Outdoor Clocks

Dragonfly Outdoor Clock with Thermometer

Bring Beauty and High-Tech Function to Your Outdoor Living Spaces

Expanding your living space and increasing the value of your home can be as easy as making the most of the areas outside your door. Patios and decks, screened porches and sun rooms, and outdoor kitchens and dining rooms are the most desirable places to entertain friends or to enjoy some quality relaxation time when the weather is pleasant. Your outdoor spaces should be an extension of your indoor living areas in that they should feel comfortable and reflect your personal style. Furniture, rugs, lighting, and decor are some of the basic ingredients that allow you to create your perfect outdoor room.

Beauty and Style

An outdoor clock is one of the easiest and least expensive ways to bring the feel of the indoors outside. Today’s outdoor clocks are not only affordable and can withstand the elements, they are also beautiful. They come in a wide variety of sizes and colors, and the available materials range from weather resistant metals and natural woods, to glass and durable plastics.  In addition, you are sure to find a style of outdoor clock that satisfies your taste, whether traditional, antique, contemporary, whimsical, rustic, or retro.

High-Tech Function

Outdoor clocks bring more than beauty to your outdoor living spaces; they can also offer a variety of high-tech functions.  Many outdoor clocks come with thermometers to measure temperature, barometers to measure air pressure, and hygrometers to measure humidity. One of the most impressive features of some outdoor clocks today is their ability to automatically synchronize to U.S. official time.  The Time and Frequency Division of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in Boulder, Colorado, houses the NIST-F1 cesium fountain atomic clock, which is one of the most accurate clocks in the world and which sets the standard for the nation’s primary time and frequency.  The NIST broadcasts a low frequency signal from its own radio station near Fort Collins, Colorado (WWVB), and this signal is received by outdoor clocks, as well as other electronic devices, that contain a miniature radio receiver.  Once the radio controlled clock receives the signal from the WWVB station, it will synchronize, so the time is always accurate to the second.

Outdoor clocks differ in the number of times per day that they synchronize to the WWVB time signal; some synchronize every 4 or 6 hours, while some only synchronize once per day.  Clocks that synchronize only once per day usually do so at night when the signal from WWVB is at its strongest.  Outdoor clocks that synchronize once each day are just as accurate, though, as those that synchronize several times.  The NIST’s Time and Frequency Division explains that “in between synchronizations, the clocks keep time using their quartz crystal oscillators.  A typical quartz crystal found in a radio controlled clock can probably keep time to within 1 second for a few days or longer.” As a result, a clock that synchronizes more than once per day has no real advantage over one that synchronizes only one time.

The Value of an Outdoor Clock

Beauty, style, accuracy, high-tech functionality, and affordability — today’s outdoor clocks offer so much in a single package. As a whole, clocks have been an essential element in our lives for centuries; they remind us of occasions we don’t want to miss and allow us to mark the moments at which our greatest achievements occur. Bringing the beauty and practicality of a clock to your deck, screened porch, or outdoor kitchen is a natural way to bring an essential element of life and the comfort of the indoors to your outdoor living spaces.


“WWVB Radio Controlled Clocks.” Time and Frequency Division. National Institute of Standards and Technology. http://tf.nist.gov/stations/radioclocks.htm

About Trey Collier

Avid Do-It-Yourself-er. Love's being outdoors. Helped push the shade sail market into one of the fastest growing outdoor shade structures product in North America.

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