A clock tattoo can represent time passing or an extraordinary date or hour; it can symbolize the beginning or end of life itself. If a clock tattoo calls to you, you’re likely someone who has their own unique and personal meaning to add to this piece. Don’t be afraid to make this one completely special to you.
Outside of personal meaning, a clock can have plenty of symbolism depending on the design and style, thus making them model men’s tattoos. You can find clocks used in literature, art, and films throughout the world, leaving endless options for your next design. Clocks (and other round-shaped tattoos) work well on inner forearms, upper arms/shoulder, shoulder blades, knees, thighs, chest, and even the side of the hip.
We’ve laid out 30 time-ticking clock tattoos to bring inspiration for your next best piece of ink.
1. Birth Clock Tattoo
Many aspects of clock tattoos can be personalized, the shape, size, and color – to name a few. Yet, arguably the most noteworthy feature is the time the clock tells. The time can point to your own birth time or that of someone you love, be it children, parents, or partners.
2. Broken Clock Tattoo
Often, broken clocks represent the stopping of time or the desire to be free from time pressures. This tattoo is an easy one to add to other designs (existing or planned) – like skulls, roses, or birds.
3. Rose and Clock Tattoo
Roses tattoos embody love, courage, romance, and beauty. In combination with clock tattoos, you can personalize a romantic and classy piece that epitomizes a significant love in your life. When designing a piece, try pairing older clocks, like grandfathers, cuckoos, or pocket watches to go with roses.
4. Special Time Clock Tattoo
If you have a specific time in mind for your tattoo, consider using something different like a digital clock or watch face. With lots of colors and design options, this could be a great way to pay tribute to a particular time and place and still be unique.
5. Melting Clock Tattoo
A melting clock can show disregard for the passage of time or symbolize a significant era in life, but it often means that time is an illusion. Melting clock tattoos come in all shapes and styles but are primarily based on surrealist designs by Salvador Dali. Opt for two colors or shading to get the most out of this piece.
6. Digital Clock Tattoo
Rather than going realistic with black and gray shading on grand, old clocks – a digital clock gives a more modern and fun option. If you have a specific time you want your tattoo to showcase, this is the perfect kind of clock to tattoo for you.
7. Grandfather Clock Tattoo
This clock tattoo idea is best used to illustrate a connection to the past. As an old-school clock, grandfather clocks represent links to ancestors; many times are pieces passed down from generation to generation. Of course, you may just like the look of a luxurious grandfather clock, complete with ornate designs and the pendulum – which makes sense. These features are best brought out in the American Traditional tattoo style.
8. Heart Clock Tattoo
An alternative way to symbolize love, the combination of a heart and clock, is a time-honored tattoo tradition. You can go with a classic heart-shaped frame around the clock, or the clock tattoo can feature an anatomically-shaped heart as an element within a bigger tattoo or sleeve.
9. Eye Clock Tattoo
Striking, original, with the capacity for seriousness, an eye and clock tattoo is an excellent choice for realism lovers. Eyes are the path to the soul and are considered a symbol for moral consciousness; when incorporated with a clock, the dual meaning has endless options.
10. Clock Tower Tattoo
Clock towers are popular historical structures and are used as symbolism in many different pieces of literature. These tattoos are an excellent choice for readers, history buffs, writers, or simply those who enjoy the design.
11. Skull Clock Tattoo
In Western cultures, skulls represent death, mortality, or immortality. But, skull tattoos have flexibility in their meanings, making them easy to add to other designs and styles.
12. Old Clock Tattoo
Artwork featuring older clocks is often popular with those who have a more exquisite style. The clock can be customized to feature beautiful designs or focus on more traditional elements. Consider a sun-dial, pendulum clock with roman numerals, pocket watch, or even a vintage wrist-watch design if you love the classics.
13. Small Clock Tattoo
Not all tattoo designs can be small and still look good after a decade. But luckily, if you keep your design simple, this bite-size tattoo will still look fashionable a decade on.
14. Flower and Clock Tattoo
If you love the traditional idea of a rose and clock tattoo but want to do something to modernize it, choosing a different flower is a great way to rejuvenate a classic. Each flower holds its own significance, so choose something personal to you. Try Marigolds, lotuses, peonies, or hibiscus flowers.
15. Clock Compass Tattoo
Time and direction are significant factors in life; A compass tattoo usually points to the direction the individual considers “home,” or the direction of a particular place or person. Compass clocks make elegant and dashing tattoos, especially when done in black and gray shading.
16. Clock Gear Tattoo
Clock tattoos with exposed gears are an excellent choice for men into technology or mechanics. Any revealed mechanisms make for an ideal steampunk design (think bold lines paired with gold and gray colors to complete this tattoo).
17. Hourglass Clock Tattoo
If conventional clocks aren’t for you, but you still want to convey the passing of time – consider an hourglass. These can look great in realistic black and gray styles or a colorful traditional tattoo.
18. Traditional Clock Tattoo
Depending on your style, traditional clocks are beautiful and customary. Traditional tattoos contain bright colors with bold lines; dress it up with other timeless symbols like anchors, skulls, flowers, swallows, nautical stars, or a banner.
19. Lion and Clock Tattoo
Regarded as one of the most stunning creatures on earth, lions represent courage and strength. Combining a lion with a clock is an excellent way to symbolize overcoming a difficult obstacle or time in life. A lion tattoo and clock design look best places on a significant part of the body – chest, arms, or back – and look best when created in a more realistic style with black and gray shading and little or no color.
20. Dali Clock Tattoo
Dali’s The Persistence of Memory has remained iconic throughout many art eras and remains among the most recognizable paintings in pop culture. A great way to pay homage to your appreciation for art or surrealism.
21. Sunflower Clock Tattoo
These bright yellow flowers are cheerful, happy flowers, symbolizing harvests, good luck, long life, and vitality. Look no further if you’re looking for a clock tattoo that celebrates life.
22. Sand Clock Tattoo
A sand clock tattoo makes for a great stand-alone tattoo or an addition to a sleeve. Sand clocks are usually done in a traditional style and dressed up with flowers, wings, or banners. Choosing a sand clock tattoo is a distinctive way of showing that time is finite and every minute is vital.
23. Owl Tattoo with Clock
In mythology, owls are guardians of the underworld or omens of death. Thus, when combined with the meaning of a clock tattoo (the passage of time), one can assume this tattoo refers to the finite time we each have. Done by the right artist in black and gray, this piece will age well.
24. Sleeve Tattoo Clock
If the clock motif is fascinating to you, consider going big with a black and gray sleeve featuring multiple clocks and symbols like wings, banners, roses, and anchors. Bigger is better if you’re looking to include a lot of meaning and characters. You can have a lot of detail, such as ornate clock frames, specific numbers, or times on the clocks, alongside geometric tattoo patterns that accentuate your arm’s natural shape.
25. Clock Tattoo Forearm
Clock tattoo designs go great on forearms because this body part has a round shape, perfect for placing any small or medium clock tattoo ideas. This superb spot also works well for any elaborate or grandfather clocks.
26. Clock Hand Tattoo
Choosing the right tattoo for your hand can be difficult, as this is the tattoo you’ll see the most. Make sure this tattoo is something you love or has a special meaning.
27. Shoulder Clock Tattoo
One of the top placements for a clock tattoo is right on the shoulder. It perfectly accommodates the round shape of the clock and has plenty of space to work with if you’re looking at a larger or more intricate design.
28. Clock Tattoo on Arm
Clock tattoos can work well anywhere on the arms, but especially on the upper arms or biceps, where the tattoo can highlight the muscles and shape of the arm. Easy to hide away at work, this is a great spot for anyone around tattoo hesitant crowds.
29. Clock Chest Tattoo
When getting a chest tattoo, you don’t necessarily need to have a symbolic reason for getting the tattoo. However, if you have a specific date or time that means something to you, then placing the image over your heart may make it that much more special.
30. Clock Neck Tattoo
The neck is great to showcase a small traditional or colorful clock. Placing the clock tattoo behind the ear is an easy placement; however, consider putting it under the chin for a wow factor.
Clock Tattoo FAQ:
What does a clock tattoo mean?
Clock tattoos represent time, a non-physical concept understood in many different ways. A clock tattoo can symbolize life or death, time passage, time pressures, life and existence, mortality, infinity, and even eternal love.
What does a rose and clock tattoo mean?
Together, a rose and a clock often stand for eternal or endless love. Roses represent love and beauty, while a clock shows the importance of the time people have together.
What time should a clock tattoo be?
There’s no “set” or “traditional” time a clock tattoo should have. The time is a personal addition, and individuals with clock tattoos often choose a special time significant to them.
What does a cracked clock tattoo mean?
A cracked or broken clock can symbolize rebelling against time itself – by smashing the clock, you’re refusing to partake in a time-measuring system. It can signify death, rebirth, or rebellion.