back to article Bloke with hammer fixes London's Olympic clock

We're delighted to report that London's high-tech Olympic chronometer is once again counting down to the opening of next year's celebration of performance-enhancing drugs sporting excellence. The OMEGA London 2012 countdown clock clapped out yesterday less than 24 hours after it was switched on to a backdrop of fireworks, …


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Robert Hill


I've always wanted to trade up my TAG for an Omega at some point...but after seeing how their Olympic clock isn't so Olympic, perhaps I'll just stay with my TAG...or trade up to a Timex!

Code Monkey

After this...

...losing your Omega will feel like an upgrade.

Will Godfrey
Silver badge


What kind of world have we stumbled into when 'professionals' can't even design a reliable clock!

Also, when I did some work on information systems for a transport company, a requirement was that if anything at all went wrong with the kit the display should shut down - no information is better than wrong information.

P.S. That was 20 years ago!

Dave Murray
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So has anyone asked Swatch for our money back?

Andy Watt

ERROR -- 201 -- 01 --

I see the Clock is running some kind of apache/SQL mishmash. Swatch should adopt closed-source approaches.

Seriously though, this obviously was tested, but NOT FOR 24 HOURS STRAIGHT.

Clueless c****.

Anonymous Coward
Anonymous Coward


You're saying it's running open source software? So, I should be able to browse on over to their website and request a copy of the code?

Let's hope it's not web connected eh?

*evil grin*

The BigYin

Why... the name of buggery would you need Apache/MySQL for that? (Isn't "201" a stanard error code anyway, not related to the server?)

A couple of quid for a standard PCB (found in any washing machine, VCR...) and a few more quid for a display, done. Heck, they could have got a local tech college to make it and promoted UK training, skills and people.

Oh wait, the Olympics is about corporate shcmoozing not people. I forgot.

Cazzo Enorme


Cheap, plastic crap from Switzerland. Shame Britain hasn't got a decent clock maker anymore - Enfield went out of business years ago, and Smiths dumped their clock making division which then also went out of business.


British Clockmakers

If they wanted to go for a genuinely British company rather than a publicity-seeking Swiss one, there's always the Cumbria Clock Company ( They maintain a lot of town hall clocks, not to mention that big one at Westminster. Obviously I'm not a customer, although the idea of installing a clock tower on the roof would be a tempting one if my landlord would let me.

Shane Orahilly
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Or even J B Joyce of Whitchurch

Claimed (although contested by Thwaites & Reed) to be the oldest continuing clock manufacturer in the world, and based in Shropshire, the home of the Modern Olympics (Even if they did decide to commemorate this by creating an animated penis of a mascot) . Far more appropriate than a piece of cheap foreign junk.

Anonymous Coward
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The Three Laws of Mechanics.

1) Always use the right tool for the job.

2) A hammer is always the right tool for the job.

3) Any tool can be used as a hammer.

Anonymous Coward
Anonymous Coward

RE: The Three Laws of Mechanics

When in doubt, give it a clout. And if it breaks? Well, it was broken before, wasn't it?

Anonymous Coward
Anonymous Coward

Bloke with 'an 'ammer

Good old percussive maintenance, works every time.

Anonymous Coward
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precussive maintenance

As they say, when the only tool you have is a hammer, every problem looks like a thumb

Anonymous Coward
Anonymous Coward


Otherwise known as a Glasgow Screwdriver


what title

If it doesn't work, hit it with a hammer...

If it still doesn't work...get a bigger hammer!

Spot the Cat

re Hammer

Birmingham screwdriver, shirley?


Start, Hammer time

couldn't resist

Elmer Phud
Silver badge

posts like that

Can't touch 'em.


Bloke with the batteries:

I've got the power

Colin Brett


I had expected a Playmobil reconstruction.

Anonymous Coward

apprenticeships ?

Is this one of the apprenticeships that the radio adverts keeping banging on about in action?

Wonder if there’s a lot of demand for massive clock repairs?

Certainly took their TIME about fixing it!

I know I know I'll get my coat.

Anonymous Coward
Anonymous Coward


Clock is Swatch, we're just in that situation where something is made by one company but has another company's name on it for sponsorship reasons - happens a lot with sports, pro cyclists will ride a bike made by one company as they prefer it, but for sponsorship reasons it'll have their sponsor bike company's name all over it as if it were made by them.

Anonymous Coward
Anonymous Coward


Really? :( Meh and there I was thinking I couldn't get more cynical....

Gold badge

Re: Re: An OMEGA?

They should sack their marketing dweebs then.

Right way: Write on it: "Sponsored by OMEGA", so when it goes titsup everyone knows it's not your fault.

EPIC FAIL way: Badge it as yours, so when it goes titsup everyone thinks your product's shit.

Adrian Challinor
Paris Hilton

I bet Omega is really pleased

Or is this an evil plot by Swatch to muddy Omega's good name?

I wonder who is doing the timing for the men's 100m? Could we trust we time recorded?

"And the Swatch time for Usain Bolt is 200 days, 10 hours and 31 sec... sorry thats SQL error 201 - 01. Here's one for question of sport!"

Paris, because she doesn't need a watch for a good time, but anyone can watch her have a good time.

caffeine addict
Silver badge

letters and/or digits.

Omega is owned by Swatch.



If I was there instead of John Oates I would have been loudly humming the Countdown theme. :-)


I was just wondering

if the yellow boards and red/white placcy tape is a permanent part of the installation..?

Wouldn't be at all surprised.

Ian Ferguson

Life imitating art

The question is, is the clock counting DOWN backwards to the Olmypics, or counting up FORWARDS to the Omlypics?

(Watch the excellent comedy Twenty Twelve on BBC4 to see what else is likely to happen...)

P Saunders

As me mom-in-law is fond of saying

Every problem can be solved with a hammer. The bigger the problem, the bigger the hammer.


They still need to re-think that logo

Because all I can see is a certain cartoon character performing a lewd act.

Mr Young

I agree - that 2012 logo really is something else!

It seems to be totally beyond my comprehension! It maybe sort of looks like a piece of cat puke or something?

Anonymous Coward
Anonymous Coward

certain cartoon character performing a lewd act.

Still haven't found a link to that drawn up properly..just so that people can see what were always on about... mind you it is probably illeagles, under some prohibited use of a pencil law...


Try this

Try this, dudes...

Pretty much explains it.


5 digits

Why, in all that's sane, do they have a CUSTOM-MADE clock for a 500 day count, that has 5 DIGITS for the day number.

WTF ^googol

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It is so they can charge us for them.

The Fuzzy Wotnot

Yeah! Yeah! We're number one!!! UK rules!

#1 for childhood asthma!

#1 for childhood obesity!

#1 for heart-disease!

#1 for mending complex gadgets with f**k-off big tools!

#1 for taking a relatively simple thing like running a major sporting event and turning it into a major cock-up of Benny Hill proportions!

Sod the sports, I can't wait to see what the organisers will get up to next!

Anonymous Coward
Anonymous Coward

I think your on to something

Benny Hill Olympic events.

I might even watch them!

I Like Heckling
Thumb Up

It's true

I did an engineering apprenticeship when I left school... and one of the priceless bits of information that was offered was.

'If the spanner doesn't fit... get a bigger hammer'

It's as true today as it was then.

Ivan Headache


it's not a British timer so we can't be blamed for this clock-up!

spiny norman

Big Clock 101

Don't go to Aldi for the batteries.


Lets hope the actual race timing clocks are more reliable.

I'm not too sure the marathon runners would be too please if the official at the finish line told them, "Sorry lads, bit of a cock-up with the timing, can you do another lap?".

Graham Bartlett

AC, Benny Hill Olympics

I look forward to all male runners being pursued by a dozen topless women to the tune of Yakety Sax. And you might as well run it on fast-forward so that you can see more events in the same time. Winner all round, I reckon.

Mark Fenton
Paris Hilton

@Piro re logo...

..yup, once you've envisaged young Ms Simpson on her knees, that is all you can see.


A. Lewis
Black Helicopters

Hang on a mo...

Bloke fixing things with hammer, youthful assistant standing by? Surely it's the BOFH! I smell a plot here. Watch out for broken lifts!


Was he pissed?

Looks like the 2nd picture was taken whilst falling down.

Anonymous Coward
Black Helicopters

re. Was he pissed?

Nah; probably got tased by the plod 'coz he was using a camera in London (which, as all pollicemen know, is a potential terrorist target, so it's illegal to photograph it).


He's a Reg reporter

That should be enough to answer the question!

Ian Nichol

too expert for yellow jacketage

Someone call health and safety, the main clock guru is not wearing regulation dayglo, someone might walk into him!!!


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