What is Clockpunk?

Looking to deepen your knowledge of punk literary movements? You wish to know more about the Clockpunk universe?

Through these lines, we will discover :
  • The origin of the clockpunk movement
  • Presentation of the clockpunk universe
  • Some clockpunk references in pop culture

Let's go!

Clockpunk: A Sub-Genre of Steampunk


First of all, let's get a quick definition of Steampunk. The Steampunk genre is a subgenre of science fiction that typically features steam-powered machines, mostly in a setting inspired by the industrialized Western civilization of the 19th century. The Steampunk genre is usually set in an alternate history of the Victorian era or the American "Wild West," in a retro-futuristic world in which steam power has returned to everyday use.

Compared to Steampunk, the term Clockpunk is practically unknown to the general public. However, the latter is very much inspired by the steampunk universe. Indeed, retro-futurism is the very interest of Steampunk. We classify a current as being a "sub-genre of Steampunk" if this one proposes a retro-futuristic universe where it is easy to guess the central technological element. This is the case for the Clockpunkk movement.

Presentation of the Clockpunk genre

clock punk

Now that you know the link between Steampunk and Clockpunk, let's focus on the description of this universe.

A Universe Based on The Renaissance

While Steampunk takes place during the Victorian era, Clockpunk goes back a few centuries in the past to the Renaissance. A period that was very important for mathematics and astronomy, where we find great names such as Leonardo Da Vinci, Nicolas Copernicus, or Galileo. It is not unusual to think of Italian architecture, aesthetic precision, or even enigmas when we think of the Renaissance. And it is on these points that the Clockpunk universe is based.

A Technology Centered around Gears and Mechanisms

The main technology of Clockpunk is very much based on the mechanism of clocks. Regularity, microscopic precision, stability, mechanical sequences, a technology very similar to Steampunk. The difference is that chemistry is sometimes used in the latter, whereas the Clockpunk universe is based solely on mechanics. Another notorious difference is that Clockwork universes put forward wood as their favorite material, while Steampunk universes prefer iron.
Nevertheless, both worlds have one thing in common: the love for pocket watches!

Some Clockpunk references

clockpunk aesthetic

Even if the term Clockpunk seems unknown to you, many works are based on this universe. In particular :

  • The first game of the Assassin's Creed saga
  • The Da Vinci Code series
  • Clockpunk Fairy Tales by Melanie Karsak

What are your thoughts on Clockpunk? Have you ever heard of it? Tell us in the comments below!

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