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Clocks that wow: Time doesn't halt, but it becomes a showstopper with these unique pieces

west elm
west elm Parsons wall clocks

When I was growing up, my parents kept the wall clock in the kitchen/breakfast area 15 minutes fast in order to rally the four children (including me) to wake up, get dressed, have a bite to eat and head out the door for school, church, piano lessons, sporting events and more — and to be there on time. Even though we knew we were 15 minutes ahead of schedule, something about that clock's hands not being in the "right" place made us move.

Remembering the clock just recently made think: Even though it did its job, it was so plain.

Today's options are contemporary and modern, fun and whimsical, artistic and statement-making and, of course, tried-and-true classic. Whether for the kitchen, living room, tabletop or even outdoors, a special clock is waiting for you.

And you don't have to set it 15 minutes ahead — but you can, if you want.

Peruse through CultureMap's selections for a peek at what's out there.

Luxe Finishes
New from West Elm, battery-operated Parsons clocks in mother of pearl, from left, bone inlay and herringbone, 12 inches square, $99.

Ballard Designs
Ballard Chateau wall clock

Classic Element
The Chateau wall clock creates architectural interest wherever you need it — over a console, above a mantel or punctuating the end of a hallway, 20 inches in diameter, $150.

Macy's
Frank Lloyd Wright Collection from Bulova standing clock from Macy's

Frank Lloyd Wright
Based on a metal-and-art-glass sconce designed for the Susan Lawrence Dana House in Springfield, Illinois, circa 1904, this tabletop clock from the Frank Lloyd Wright Collection boasts a wood case with a metallic titanium finish. Finished with laser-cut fretwork and a geometric pendulum. $175, Macy's.

Restoration Hardware
Restoration Hardware Grand Saint Etienne stone wall clock

Grand Scale
Restoration Hardware's stone Grand Saint Etienne Tower Clock takes its inspiration from an ancient timepiece that once chimed the minutes, hours and epochs from a clock tower in France. Spoked with Roman numerals, the aged finish has a heavily distressed, weathered patina. Fifty inches square, $599.

Amazon
kitchen utensil clock

Get Cooking
Replace that boring, probably ancient clock in your kitchen with a whimsical update. This conversation-piece wall clock with steel utensils comes in two sizes, small at 17 inches in diameter, and large, 23 inches in diameter, $40 and $50 respectively, Amazon

Muku Clock
Muku means “solid wood” in Japanese, and this desk clock lives up to its name. Crafted from solid alder, the Muku desk clock features a rounded shape that is slightly tilted — it appears to balance in place. $55 through Dwell.com.

Neiman Marcus
Waterford crystal Lismore Essence clock

Timeless Timepiece
Waterford's crystal Lismore Essence clock makes a beautiful statement on any desk, $175. Shop for Waterford at Events, Macy's, Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue and other fine stores.

Sunburst Updated
From Umbra, a burst of metal wall decor that's actually a timepiece. The rays of the sun shape represent the numerals of the clock. About $70. High Fashion Home and Kuhl-Linscomb carry Umbra.

Textured Time
Each number is hand embroidered on white cotton on The Embroidered Clock from Maison Martin Margiela, an artistic approach to hiding the mechanics and softening the piece, which is encased in solid wood. $230 at Saks Fifth Avenue.

Bright-eyed and Bushy Tailed
Add a touch of whimsy to your garden or lawn with the Squirrel Sundial from Uncommon Goods. Your new critter friend "scampers" across the handmade recycled steel clock face as the day goes on. $65 plus shipping.