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Internet Time

Internet Time was invented and marketed by the Swiss watch company Swatch in the late 1990's.

Illustration image

Internet Time system divides the day into 1000 ".beats".

Simple Internet Time .beat converter

New Time Unit - the .beat

Instead of dividing the virtual and real day into 24 hours and 60 minutes per hour, the Internet Time system divides the day into 1000 ".beats". Each .beat is 1 minute and 26.4 seconds.

New Meridian

Internet Time is based on a new Meridian (as opposed to the Greenwich Meridian). This new Meridian goes through Swatch's office in Biel, Switzerland and is called the BMT Meridian.

BMT - the reference for Internet Time

Biel Mean Time (BMT) is another invention of Swatch. It is linked up to the Central European Winter/Standard time, which is UTC + 1 hour. When it is Midnight in BMT, the Internet Time is @000 beats, Noon is @500 beats.

Time Unit Conversions

Beat UnitConversionUnitBeat Conversion
1 .beat= 0.001 day1 day= 1000 .beats
1 .beat= 0.024 hours1 hour= 41.666 .beats
1 .beat= 1.44 minutes1 minute= 0.6944 .beats
1 .beat= 86.4 seconds1 second= 0.01157 .beats

Advantages of the Internet Time System

  • It uses the normal decimal system, instead of the ancient 24 hour, 60 minute, 60 second system which makes time telling more complicated.
  • .beat time calculations are easy, @345 + 456 .beats = @801, compared to e.g. 3:45:20 + 2 hours, 25 minutes, 45 seconds, where the seconds, minutes and hours must all be added.
  • No need for time zone conversions - the Internet Time is the same everywhere.

Disadvantages of the Internet Time system

  • The use of the Biel Meridian introduces an unwanted additional Meridian - the Greenwich Meridian is the standard Meridian of the world.
  • Wrong use of mean time - The Biel Meridian is not at exactly 15 degrees east longitude, which it should have been if the BMT (Biel Mean Time) should be 1 hour ahead of UTC / GMT (Greenwich Mean Time)
  • The second, and not the beat is the basic unit of time in the International System of Units (and using .beats instead, would complicate the system).
  • The Internet Time system might seem like more of commercial marketing attempt, than a real system.
  • Milliday would be a more accurate name than beat.

Unlikely to Change

As the current hour/minute/second system is already widely adopted, it is very unlikely that the Internet Time system will be able to replace it, even on the Internet. There is already a common time system without time zones and daylight saving time in wide use today - UTC, which should be used instead.

Topics: Timekeeping, Time Zone