, which eliminates this purpose. If they only had one hand I’d agree, but I think they’re about as useful as a tach or speedo with two hands

        I think Fiat does exactly that in the 500.

  • avatar
    Feds

    I just wish clocks did more. Give me a stopwatch feature, or day of the week, or phases of the moon. My ’68 VW Fastback had a 12hr clock, and it didn’t even have rear seatbelts.

  • avatar
    marc

    Lexus can’t win on the internets. I can’t tell you how many criticisms I’ve read about the lack of luxury conveyed by Lexus’s use of digital clocks. Now they go analog, and, o well, criticized again. I think they should use a pendulum or sundial in the next LS.

  • avatar
    Zackman

    Dash clocks are still cool in my book. Better than everything having to be digital. I’m sure it’s an age thing, but I like them and wish my Imp had one, but as it is, I rely on the digital one on the radio.

    Back in the day, the dash clocks rarely even worked after a time, as they were powered by a solenoid that pushed an arm – like a set of breaker points, then had a spring mechanism that operated the clock until the points met and the arm swung back to start over – “rinse, repeat” endlessly. Sometimes they worked, mostly they didn’t. After those, I don’t remember, as I never had a clock in a car until digital radios. I had to buy those little round digital clocks that you stuck on wherever it would stay stuck. They cost a buck at K-Mart.

  • avatar
    redmondjp

    Um, is there a clock in that picture somewhere?

    Is it in the center of the steering wheel – the one that says it’s 3:05?

    ;)

  • avatar
    lastwgn

    I agree with the comments about the simplicity of reading an analog clock. I have a showroom condition 1983 RX-7 GS, which was the mid-level trim and came with the obligatory “upgraded” digital clock in the center console. Unreadable at a quick glance, and completely unreadable with sunglasses on. The base model of the RX-7 featured a simple analog clock. Tasteful and far better looking in my opinion than a block of soulless digital numbers. After searching for a year, I finally located one on e-bay. Unbelievable how much easier it is to read, and how much better that spot on the console looks. I only wish I could replace the digital clock on the center dash of my 1991 Colony Park with an appropriate analog clock like those available before the last dash upgrade for that vintage.

  • avatar
    Slow_Joe_Crow

    Forget the analog clock, I miss the 24 hour digital clocks embedded in 1980s VW clusters.

    • 0 avatar
      Wagen

      +1

      I’ve always found a digital clock in the IP (VW, BMW) more useful than one in the radio/nav area – can check whenever I glance down at the speedo/tach. The M-B analog clock in the IP as big as the tach is overkill.

      As far as clocks in the center console area, I see those as more for the passengers than the driver. And since that’s the case, I don’t care if it’s analog or digital as long as it matches the class and character of the car. Which, in an LS would mean it doesn’t look like the same one offered as an option on a mid-’80s Tercel.

  • avatar
    Amendment X

    If done right, it could be a stunning addition to the interior (insert quality wristwatch).

    Done the way all the car companies are doing, the clock is so bad, it makes it difficult to read and degrades the interior.

  • avatar
    WaftableTorque

    I’m a diehard Lexus fan, but I’m finding myself drifting to Hyundai’s latest offerings because they’re more in tune with Lexus’s original brand values and aesthetics. It doesn’t help that the ES, RX, HS, and CT have plasticky interiors and some models are moving to a stupid mouse-based interface instead of their excellent touchscreens.

    Speaking of clocks, it’s just a matter of time before someone comes up with mechanical analog car clocks with grand complications.

  • avatar
    SimonAlberta

    Whilst threads like this can be moderately interesting or entertaining they are, ultimately, just a waste of time and bandwidth.

    Anything to do with styling is totally personal. If you like it, you like it, if you don’t like it, well….

    Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, One man’s meat is another man’s poison, and on and on….

    • 0 avatar

      Yes, it should not have been posted at all.

    • 0 avatar

      Eff me, mate… I sure hope that opinions can be more than just “moderately interesting or entertaining” at best, and a “waste of bandwidth” in any case. I mean, do you really want to live in a world where we all just repeat established facts?

      I don’t run this blog in the hope of convincing the world to conform to my views. I put opinions out there to stimulate discussion. Sharing thoughts, opinions, recollections and disagreements with the fellow man is one of the pleasures that gets me through life, and by sharing opinions we contribute to each others’ personal truth. If you’re not feeling it, fine… but I’d rather see our traffic dwindle to nothingness than to be limited to writing verifiable facts all day.

  • avatar
    tallnikita

    don’t forget the $1200 clock option on 911′s dashboard.

    and again, not a single straight line on the dashboard, all topsy curvy. barf.

  • avatar
    wsn

    – “But in this small step I do see signs of a brand drifting away from its pioneering roots and towards the directionless malaise that inevitably leads to fad-chasing, and style over substance.”

    But style sells. A Lexus LS600h has way more substance than a Roll Royce anything. The latter clearly sells at more than 3 times the price. Other than the style (include suggested life-style), I don’t see any reason.

    • 0 avatar

      Please clarify what way more substance a freakin LS has over a Rolls-Royce. What are you talking about?

      • 0 avatar
        wsn

        The LS600h has the world’s most advanced engine and drive system. Roll Royce can’t even build their own engine, it’s source from BMW. BMW didn’t buy RR for any engineering expertise, it’s just a fashion brand. That’s all.

      • 0 avatar
        rwb

        Clever engineering solutions alone do not substance make.

      • 0 avatar
        kowsnofskia

        Ok, how about general characteristics associated with luxury?

        Isn’t the current LS460 actually quieter at idle (and full throttle) than any contemporary Rolls Royce?

    • 0 avatar
      NulloModo

      A luxury car needs to have an advanced powertrain, top of the line electronics, high grade interior materials, and presence.

      The LS600h certain has an advanced powertrain, and has a healthy dose of electronic gadgetry. Though I’ve never driven a LS600h I imagine that like the LS460 it has quality leather and tight panel fits. As far as presence goes, the LS blends into the scenery, anonymous and inoffensive almost to the point of invisibility.

      A Rolls Royce or Bentley, while maybe not having the most cutting edge of nav systems or the ultimate in electric/ICE hyrbrid drive systems, does still have an extremely powerful engine, and when it comes to interior materials is in a whole other league from anything Lexus does. Leather that’s only taken from cows that have never rubbed against a bit of barbed wire, finished in whatever color the buyer desires, combined with a forest’s worth of hand polished wood trim of any type the buyer wants, and customization that includes the color of stitching, the color of the seatbelts, carpets, etc, is all worlds away from the Lexus, which is essentially still just a very nice mass produced standard factory car. When it comes to presence, a Lexus LS600h is just the nicest Lexus, while a Bentley or Rolls Royce is an exotic.

      • 0 avatar
        wsn

        Don’t get me wrong. I never intended to belittle Rolls for what it is: a (life)style statement.

        What you described such as leather or hardwood are part of the “style” and not engineering expertise. Lexus could order the same leather/hardwood any day and put in their cars if they want to. But Rolls can’t have what Lexus has, even if it wants to.

  • avatar
    Flybrian

    Analog clock vs. 1980s Timex digital with a pee-yellow glow as per Lexus/Toyota norm…

    Hmm…

  • avatar

    Was it the S-class that started the clock between the vents?

    You get a clockometer in anything less. Have to upgrade to $100k+ to get your gauge back.

    The Ghost does it better.

    • 0 avatar
      Marko

      No, it was not Mercedes but the original (1990) Infiniti Q45.

      http://www.burtmanindustries.com/images/prodimages/q45_real_red_90_up.jpg

      Mercedes has traditionally put their analog clocks in the instrument cluster. The current S-class is an exception.

  • avatar
    Halftruth

    At least the old Japanese digital clocks worked and didn’t die after 6 months ownership. I don’t see them as bothersome as the ‘gotta have’ and ever expanding Nav screens, plasti-chrome grilles and worse yet, DVD screens in the headrests..

  • avatar
    photog02

    My 2002tii has a neat (working!!) analog dash clock. I think a well-integrated analog clock can be a good accent to interior design. Some look like a Timex was rammed into hard plastic. It all depends.

    Personally, I am waiting for a hipster to figure out how to integrate a flip-clock into a dash.

  • avatar
    Dynamic88

    ” I don’t know about you, but I’m finding the “analog clock=luxury” thing a bit played out.”

    Perhaps so. But how do you differentiate a digital “time piece” in a luxury car from essentially the same thing in an econo-box? Is differentiation needed?

    I wouldn’t like to notice that the clock in my Lexus (if I had one) looked like the unit in my son’s Scion (not that my son, being a young guy, would actually choose a Scion)

    For us older folks, who had to learn to tell what “quarter ’till” means, we may well prefer analogue displays. Not a lot of young people are buying luxury cars.

    I do agree with posters above who suggest 24 hour capability if digital must be used. I suppose there would have to be an option of 12/24 readout, otherwise half the drivers wouldn’t know what time it was after noon.

  • avatar

    Oops, I was wrong. New E-class has the clock with the vents/console heater holes Hell id on’t even know what to call them. Haven’t even checked the SLK. Heh.

    IIRC the Phantom has a clock with the vents (square, like all of them), all of the Bentleys have a clock hole (none or the gauges looking very good in their settings I think), but the RR Ghost has like a big dedicated thing for it, on the side. The Bentley Breitling clocks also have about the same B logo (haw!).

    http://image.motortrend.com/f/27900416+w1500+ar1+st0/2010-rolls-royce-ghost-interior.jpg

    This clock was supposed to be there from the beginning. Opposite it is the hill hold button.

    To Bentley: We can do clocks better. Just look at that SSSt in the Bentley.

  • avatar
    Steven02

    I don’t know of many high end watches that are digital. Most nice watches are analog. Kind of seems fitting that the clock in a Lexus have a analog option.

    Also, the digital clocks that Lexus was using were quite ugly. This is a good move for the brand.

  • avatar
    Davekaybsc

    Anything is better than the dirt cheap, green digital clocks Lexus was using, with the plastic hr/min/:00 buttons. Those were the second oldest things still in a Lexus cabin after the cassette decks they refused to give up on until last year. While the clock is improved, $5 says the rest of the car is gonna stink, and flop in the market. AGAIN.

  • avatar
    ntesla

    I think Rolls should make a statement and install a Weather Station with Barometer, Hygrometer, Wind Speed and Altimeter with Weather Forecast function. Balance this off with a gear driven Cuckoo Clock or a naval chronometer and you would really a dash that says “I don’t need to care about what time it is, because the meeting/event doesn’t start until I arrive.” But then I think they should have marble interior trim instead of wood.

  • avatar
    brandloyalty

    There are SO many things that pander to the luxury/status market. SO many aspects of cars, if not the use of cars for many things to begin with. Analog clocks? To focus on such minutae is useful if it opens our eyes to the prevalence of this sort of thing in our insecure culture, rather than blind us to that prevalence. So many utterly silly, wasteful and stupid things that we’re happy to sell our our country’s future for them.

  • avatar
    Corky Boyd

    When I bought a Cadillac SRX several years ago I freaked out at the sight of the analog clock sitting in the middle of the dash. It was symbolic of the two things that drove me away from GM cars for years. First it was a throwback to Harley Earl and his atrocious styling, but most of all it was the memory of the crappiest item in GM cars. These clocks were electrically wound wind-up clocks. They always failed between 6 months and a year. And no one ever fixed or replaced them. They just served as a continuing reminder of the shoddiness of GM products when you were ready to buy a new car.

    I can only think none of the current interior stylists are aware of the negatives of these clocks, especially for Cadillac purchasers many of whom do. Good riddence to a horrible memory.

  • avatar
    ciddyguy

    Clocks have been available for most models since at least the 30′s, even if it’s an option that you had to specify when ordering and for much of the car’s history, it was mechanical and analog and early clocks were MUCH larger than those now found in cars since I think the early 70′s when they simply were a black with white numerals that became integrated into the instrument cluster, usually at the far right of the speedo cluster or something like that until the advent of the digital clocks that began to show in some cars in the 70′s, and I mean either flip page digital clocks or the drum style digital units like those found in either the Mercury Monarch or the Ford Granada of the mid 70′s and was mounted in a panel that was above the glove box if I remember right. Friends we know had either one and that was the clock in it.

    When I inherited the ’88 Honda Accord from my Dad, it had the stock digital clock that mounted between the 2 center dash vents like most cars do and that’s roughly where the clocks found in older cars were often place so as to be seen be anyone, no matter where they sat in the car. It was something many people liked but didn’t always ordered as it was often an extra cost option in most cars but the very top line luxury cars until more recent years where many cars had them as part of the stock audio units, such as the 80′s era GM cars with their digital readouts on them that also doubled as the clock display when not showing the radio display.

    As for analog clocks of today,I have no problem with them on a dash as long as they integrate well with the overall design from a visual standpoint since I know they’ve been around forever and can add a touch of class to a luxury car.

  • avatar
    SherbornSean

    Aren’t all the people criticizing Lexus analog clocks the same ones hating on the S2000 for its digital dash? Why should a speedo be analog, but a clock must be digital?

    From my perspective, an interior is either done well, or it isn’t, regardless of analog or digital. I think the main focus should be on legible driving instruments and electronics that mesh well with PDAs. Beyond that, it’s all a matter of taste.

  • avatar
    shaker

    This thread brings a peeve of mine to mind – if a watch/clock comes with a “second hand”, isn’t it actually the third hand?

    My wristwatch is a an analog Timex with the big white face and the black hands, and though it has a cool green backlight, I never have to use it unless in total darkness. I’ve had many digital watches over the years, but as my eyesight worsened, I find the analog watch much easier to comprehend at a glance.


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