MECCA, Saudi Arabia — Muslims around the world could be setting their watches to a new time soon when the world’s largest clock begins ticking atop a soaring skyscraper in Islam’s holiest city of Mecca.
Saudi Arabia hopes the four faces of the new clock, which will loom over Mecca’s Grand Mosque from what is expected to be the world’s second tallest building, will establish Mecca as an alternate time standard to the Greenwich median.
The clock is targeted to enter service with a three-month trial period in the first week of the holy month of Ramadan on or about August 12, according to the Saudi state news agency SPA.
It boasts four glimmering 46 metre-across (151 feet) faces of high-tech composite tiles, some laced with gold, sitting more than 400 metres (1,320 feet) over the Holy Haram compound.
The tower’s height will reach 601 metres (1,983 feet), SPA said. On its website, Premiere Composite, which is responsible for cladding the top section, including a shimmering spire topped by a golden crescent moon, puts the planned height at 590 metres (1,947 feet).
That would make it the world’s second tallest building — ahead of Taiwan’s 509 metre (1,670 feet) Taipei 101, but well behind the Burj Khalifa, the 828 metre (2,717 feet) skyscraper inaugurated in Dubai in January.
Some 250 “highly qualified Muslim workers” were completing welding work on the clock’s frame, SPA said.
More than six times larger in diameter than London’s famed Big Ben, the clock faces, with the Arabic words “In the Name of Allah” in huge lettering underneath and will be lit with two million LED lights.