Internet Time


Internet Time refers to a concept introduced by Swatch in 1998; it proposes a standardized, non-geographically-based time system, meant to reduce confusion across global time zones. It divides a day into 1000 equal “Beats,” with each Beat equivalent to 1 minute and 26.4 seconds. The system uses Swatch’s headquarters in Switzerland as the meridian, and synchronizes the time to Central European Time (CET).


The phonetic pronunciation of the keyword “Internet Time” is:/ˈɪntərˌnɛt taɪm/

Key Takeaways

  1. Internet Time is a concept that eliminates time zones and creates a global standard for measuring time, making it easier to coordinate international events and communication.
  2. Originally proposed by Swatch in 1998, Internet Time is divided into 1000 units called “.beats,” where each beat is equivalent to 1 minute and 26.4 seconds in 24-hour time.
  3. Although not widely adopted, Internet Time encourages the idea of a universally shared time system for the digital age, emphasizing the interconnectedness of our global community.


Internet Time is important because it fundamentally transformed communication, information access, and time management in the digital age.

With the proliferation of the internet, people across the globe are able to connect and engage in real-time, breaking down geographical barriers and enabling instantaneous exchange of information.

This rapid connectivity supports various industries, enhances productivity through fast-paced online collaboration, and allows for efficient time-management through synchronized calendars and timekeeping.

Internet Time essentially reflects the modern era’s accelerated pace, in which people, businesses, and communities increasingly rely on instant digital interactions and streamlined processes for their daily activities and operations.


Internet Time is a concept that was introduced in 1998 by the Swiss watch company Swatch, with the intention of simplifying the way we deal with time across various time zones. The purpose behind this innovation was to create a unified, universal, and easy-to-understand time system that would transcend traditional geographical and political boundaries.

This system proposed a 24-hour global division that would disregard local time zones and allow for easier communication and coordination between individuals and businesses worldwide, especially on the internet. Internet Time is calculated using Swatch’s “beats” measurement, where each day is divided into 1000 beats, with each beat representing 1 minute and 26.4 seconds.

The reference point for Internet Time is the Swatch headquarters in Biel, Switzerland, which corresponds to Central European Time (CET) or Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) +1. When the system is implemented, the time is represented as a three-digit number, preceded by the @ symbol, where @000 refers to midnight in Biel.

Internet Time aims to provide a consistent time reference, eradicating the need for time conversions or keeping track of Daylight Saving Time. Although Internet Time has not been widely adopted, the idea behind it has influenced modern time management within globally connected networks and industries.

Examples of Internet Time

Internet Time, introduced by Swatch in 1998, is a concept that aims to simplify timekeeping by dividing the day into 1000 units called “beats,” with each beat equal to 1 minute and4 seconds. Here are three real-world examples related to Internet Time:

Swatch Internet Time Watch: Swatch, the Swiss watch brand, launched a series of wristwatches known as the “Swatch .beat” line inThese watches displayed both local time and Swatch Internet Time (using “beats”), attempting to promote a standardized global time system for the internet era. This concept did not gain widespread adoption, but it was an interesting innovation exploring the intersection of technology and timekeeping.

Online Gaming Communities: In the early 2000s, some online gaming communities adopted Swatch Internet Time as a reference for coordinating game events across different time zones. During that period, this system offered a simple solution to synchronize global gaming communities independent of time zones, helping to minimize confusion around scheduling differences.Internet Time Servers: Swatch set up Internet Time servers to provide a standardized time reference for computer systems. Many computer experts and system administrators considered using Swatch Internet Time as a synchronization standard for computer networks during the late 1990s and early 2000s. Although this system was not widely adopted, it demonstrated the potential for a global, internet-based standard for time synchronization.

FAQ: Internet Time

What is Internet Time?

Internet Time, also known as Swatch Internet Time, is a decimal time concept introduced in 1998 by the Swiss watch company Swatch. It divides the day into 1000 equal parts called “.beats”. Internet Time was designed to eliminate the confusion of time zones, and to create a standardized global time system. However, its popularity has dwindled over the years.

How can I convert standard time to Internet Time?

To convert standard time to Internet Time, follow these steps:
1. Convert the local time to Universal Time (UTC).
2. Add or subtract the time difference, taking into account the local time zone.
3. Calculate the number of seconds since midnight UTC.
4. Divide the number of seconds by 86.4, rounding the result to the nearest whole number to obtain the number of .beats.
For example, if it’s 6:00 PM (18:00) local time, convert it to UTC, calculate seconds since midnight, and divide the result by 86.4 to obtain the Internet Time.

How can I display Internet Time on my website or blog?

To display Internet Time on your website or blog, you can either use a JavaScript or a widget provided by various third-party services. Simply search online for Internet Time widgets or scripts, and follow the instructions to add the code to your site.

Do people still use Internet Time?

While Internet Time gained some popularity in the late 90s and early 2000s, its usage has significantly decreased over the years. Today, it remains a niche concept with a small but dedicated following. Most people still use conventional timekeeping systems and time zones.

Why didn’t Internet Time become more popular?

There are several reasons why Internet Time didn’t gain widespread acceptance, including:

1. Internet Time’s unfamiliar format made it difficult for people to adopt.
2. It didn’t account for local working hours and cultural differences regarding the use of time.
3. The increasing prevalence of synchronized global timekeeping on digital devices reduced the need for a global standard like Internet Time.
4. Swatch no longer actively promotes Internet Time, leading to reduced public awareness.

Related Technology Terms

  • Network Latency
  • World Wide Web
  • Time Synchronization
  • Internet Clock
  • NTP (Network Time Protocol)

Sources for More Information

  • Wikipedia –
  • Techopedia –
  • ThoughtCo –
  • ComputerHope –

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