Clockmaking is an advanced art, having been practiced by the dwarves for centuries. Timekeeping is based on the practical dwarvish approach of dividing the day into quarters and the quarters into further quarters.
Clocks have one dial, divided into quarters, sixteenths and sixty-fourths with markings of different size and colour. The largest of the four hands moves round once in a day. The next hand moves round once for each sixteenth day. The third hand moves round once every 1/256th day, and the smallest hand moves round the dial once every 1/4112th day. The hands are stacked, smallest on top, and the traditional colours are:
• Quarter marks: black, extending to the centre.
• Sixteenth marks: blue, extending a quarter of the way to the centre.
• Sixty-fourth marks: red, extending a sixteenth of the way to the centre.
• Largest hand: gold (substituted by brass in cheaper clocks).
• Second-largest hand: silver (substituted by pewter).
• Third-largest hand: copper.
• Smallest hand: steel.
These conventions have been adopted as a shorthand way of referring to the time. "Gold three blacks", for example, means three-quarters through the day (about 6pm), while "Gold three blacks, silver three blues" would indicate just before 6:20pm. "A steel-red" is four-tenths of a second; "wait a steel-red" means "hold on a moment".
The following is a conversion chart to hours, minutes and seconds, based on a day of 25.53 hours, with some of the less useful numbers removed:
Gold Silver Copper Steel
H 25.5 1.6
M 1531.8 95.7 6.0 0.4
S 91908.0 5744.3 359.0 22.4
H 6.4 0.4
M 383.0 23.9 1.5 0.1
S 22977.0 1436.1 89.8 5.6
M 95.7 6.0 0.4
S 5744.3 359.0 22.4 1.4
M 23.9 1.5 0.1
S 1436.1 89.8 5.6 0.4
The number of divisions is counted from the top, and clocks run, by our standards, anticlockwise (which bolsters some theories that dwarves originated in the southern hemisphere, where that is the direction of a sundial). However, dwarves do everything right-to-left, or "strong to weak", as they say, so this is not conclusive.
The advent of the dwarven railroad has made the change of times from east to west an issue for more people than was the case when only a few could travel fast enough to notice it. So far, nobody has come up with a good solution.
Asterist temples traditionally have large, four-faced clocks mounted above them on towers where they can be easily seen. The clocks chime a deep bell every gold-blue and a high bell every silver-black throughout the daylight hours.