Rolls Wraith and an Earlier Day

Gary S. Vasilash - February 22, 2013

The analog clock is becoming something of a rarity. With everyone carrying around a phone, which displays the current time—even adjusted for time zone changes, automatically—the need for something with a dial and two moving hands on its face is less relevant than it was not all that many years ago. Parents are sometimes not even teaching their kids to tell time on an analog interface.

Ah, for times of yore!

Rolls Royce will be introducing its new model, the Wraith, next month at the Geneva Motor Show. It has been teasing the unveiling of the model with hints at what it will include.

Like this, an analog clock:

Wraith clock

If you look very carefully you’ll see that it features “Blood Orange needle tips that point to the car’s dynamic potential, while paying homage to the marque’s aviation heritage.”

I’d like to think that the “aviation heritage,” which presumably includes jet engines, is one that has fully embraced digital design and engineering technology, that the drafting tables and French curves have given way to networked workstations.

On the one hand, it is pleasant that Rolls thinks there is a place for analog clocks on the instrument panel of its vehicles. Some OEMs have gone so digital on their HMIs that one needs to have a NASA engineer in the passenger’s seat to adjust the HVAC.

On the other hand, it seems to indicate that the car is meant for the tastes of those that were developed pre-digitization. Which is probably the case, given that pricing hasn’t been announced, and one can only imagine that no one who is under 30 (OK, there is probably someone who has developed a social media app that might be capable) who could afford a Wraith.

But I wonder: is the analog clock like a vinyl LP?