In Real Life
, if you take two clocks at random the chances that they show the exact same time are fairly low unless someone's taking care of keeping them in sync.
In fiction, however, every clock and/or watch shows the exact same time of day. Always. All miserable cheapo wrist watches and all cell phones and street clocks run in harmonious synchrony with the precision of an atomic clock. Sometimes used for dramatic effect by highlighting the improbable, often significant timing of an event, or the fact that two remote, seemingly unrelated events happened at the same time. Normally fueled by Conservation of Detail
. Nothing to do with Mirror Routines
or Fearful Symmetry
Anime & Manga
- One arc of Detective Conan took place in a house with hundreds of clocks, all of which showed the exact same time - because the owner of the house kept a team of clock repairmen on call 24/7 to ensure that this was the case. One of her previous employees died because she made the man climb the outside of the clock tower to fix the clock there in the rain, causing him to fall. This is why she gets murdered.
- One episode of Detective Academy Q had a deliberate aversion. A television broadcast of people evacuating an enormous department store due to a bomb threat showed the time being fifteen minutes later than the clock on the wall in the room where people were watching the broadcast. The broadcast was actually coming from a set - since the detectives didn't have enough time to thoroughly search the department store before the bomb went off, they chose instead to trick the already captured bomber into saying where he hid it after he believed it had gone off.
- In the opening scene of the first Back to the Future film, Doc's house is full of hundreds of different alarm clocks that he has painstakingly synchronized to all go off exactly 20 minutes late. Every single one of them.
- High Noon. There's a clock prominently displayed in every house in town, and they're all showing the exact time, just so there's no doubt as to how soon the big showdown will take place.
- Justified in this instance, since there's a big clock in the center of town, all the townsfolk can be plausibly believed to be keeping their clocks in sync with it. (Truth in Television for most of the world until commercial wireless sets became common.)
- Subverted in Animal House. As the Alphas prepare their showdown, each looks at his watch, which are synchronized — except for Bluto's, which shows some completely random time.
- Justified in Die Hard 2, where we see the bad guys carefully synchronize their watches before splitting up to put their Evil Plan into action.
- CSI: New York. The 333 killer will time certain events to happen exactly at 3:33, and he can rest assured that's precisely the time Mac's clock will be showing.
- On an episode of NCIS, the Cyber Vid Character gives the time of his victims' deaths and then broadcasts the murder over the internet. One example is particularly egregious. He lists the time of death as five minutes to midnight. Two clocks were shown when the victim died, and they both showed the precise time, despite the fact that the poison that killed him was administered hours ago. There's Willing Suspension of Disbelief and then there's this.
- While NCIS is usually VERY guilty of this kind of stuff, that one actually worked. Both clocks were at the Naval Yard (military base). So it is highly likely the clocks there were actually kept in sync with a standard, especially when the time was very relevant to an ongoing investigation. And, because the killer mostly left the clue for Gibbs, he would have operated according to that time. The perfect timing of the poison is a completely different trope, of course.
- In The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask, all of the clocks in the game are synced to the in-game clock, and as such, all of them display the exact same time. This is, however, justified in-universe by the fact that the game is set in and around a place called Clock Town. If there's anything you'd expect them to have down to a science, it would be timekeeping.
- The increase in internet and cellular connected devices is leading to most of them always showing the same (correct) time, as many of them periodically connect to, and adjust their own clocks by, atomic clocks that provide time accurate to less than a second. GPS devices also connect with the GPS satellites which each have an atomic clock on board (which is necessary for their function).