Introduction to Clockpunk

What is Clockpunk? 

            A literary combination of history and imagination-- a sub-genre of Steampunk that portrays technology based off inventions pre- Industrial Revolution(I.R.), during the Enlightenment era. Whereas Steampunk is based post I.R. in the Victorian era. Typically Clockpunk does not include electricity or steam contraptions (they weren’t invented yet). Instead we have sun, water, or spring powered gear devises. (clock)
But Clockpunk is about more than just what the world would be like with only clock technology, it’s a way of life, a philosophy, so to say. It stems from a culture of people who decided to take action/rebel against the societal norm. (punk)

Clockpunk/Steampunk, what’s the difference?

             Clockpunk is arguably one of the many sub-genres of Steampunk. Yet some people believe Clockpunk, though named similarly, is a separate genre altogether.
 In my opinion it’s in the philosophy that Steampunk and Clockpunk blur lines. Steampunk also has similar values or philosophies, it’s just based in a later era. I’m guessing you’re probably thinking that if Steampunk is inspired from a chronologically later date then it must be a sub-genre of Clockpunk.  I know it sounds all matrix-y but despite that it’s inspired from a later era, I still think Steampunk is the primary genre.
Clockpunk would not exist without Steampunk.
If Clockpunk came first, how can that be?
Because until Steampunk, Clockpunk was undefined. It was an idea. Steampunk made it a movement.
That said, even though I believe that Clockpunk’s rightful place is within the Steampunk community, I will be exploring Clockpunk as a separate entity. Mostly because I'm obsessed with clocks. Don't get me wrong, Steampunk can, and does, incorporate anything Clockpunk, but Clockpunk should not incorporate anything but the values of Steampunk. In this blog I'll be taking into account what was happening in the world during the Enlightenment era and applying that to Clockpunk.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Clockpunk Forefather

 There are many clock inventors that would fit for the Clockpunk forefather, but Clockpunk is not just about technology it's about mentality too. Leonardo Da Vinci best encompasses the Clockpunk mentality. Not only did he invent many clock devices but according to historian Vezzosi "he strongly disapproved of conformism and condemned redundancy and excess of ornamentation." The perfect fit to be crowned Clockpunk's forefather.
Here is a list of other clock inventors over the history of our world. I got this list from this blog- These are all the premiere inventors of clocks and devices out of clock technology.
  • Ibn Ismail Ibn al-Razzaz Al-Jazari
  • Musa Brothers
  • Wolfgang von Kempelen
  • Francesco di Giorgio Martini
  • Jacques de Vaucansan
  • Leonardo Da Vinci                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                                 Clockpunk Fashion

  The biggest separation between Steampunk and Clockpunk is clothing. Clockpunk fashion is based off the late 1700’s. This is when fashion begins to express individuality of the person and is made accessible to all stations of class. Prior to this era, known as the Enlightenment era, fashion was inspired by the French. Women wore their fashion in excess.  Painted faces, wide dresses, puffy sleeves, tall hair, bright colors--smothered with ribbon, lace and other decorative trims. The men weren’t far behind them dressing in excess; they also had large fake hair, painted faces, (the introduction to man makeup) and ornate clothing. In my opinion the best media example of this fashion, (and mentality), is in the 2011 released movie;

The Three Musketeers.
In this movie French inspired fashion is bold, competitive, big and bright, just as it was back in the early 1700’s. To the pre-Enlightenment era people, fashion exemplified position of class. This excessive fashion and isolation of the general population inspired change. According to Wikipedia this change was introduced by the Western World’s influence on Europe.  Fashion was “becoming slimmer and using earthier colors and more matte fabrics. It is also at this time when the concept of fashion, as we know it today, begins. Prior to this point, clothes as a means of self-expression were limited. Guild controlled systems of production and distribution, and the sumptuary laws made clothing both hard to come by and expensive. However, by 1750 the consumer revolution brought about cheaper copies of fashionable styles allowing members of all classes to partake in fashionable dress. With this, fashion begins to represent a self-expression of individuality. The constant change in dress mirrored political and social ideals of the time.”
            This is where I believe we see the historical introduction to Clockpunk. The divide in class, (the poor being given no rights compared to the rich), and the physical example of this in how the wealthy displayed their lavish/care-free life through their whimsical and outrageous clothing encourages those with the rebellion mentality, usually lower classes, to go to the polar opposite.
To show their disgust they protest the outrageous clothing colors, and what they symbolize, by wearing black, white and grey. This is, in my opinion, the first rule of Clockpunk attire. It must be black, white and grey! (Fashion rebellion is after all the visual premise for the ‘punk’-- we must rebel against the social norm.)
Secondly, as mentioned in Wikipedia, the clothing becomes simpler. No more puffy sleeves or shiny material, no, now there are slimmer dresses, shorter corsets and matte fabrics. Clockpunk rule number two, the fashion is still French inspired but keep it simple.
However despite simply crafted clothing being popular, we see the introduction to accessories individualizing people’s outfits. Women in the late 1700’s even began to wear men’s accessories, such as hats and pocket watches this was done to symbolize the divide in gender as well as class. I think this leads to what should be the third rule in Clockpunk attire, accessorize!
I believe Clockpunk fashion is and should be different than Steampunk fashion. Steampunk fashion should not have a tight set of rules like Clockpunk fashion does. As I mentioned earlier Steampunk is based in a post Industrial Revolution era, this is around the 1800’s in what is referred to as the Victorian era. Fashion changes again in the 1800’s. But throughout that change the underlying desire to express oneself individuality through fashion flourishes in the Victorian era. Color is reintroduces as is other fashion attire. But I’ll leave it at that-- head over to my punk sister in arm’s blog post on Steampunk clothing for more on Steampunk clothing. Remember the three rules in dressing Clockpunk;

1.Keep it black, white and grey.
2. Keep your base clothing simple and French inspired.
3. Accessorize!

Bellow are some pictures I think are awesome examples of Clockpunk clothing (even though they are labeled Steampunk.) from a designer named Kato--you'll be hearing a lot about her, the Steampunkette loves her.
Clockpunk Mascot

Ok so this one is undecided. But I think it should be the British Bulldog.  Why? Well, mostly because I have a Bulldog and they are awesome dogs. But also because in the 1700's it was one of the most popular dogs. Of course if the bulldog is a mascot it should be an all white, or black and white one!
The contender in the Clockpunk mascot race is unfortunately a rat. Because rats have the best known sense of time. And we've all heard the stories of how Rats impacted the world around the 1700's. Can anyone say plague?

Which do you think is a better Clockpunk mascot?

Help spread the Clockpunk revolution and tell others about this blog!
                                         –Rebecca Sky, the Clockpunkette!


  1. I think that though the rat DOES have a great sense of timing, it doesn't have the social graces of the British Bulldog. Tea anyone?

  2. this si AWESOME!!! im a big fan of steampunk and didnt knew anything of this, is great to know it though, thanks a lot!

    1. AnyTIME! ;) too much? Ok. Glad to be of service!

  3. Grey, anything grey.

  4. Were walking canes popular in that time period? I was thinking of using a silver/gold topped cane in one of my sketches.

    1. Sorry for the late reply. I think they would fall under the accessorize category. Also I'd love to see it when you're done!

  5. All this time I thought I was writing steampunk, and it turns out I was writing clockpunk! :-)

  6. By following the logic, would the Ezio chapters of Assassin's Creed (aka Assassin's Creed 2, Brotherhood, and Revelations) fit into the clockpunk genre?
    I have heard of people saying Yes; others say No. What do you think?