Swatch Internet Time is a time-telling system which splits the day into 1000 equal-length units, known as .beats. Internet Time was designed in 1998 by Swiss watch company Swatch, as both a marketing gimmick and an easier method of global coordination over the internet, due to the system's lack of time zones. When referring to the current time in Internet Time, official notation places an @ symbol before the current .beat, and goes from @000 to @999 each day.
Although there is no way to tell the current local time with .beats (with the exception of the current time in Biel, Switzerland), it is possible to convert a given number of .beats into standard time formats and vice-versa, following the measurements below.
|Standard Time||Swatch Time (.beats)|
|1 day||1000 .beats|
|12 hours||500 .beats|
|6 hours||250 .beats|
|1 hour||41.666 .beats|
|30 minutes||20.833 .beats|
|1 minute||0.694 .beats|
Some Internet Time users go as far as to split individual .beats into further decimal or fraction measurements for the sake of precision, although no official recognition for such a purpose exists.
Use in video games
Due to a 1999 collaboration between Sega and Swatch, a number of Sega's first-party Dreamcast titles have Internet Time support. While the first of these appearances would be Sega Rally 2, the most notable would be Phantasy Star Online, which showed Internet Time in its in-game menus to facilitate coordination between players from different regions. The system would also appear in later Phantasy Star Online titles, including the XBOX/Gamecube title Phantasy Star Online Episode I & II.
The collaboration between the two companies would also lead to an official Sonic The Hedgehog-themed Swatch-brand watch, with Internet Time capabilities.
Forza Motorsport 2
The 2007 game Forza Motorsport 2 contains an advertisement for the Swatch Group, the company that designed Swatch Internet Time. Under the Swatch Group billboard, a Swatch Internet Time digital clock is present. Unlike previous titles to feature Internet Time, Swatch Internet Time only appears as an advertisement within the game, rather than as an official time-keeping mechanic.