The time of an event doesn't happen at the time it was said. Usually the clock or watch is off. The event either happen early or later, but the characters don't notice until quite after the event. Contrast Right on the Tick
- In an Archie comic, Big Eater Jughead is in class, and informs the teacher, Miss Grundy, that "his stomach" says its lunchtime. She reminds Jug that the clock on the wall reads 10 before noon. At that moment, the school janitor Mr. Svenson enters the classroom with a ladder. The purpose? To adjust the clock, which he said was running ten minutes slow.
- In The King's Speech, when Bertie comes to tell David that he is late for dinner, David reminds him that their father ordered all the clocks set fast and winds the hands back on a mantle clock by half an hour. According to royal biographers, this is Truth in Television.
- In the film Gremlins, one of the rules was to never NEVER feed them after midnight. One night the gremlins in the box were making noises like they were hungry. The alarm clock says it's about 11:30, so the boy feeds them some leftover chicken. The next day, the boy notices the clock reading the exact same time. Seems the extension cord had been ripped from the plug, the gremlins actually chewed through the electrical cord, so it was after midnight after all.
- Back to the Future
- Marty is at Doc Brown's house, and thinks he will be on time for school, only to discover all his clocks are a half hour slow.
- Doc Brown proves to Marty that the time machine works by syncronizing watches with a digital clock he attaches to his dog, then sending the dog one minute into the future. When the dog shows up again, his clock is a minute slower than Doc's.
- In Like Flint: Cramden discovers the plot to replace the President with an Evil Twin when he times the President's golf swing and his watch says it took 3 minutes.
- In Primer, Abe suspects that the Box is a time machine, and he confirms this by placing a digital watch inside it for a minute. Upon removing the watch, it's about 21 hours fast.
- In the film Mindhunters, the heroine re-sets the clock so the villain will misjudge when he's due to strike again.
- Around the World in 80 Days: At first it looks like Phileas Fogg came a day late and lost the bet, but then he notices the date in the newspaper and realizes that, since they crossed the International Date Line, they had gained a day and still on time.
- The book 1984 plays with this idea. The main character looks at the clock which reads 8:00. He thinks it's still 8 pm, but instead it was actually 8 am.
- Happens in some Agatha Christie stories, notably "Evil Under the Sun", where a watch worn by a witness is deliberately altered to give the murderer an alibi and allow him to stage a fake murder so that the victim appears to have been killed before she really is.
- In Murder on the Orient Express, the broken watch also appears - and Poirot points out that the killer wants to think him that it happened at that time.
- There's also an example revolving around the clocks going back in one of the Black Widowers mysteries, where a character is woken up by a phone call at a time that is actually an hour later than he thinks it is and thus unwittingly provides a false alibi.
- Ace Attorney. In the first case of Phoenix Wright Ace Attorney. The witness thought the time of the murder was at 1:00 when it was actually 4:00.