Wave clocks earn their title for the radio waves that accurately set their time. Long-range 60 kHz radio signals sent from the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) radio station, WWVB, reach the radio receiver inside your clock and set the correct time to your time zone. Wave clocks do not have to be set once they are operating and are not subject to mechanical delays. Seiko makes wave clocks, and the Seiko R-Wave line comes in a variety of designs.

three o'clock
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The Instructions for a Wave Wall Clock

Battery Operated

The radio signal may set the time, but it is up to the user to properly set up the clock. Most wave wall clocks are battery operated and need fresh batteries like any other appliance. If your clock isn't working, the battery is the first thing to check. Radio clocks automatically set and reset in the night, so if your clock isn't working immediately when inserting new batteries, wait overnight and check again. When setting up the clock for the first time, lay it face down on a clean work surface. You'll see a battery cover and a small cover retaining clip to hold it in place. Open the clip and remove the cover. Seiko clocks take AA batteries, which you would insert with the ends aligned to the corresponding positive symbols.

Select Time Zone

Radio clocks should work in most of North America – both the U.S. and Canadian territories. The NIST radio station synchronizes with different time zones, so you have to set your clock to match your current time zone. This is done manually by locating and pressing down on the time zone button, which is usually on the left-hand side of the battery compartment. Press and hold the button, and watch the digital display on the back of the clock. The display will toggle through time zones. Release the button when you find your current time zone. The clock will automatically connect and correct the time to that zone by the next morning.

Daylight Saving Time

Some wave clocks will come with an on/off toggle to indicate daylight saving time. For clock users who live in areas that are affected by daylight saving time, the "on" position on the clock ensures that the radio will sync to the new time change automatically.

Not all areas observe the shift to daylight saving time. Arizona and Hawaii do not have the shift, and some parts of Indiana do not observe the tradition. This complicates things for those in the area with a wave clock model that has a daylight saving time feature. Accidently leaving it in the "on" position can cause your clock to automatically adjust, causing confusion. Make sure your toggle is in the correct position for your time zone needs.