The first digital clock, that of the Santa Maria Novella station

It can be seen from afar, as it should be for a public clock, and as it has always been for the clocks we see on church towers and municipal buildings. The one we want to tell is in Piazza Santa Maria Novella, on the entrance wall of Florence Station.

A truly curious watch, and cutting-edge for the time in which it was made.

It is not round, but an unusual double-sided pyramid, so that it can be seen even coming from different directions.

It has no hands, but large white numerals on a black background.

It is not mechanical but electrical.

It is the first digital public clock

The clock was designed in 1935 by architect Nello Baroni, who also collaborated on the construction of the New Travelers Building of the Stazione di Firenze that has become a symbol of modern architecture.

It wasn’t just the first “digital watch”, but also the first synchronized clock with all the others present in the building: thanks to a precision electric motor, every 60 seconds a pulse is emitted to a copper cable that connects all the internal and external clocks and so the minute and hour numbers change at the same time.

One pulse per minute, absolute precision for the time, fundamental within a station.