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Metric or Decimal time: using the Metric system for measuring the time intervals

Metric time is the measure of time interval using the metric system, which defines the second as the base unit of time, and multiple and submultiple units formed with metric prefixes, such as kiloseconds and milliseconds. It does not define the time of day, as this is defined by various time scales, which may be based upon the metric definition of the second. Other units of time, the minute, hour, and day, are accepted for use with the modern metric system, but are not part of it.

Our time keeping is not up-to-date. Whenever we measure something (length, area, volume, weight) most of us use a decimalized (base ten) system: the metric system. Except when we measure time.

For time keeping we use a “minkukel” approach with twenty four hours per day, sixty minutes per hour, and sixty seconds per minute. This is a sexagesimal (base sixty) numeral system.

The only reason for not using a metric time system is that switching would give us a big headache, and it would take years to get adjusted to it. The same reason why some minkukels still use ounces, miles and gallons.

But let’s see how it would be if you were wearing a metric watch. The length of a day depends on the rotation of the earth, so a day is still a day. But within the day we will have to change the length of hours, minutes and seconds to a base ten system.

24 hours per day
60 minutes per hour
1,440 minutes per day
60 seconds per minute
3,600 seconds per hour
86,400 seconds per day
Metric Time
10 hours per day
100 minutes per hour
1,000 minutes per day
100 seconds per minute
10,000 seconds per hour
100,000 seconds per day

How does metric time relate to “normal” time. Metric seconds are a bit shorter because we have slightly more of them in a day. Minutes will be longer, and metric hours are much longer than what we are used to. Here is a table converting time to metric time.

Time versus Metric time
1 metric second = 0.864 “normal” second
1 metric minute = 1.44 “normal” minute
1 metric hour = 2.4 “normal” hour

An opening scene of Fritz Lang’s 1927 film Metropolis shows a metric clock with ten numbers instead of twelve, illustrating the improved efficiency of future industrial society.