[[quoteright:250:[[ComicBook/{{Tintin}} http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/clock_turning_4.png]]]]

->''"Powerful images for the passage of time:''\\
''A clock's hands, sweeping past 12!"''
-->-- '''T-Rex''', ''Webcomic/DinosaurComics'', [[http://www.qwantz.com/index.php?comic=418 "I do my best"]]

A relative of the ExplodingCalendar, the passage of time is shown by speeding up the hands of a clock while showing the montage of a character performing a task.

Can also be seen as a gag where after the hands of the clock start spinning, one character says "Stupid clock's broken again!" and fixes it.

Since showing the hands actually spinning has become a bit of a DeadHorseTrope outside comedy, a more common variation is to focus in on the clock and gradually fade or cut from it reading one time to it reading another. In video games they often accompany the FastForwardMechanic. Might soon become a ForgottenTrope, or at least [[EvolvingTrope evolve]] into a similar thing involving a digital clock due to their prevalence. (Younger children, having grown up with only digital clocks, may not even know how to tell time on an analog clock, or might have never even seen one.)

Compare SpinningNewspaper.



[[folder:Comic Books]]
* In ''ComicBook/TheSmurfs'' story "The Smurflings" (and its AnimatedAdaptation), the hands on Father Time's magical grandfather clock spin rapidly backwards as three adult Smurfs de-age into Smurflings.

[[folder:Films -- Animation]]
* Music/TheBeatles' ''WesternAnimation/YellowSubmarine'' movie uses a variant of this by showing rapidly clockwise-spinning hands when time actually ''is'' going forward rapidly, and then rapidly counterclockwise-spinning hands when time is going ''backward'' rapidly.

[[folder:Films -- Live-Action]]
* At the end of ''Film/{{Beetlejuice}}'', during the "Jump in the Line" musical number a cuckoo clock's hands are seen spinning quickly forward (clockwise).
* In ''Film/TheTimeMachine2002'', the first sign Professor Hartdegen is travelling into the past is when the hands on his collection of pocket watches slow down, then reverse, speeding up as he travels further back.
* Used briefly in ''Film/{{Mindhunters}}'', to show time's passage when everyone [[spoiler: is knocked out by the drugged coffee]]. As the camera is watching the clock, we don't get to see the killer's activities during this interlude.
* At the end of ''Film/JohnDiesAtTheEnd'', David and John find themselves in an alternate world suffering from the [[spoiler:Korrok]]'s invasion. A couple of futuristic soldiers show up and ask them to help. David takes a look at his watch and notes the hands madly spinning in reverse. The first clue that time flows differently there is shown when David follows John into the portal a second later only for John to tell him that several hours have passed.
* In ''Film/{{Fury 1936}}'', during the court room scenes, we see a shot of a clock with the clock hands spinning, indicating hours of hearing taking place.
* In ''Film/TheRing'' during a video of Samara Morgan while she was in psychiatric care. It starts with a time-lapse recording of Samara in her bedroom with the clock spinning quickly in the background; while she moves around the room over time, ''[[ArcWords she never sleeps]]''.
* A different take on this trope (involving speed/distance/fuel consumption) is shown in the early space exploration movies such as '' Film/FrauImMond'' and ''Film/DestinationMoon'', with close-ups of spinning fuel gauges and accelerometers (along with {{narm}}ish [[LudicrousSpeed contorted facial expressions]]) as the RetroRocket hurls into orbit.
* Used for the TimeCompressionMontage in ''Film/JumpinJackFlash'', when Terri is playing the tape of Music/MickJagger's song so she can get the lyrics ([[{{mondegreen}} with some difficulty]]). The clock hands are moving at normal speed, just cutting to a later time, and are combined with the spinning tape and tape counter.

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* Used in ''Series/KamenRiderDecade'''s [[Series/KamenRiderDenO Den-O]] arc when time becoming disjointed during Decade and Den-O's fight is represented by a clock (sitting inexplicably in the middle of the BBCQuarry in which they're fighting) doing this.
* ''Series/EvenStevens'' plays with the gag version where a cuckoo clock's hands start spinning rapidly.
* Occurs in ''Series/TheBasilBrushShow'' while Basil, Dave and Stephen are spending time worrying about the safety of a millionaire whom they hope to get some cash off. Near the end of the montage, Basil looks at the SpinningClockHands and comments "We really should fix that clock".
* Done similarly in an episode of ''Series/HomeImprovement''.
* An episode of ''Series/AdventuresInWonderland'' also uses the gag version.
* In a ''Series/MrBean'' episode, first a bunch of mechanisms to wake up Mr. Bean are seen. He effectively ignores them. Then the clock is shown spinning to show that Mr. Bean ended up waking up late.
* Subverted in ''Series/TheYoungOnes'' episode 'Interesting'. Vyvyan comments that the clock is broken and no time has passed.
* Played straight in several episodes of ''Series/ElleryQueen''.
* Not used to show passage of time, but the intro to the Muppet Labs segments on ''Series/TheMuppetShow'' from season 3 onward has a clock above the set's window whose hands spin around.
* Early episodes of ''Series/GoodEats'' used the variant where they focused on the clock in Alton's kitchen, then looked back at it again to see that the 10 minutes (or whatever time was needed for this step in the recipe) had passed. Later ones occasionally use the same trope, but with a timer.
* ''Series/{{Supernatural}}''. A flip clock does this during Bobby's HardWorkMontage in "Weekend At Bobby's", when he's up all night doing research on the MonsterOfTheWeek.
* ''Series/DoctorWho''. At the end of "The Eleventh Hour", the new TARDIS control console has been outfitted with a hodgepodge of anachronistic hardware, including a flip clock that starts flipping wildly as the TARDIS starts to travel in time.

[[folder:Video Games]]
* In ''VideoGame/RomancingSaGa3'' when the spell Quick Time is cast, a clock face appears and clock hands spin rapidly until the hands reach 12 and the clock face disappears along with the hands. Quick Time allows the character to always get the first hit in regardless of the enemies speed.
* In ''VideoGame/SagaFrontier'' the spell Chaos Stream has the enemies spun around on clock hands, while the spell Overdrive has your characters standing on a clock face while fighting.
* In the Flash game ''MARDEK RPG'', the effect for the {{Status Buff}} Haste is an orange clock face whose hands start out still but then spin up into a blur.
* In ''VideoGame/CastlevaniaCurseOfDarkness'', Saint Germain is able to speed up time, though only for the purposes of status effects. When he does this, a silhouette of spinning clock hands appears. He generally only does this after poisoning Hector, who normally takes poison damage every few seconds. The spinning clock hands will cause him to take poison damage twice a second, rendering him stunlocked until the poison wears off or he uses an antidote.
* ''VideoGame/NappleTale'' has a recurring image of a large floral clock of the sort found in public parks. It's even incorporated into the AmazingTechnicolorBattlefield for the final boss battle. Naturally, the hands spin wildly.
* Once the player solves the Celestial puzzle in ''VideoGame/{{Obsidian}}'', four clocks start spinning incredibly fast. Justified since you're in a simulated dream world.
* ''VideoGame/{{Machinarium}}'' has a clock that never stops spinning, but there's a glow-in-the-dark marking on its face for a certain time that the clock doesn't seem to land on. [[spoiler: This is actually a clue for another puzzle.]]
* ''VideoGame/MystV'' has a strange D'ni clock that normally goes so slow you hardly see its single hand move, but when you [[spoiler: command the Bahro]] to speed up time, it starts rapidly moving along until the effect wears off.
* In ''VideoGame/SilenceOfTheSleep'', these appear on the walls in certain areas. It's there to show that the world you are in isn't real.

[[folder:Web Original]]
* This was used to let the [[Roleplay/GlobalGuardiansPBEMUniverse Global Guardians]] that the villainous Chronos had sent them on a (supposedly) one-way trip into the future against their wills.

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* Parodied in a ''WesternAnimation/KimPossible'' episode, where Kim is in detention. The clock hands start to indicate passing time and begin accelerating rapidly, whereupon Barkin [[PercussiveMaintenance hits the clock face]], muttering, "Stupid clock's busted again..." and resets it, indicating a grand total of... five minutes have passed.
* ''WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons'' episode "Two Dozen And One Greyhounds" has a spinning clock hand when the last puppies are born.
* ''WesternAnimation/CodenameKidsNextDoor'' episode "Op. A.W.A.R.D.S.". It turns out to be just Numbuh Four playing with his watch.
* In the last episode of ''WesternAnimation/FostersHomeForImaginaryFriends'', Bloo is waiting for a friend to finish painting Mac and Coco. After a clock face spins by quickly, the friend mentions that just spinning the clock hands won't make him paint any faster.
* Used in ''WesternAnimation/TheRealGhostbusters'', particularly "Play Them Ragtime Boos", where the ghost of a Jazz musician named Malachi actually got the clock hands to spin ''backwards'' using his music. The Ghostbusters play RockAndRoll to make them spin forward again.
* ''WesternAnimation/WhoKilledWho'': Parodied -- when the victim receives a message that he is going to die at midnight, he looks terrified at the cuckoo clock; there's still a few hours left, but then the hands suddenly spin all the way to midnight, much to the victim's terror, and done to the tune of Music/FryderykChopin's Piano Sonata No. 2. (Funeral March).
* ''In an episode of Family Guy, a hospital clock speeds up and Dr. Hartman asks a nurse to have someone fix the clock.
!! Played straight

* The background for ''Theatre/{{Ebenezer}}'' is a projection of a clock tower. As Jacob Marley dies, the clock hands spin wildly, lit in red.

[[folder:Video Games]]
* This is a common sight in ''VideoGame/GhostTrick'' when you TimeTravel to the past or the future: a red clock will go [[InvertedTrope 12 to 8]] or 12 to 4, respectively, after which it will fade to white. The scene is notably lengthened in your final TimeTravel to the past when the hour hand reaches 6 instead of 8 before the fade to white, which by the way takes a longer time to arrive. This is justified because you're going much further back in time than usual, specifically [[spoiler:10 years prior to tonight's events]].