This system, comprised of 1000 units per day known as beats, allows an easier way for people around the world to coordinate on meeting times (especially internationally on the Internet) without having to account for time zones, as it is the same beat everywhere in the world at any given moment. Beat notation is preceded with an @ sign and goes from @000 to @999 each day.
There are 1000 beats (or 1 kilobeat) in one day. One beat is equal to 0.001 day, 0.024 hour, 1.44 minutes (1 minute and 26.4 seconds), or 86.4 seconds. One hour is 41 beats, one minute is 0.6944 beat, and one second is 0.01157 beat. Although not officially supported, it is possible to break beats into smaller decimal portions for more precision.
Use in video games
Swatch Internet Time was used by Sega in the late 90's for several of their
Dreamcast titles. Most notably,
Phantasy Star Online
used Swatch Internet Time for its online, virtual world. With Swatch Internet TIme, players around the globe to schedule meet-ups within the game. Since Swatch Internet Time has no time zones, only a single time needed to be set, so no conversion was needed. Just like everyone else, Swatch Internet Time faded into obscurity, with no future video games titles using the time measurement.
The 2007 game
Forza Motorsport 2
contains an advertisement for the Swatch Group, a watch making company that was behind Swatch Internet Time. Under the Swatch Group billboard, a Swatch Internet Time digital clock is present. Unlike previous efforts, Swatch Internet Time only appears as an advertisement within the game, as not part of the game's official time.
- Jeff Gerstmann is a watch-carrying fan of Swatch Internet Time. He has stated (via Twitter) that it is the only time that matters.
- The reference time is to Biel, Switzerland, referred to as Biel Mean Time (BMT), as @000 is midnight there.