Reading a watch is an easy skill to master and does not require a lot of time or effort. Analog clocks have divisions around a circle, and reading the hour and minute hands separately will help you determine the exact time. In the case of a digital clock, you will simply have to read the hour and minute. On the other hand, this can be a bit more confusing in the case of Roman numerals and military time, although you won't need much effort to decipher them. With a little practice, you can read any watch with ease.

## Steps

### Method 1 of 3: Read an Analog Clock

#### Step 1. Learn how a clock is divided

A clock is divided into 12 sections: at the top, you will see a "12" and to the right of this, a "1". If you follow the numbers to the right (or clockwise) starting from 1, you will get back to 12.

- The numbers that mark each section are the hours.
- The sections between the numbers are divided into five-minute segments. Sometimes there will be tiny lines across the entire clock dividing these segments.

#### Step 2. Use the short hand to read the time

Clocks have two hands: a short and a longer one. The first marks the time, which means that the number you point to will be the time of day.

### For example, suppose the short hand points to the number "1". This means that it is one o'clock

#### Step 3. Use the long hand to read the minutes

The long hand determines the minutes instead of the hours. Use it to know how many minutes have passed within a given hour.

- When the short hand points to the number “12”, it means it is one hour on the dot. For example, if the long hand points to 1 and the short hand points to 12; means it is "one o'clock."
- Now, to determine the minutes, multiply the number the long hand points to by "5". For example, if it points to the number 3, it means that 15 minutes have passed from the current time. If you don't know how to multiply, add five minutes to each section of the clock. For example, if the long hand points to 1, it means that 5 minutes have passed from the current time, if it points to 2, it means that 10 minutes have passed from the current time, and so on.
- If the long hand is between the numbers, determine the approximate time. For example, if it is between 3 and 4, it means that seventeen or eighteen minutes have passed from the current time.

#### Step 4. Join these values to determine the time

Once you have determined the hour and minutes, you will be able to know the time. For example, if the short hand points to one and the long hand points to three, it would be a quarter past one (or 1:15).

#### Step 5. Determine the difference between a

m. And p. m. Note that it is not possible to differentiate between a. m. And p. m. when reading a clock. You need to know the exact time of day. For example, from midnight to noon, the time will be expressed in to. m., while from noon to midnight, it will be expressed in p. m.

### For example, if it is early morning and the short hand points to nine while the long hand points to twelve, the time will be 9:00 a.m

### Method 2 of 3: Read a Digital Clock

#### Step 1. Read the first number to determine the time

A digital clock is made up of two numbers separated by a colon. The first one marks the time (for example, if the first number is "2", it will be two o'clock).

#### Step 2. Read the second number to determine the minutes

The second number on a digital clock (the one after the colon) marks the minutes of an hour. For example, if the number “11” appears, it means that 11 minutes have passed from the current time.

#### Step 3. Join these values to determine the time

Once you have both numbers, you can determine the time of day. If the clock shows “2:11”, it means it is eleven minutes past two. The hour is two while eleven are the minutes that have passed in that hour.

#### Step 4. Determine if it is a

m. or p. m. Some digital clocks will indicate if the time of day is at. m. or p. m. somewhere on the screen. If the watch does not have any such indicator, consider the time of day. The time will be marked as a.m. if it is between midnight and noon, while it will be marked as p.m. if it is between noon and midnight.

### Method 3 of 3: Read the Variations

#### Step 1. Learn the Roman numerals

Some clocks include Roman numerals, so you will need to learn to read them from 1 to 12. For example, “I” stands for one; "V", five; and "X", ten. If one symbol appears before another, it will be subtracted; while if it appears later, it will be added.

- The numbers one through three are simply written "I, II, III". The four is written as "IV", taking into account that the "I" subtracts one from the "V" (which symbolizes the 5).
- Five is represented by a "V" and only an "I" is added to the numbers that follow up to eight. For example, the number "VI" is six; the "VII", the seven; and so on.
- Ten is represented by an "X". To represent eleven and twelve, just add "I" to "X". For example, the number eleven is written "XI" while the number twelve, "XII."

#### Step 2. Read a clock without being guided by the numbers

Not all clocks have numbers, but rather could have symbols that mark the hours. In those cases, mentally mark the top as the number 12. Then move to the right counting “1, 2, 3, 4…” and so on. This will help you determine what time each symbol marks.

#### Step 3. Convert military time to regular time

Some digital watches are in military time, although luckily this is easy to convert. From 1:00 a. m. until noon, the military time is the same as the regular time, but from there you will have to do some calculations to determine the time.

- Numbers less than "10" are marked with a leading zero. For example, nine o'clock is written as "0900".
- Subtract "1200" from the hour to determine times that do not start with a zero. For example, 1300 minus 1200 equals 100. Therefore, in military time, 1300 is 1:00 PM. m.