Smith of Derby launches analogue prayer clock

Clockmakers Smith of Derby have been in business for 155 years, with an increasingly global salesbook.

Their handiwork keeps time in thousands of UK churches, including St Paul's and Derby's own, more modest Cathedral.

Now the firm claims to have become the first British firm to make an analogue clock designed to signal the times of Muslim prayers.

Recently exhibited in Abu Dhabi and Dubai, the clock is aimed at the potentially huge Islamic market.

The luxury item has been designed as a focal point for Mosques, and for both public spaces and private homes.

Bob Betts, Smith's managing director, said the currently available prayer clocks "didn't do the faith justice", and has been critical of the fact that they are mainly digital.

"As a company we have been at the centre of faith for our whole existence. It's absolutely in our sweet spot to look at the Islamic community and see what we can do," he said.

Image caption The clock indicates daily prayer times based on the sun's position

The new Smith clock displays the five mandatory prayer times, and because those times change daily according to the position of the sun, the clock updates and resets itself at midnight.

Each clock is programmed for 100 years, with management confidently promising a new chip for renewal a century on.

Bob Betts reports that the launch at the United Arab Emirates Interiors Exhibition in Abu Dhabi prompted interest from over a hundred buyers.

The family-owned company has, in fact, done business in the Middle East for some 40 years, as well as further afield in Russia, China and India, and employs specialist firms to instruct their trading teams in the nuances of other cultures.

A team has just set off for another trade fair - this time in Saudi Arabia.

With installations in more than 50 countries it seems time is increasingly being told world-over with a pronounced Derby accent.

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