Made from Marine grade 316 stainless steel, titanium and dry ceramic bearings, and situated inside a mountain range In West Texas, the 500 ft timepiece is not designed to keep track of seconds, minutes, or hours. Instead, it will tick once a year for the next 10,000 years.
To date, Bezos has ploughed an eye-watering $42m into the project. In a tweet, he posted a time-lapse video of the clock’s construction, describing it as a symbol for long-term thinking.
The project was initially conceived in 1986 by a computer theorist called Danny Hillis, the founder of Thinking Machines Corporation. At the time, Hillis’ fear was that modern society was becoming fixated with the turn of the Millennia and could not envisage longevity beyond the year 2000.
In response to this, he formed the Long Now Foundation, which laid plans for the giant mechanical clock as a symbol of long-term thinking in a world of short-term objectives.
Bezos took over the project in 2009 and began excavating the site. It’s testament to the immense amount of planning that the clock is only just being installed. As electronics can’t be used in a clock that is meant to last for ten millennia, it will be powered by thermal cycles - the changes in day and night temperatures. A spiral staircase will encompass its 12.5-ft diameter, and the clock will be synchronized at solar noon.
The clock will also sport some novel features. Bezos said, '<Hillis> wanted to build a clock that ticks once a year, where the century hand advances once every 100 years, and the cuckoo comes out on the millennium. The vision was, and still is, to build a clock that will keep time for the next 10,000 years.’
When completed, the clock will be opened to the general public, although it has not yet been revealed when this might be. However, it’s likely only the most dedicated tourist will make the trip. The nearest airport is several hours away by car, and the foot trail to the Clock is rugged, rising almost 2,000 ft above the valley floor.
As Danny Hillis envisaged, the clock will serve as a reminder that we need to look beyond our own existence.
And when it comes to cementing his legacy, with a 10,000-year clock, Jeff Bezos will now never run out of time.