What time is it?

Einstein said time is relative1, depending by the reference. However, since most of us mere mortal don’t move in the speed of light, time is constant for us. And we constantly checking it. I have some tools for that matters, watch, smartphone and laptop. Obviously, it is unpractical to keep look at your laptop when you are away from keyboard,so I rely on my watch and smartphone. Anyway, this morning, some thing interesting just happened.

My watch show about 5 minutes late compared to my phone. I have to explain something here. My watch is Seiko SNKxxx, one of the cheapest mechanical automatic watch around. Those words mean

  1. Mechanical automatic watch never famous for its accuracy unless you buy some ten of thousands dollars watch.
  2. Since my watch is cheap the accuracy is undoubtedly more unreliable.
  3. Automatic watch is ‘charged’ by the user movement (40 hours for my watch specifically) and I haven’t used it that much for 2 days.

My phone is Xiaomi Redmi xx. While Xiaomi doesn’t scream for high-end brand, it isn’t a crappy brand either. Redmi line also isn’t considered as their ‘flagship’. But still, it is a good device. It can do emails, take good quality picture in a flash, show porn Youtube and tell time. GSMArena never mentioned the phone has flaw in telling time (never mentioned about it on any phone to be honest).

So it is obvious I consider my watch shows wrong time and my phone show the correct time. But after I came to my office and open my laptop, I get confused. My laptop shows time that is 5 minutes late compared to my phone. I start to wonder. To me, who understand that both of my laptop and phone got time from single source (internet time 2, that is), the difference is unacceptable. After checking others’ phone and laptop, I found that my phone show incorrect time.

After spending some ‘quality time’ with my phone, turns out that my 2nd operator (since I plug 2 SIM Card in my phone) that I used for internet somehow gives the phone wrong time. Switch internet to my 1st operator and everything fine.

Bottom line, don’t trust your phone company that much. Simple gears and springs can bring them down. Forget the 4G or any data plan gimmick. Ask them first, what time is it?



  1. Einstein A., 1938. On the effects of external sensory input on time dilation. JExotherm Sci Technol 1, 1938. (Cited after: Mirsky S. Einstein’s hot time. Sci Am 287: 102, 2002.)
  2. Mills, D. L., 1991. Internet Time Synchronization : The Network Time Protocol. IEEE Transactions On Communications Vol 39, No 10, October 1991.

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