Alan Moore

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Clocks Symbol Icon

Clocks represent the ordered universe, meticulously governed by laws of physics. When Jon Osterman goes to Mars, he looks at the marvelously ordered universe and wonders if that means that someone designed it. He reinforces this question by creating his own clockwork castle out of Mars’s sand. However, after reflecting on the horrors of human life, Jon decides that there can be no God, no designer. The universe is simply a “clock without a craftsman,” suggesting that though it is meticulously ordered and governed by natural laws, there is no designer behind it. In a similar though slightly different fashion, when Jon helps Laurie realize that Edward Blake, the man she hates most in the world, is her father, Jon’s clockwork castle shatters, symbolizing the way that Laurie’s universe suddenly feels devoid of any order or meaning.

Clocks Quotes in Watchmen

The Watchmen quotes below all refer to the symbol of Clocks. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Heroes, Villains, and Vigilantes Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the DC Comics edition of Watchmen published in 1986.
Chapter 4: Watchmaker Quotes

Perhaps the world is not made. Perhaps nothing is made. Perhaps it simply is, has been, will always be there… A clock without a craftsman.

Related Characters: Jon Osterman (Dr. Manhattan) (speaker)
Related Symbols: Clocks
Page Number: 138
Explanation and Analysis:
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Clocks Symbol Timeline in Watchmen

The timeline below shows where the symbol Clocks appears in Watchmen. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 4: Watchmaker
Nihilism and Meaning Theme Icon
...1945, Jon sits at his father’s kitchen table in Brooklyn, trying to repair an old watch, intending to take up his father’s trade. His father runs in with a newspaper and... (full context)
Nihilism and Meaning Theme Icon
On Mars, Jon floats in the air and forms a glass clockwork palace from the sand out of pure will. He wonders if the shape of his... (full context)
Chapter 9: The Darkness of Mere Being
Heroes, Villains, and Vigilantes Theme Icon
Nihilism and Meaning Theme Icon
...catches her breath. She starts to shout at him until she notices the large glass clockwork castle he created sitting in front of them. As they walk inside, Jon tells Laurie... (full context)
Heroes, Villains, and Vigilantes Theme Icon
Nihilism and Meaning Theme Icon her hand and she hurls it at the wall. When it shatters, the whole clockwork castle shatters around them as well and falls to rubble, leaving Jon and Laurie standing... (full context)