Remember Swatch Internet Time?

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I’m almost — almost — ashamed to admit I thought Swatch’s gonzo new time system was an awesome idea back in the day:

Swatch Internet Time (or beat time) was a decimal time concept introduced in 1998 and marketed by the Swatch corporation as an alternative, decimal measure of time. One of the goals was to simplify the way people in different time zones communicate about time, mostly by eliminating time zones altogether.

Swatch Internet Time was announced on October 23, 1998, in a ceremony at the Junior Summit ’98, attended by Nicolas G. Hayek, President and CEO of the Swatch Group, G.N. Hayek, President of Swatch Ltd., and Nicholas Negroponte, founder and then-director of the MIT Media Lab. During the Summit, Swatch Internet Time became the official time system for Nation1, an online country created and run by children.

Internet Time split the day into 1,000 “.beats” (pronounced dot-beats) in a common time zone. @000 was midnight at Swatch’s world headquarters in Biel, Switzerland (UTC+1); @237 would have been 5:40 AM in Biel (237/1000 of a day), or 11:40 PM in New York.

To this day PHP will output the current time in Swatch Internet Time format (using date("B")).