How to Use Military Time

Military time is a 24-hour system of telling time — and it’s actually less confusing than you might think. With military time, hours are counted from midnight to midnight, and time is read in 24-hour intervals rather then 12-hour intervals. The day starts at 00:00 (or 12 am), and advances to 1:00 (pronounced “O-one-hundred”) at 1 am. It gets a bit trickier after noon (12 pm is read simply as 12:00 hours) when instead of reverting back to one, the hours continue chronologically — so 1 pm becomes 13:00 hours. A simple way to convert to military time in the afternoon is to simply add the time to the number 12. Three pm becomes 15:00 hours, and so forth. Many people prefer military time over our standard 12-hour system because it’s more straightforward and there’s less room for error. If you ask someone to meet you at 8:00, there’s no confusion about whether that’s in the morning or night. Of course in the military a mistake regarding the time an event is to occur can have disastrous consequences, and therefore the 24-hour system is imperative.

Other fields such as aviation, science, medicine, and polar exploration have adopted the 24-hour system for telling time: when periods of light and darkness can extend for as long as 24-hours, it can be disorienting and so military time is useful. Likewise, within hospitals it’s of the utmost importance that treatments are administered on time — and so the use of military time helps minimize mistakes.

Chelsea Clocks have long been the chosen timepiece of the military  (our history aboard Naval vessels dates back to 1907) and so many of our deck clocks and other timepieces are marked for both standard and military time.

Which system of telling time do you prefer? Let us know in the comments section below!