The Six Pips Chronicles

Every week at 8:15 PM

We send out an email; five images and a little text to keep you in the loop. If you would like to sign-up to receive the Six Pips bulletin please click here – Schofield news bulletin sign-up. The content of these pages contain an archive of observations and forecasts, watchmaking, British commentary, Sussex beauty, manufacture, engineering, design, poetry and amusement. Schofield executes all it does by thinking and the Six Pips is no exception. We are proud to be a very British watch company and this is our history of watchmaking.

Why The Six Pips?

The Greenwich Time Signal (GTS), popularly known as the pips, is a series of six short tones broadcast at one-second intervals by many BBC Radio stations.

The proposal for a time signal came from one Frank Hope-Jones in a radio talk in April 1923. It was agreed that broadcasting the Greenwich Standard Time with a chronometer at the Royal Observatory tripping a switch at five seconds to the hour to create those iconic pips – using a 1kHz oscillator. The time signal was first broadcast at 9.30 p.m. on 5 February 1924.

There are six pips (short beeps) in total, which occur on the 5 seconds leading up to the hour and on the hour itself. Each pip is a 1 kHz tone (about halfway between musical B5 and C6) the first five of which last a tenth of a second each, while the final pip lasts half a second. The actual moment when the hour changes – the “on-time marker” – is at the very beginning of the last pip.

Our weekly bulletin is made up of five short posts and a snippets section outlining minor news.