When it was demolished in 2008, the Swiss Centre in Leicester Square took with it the glockenspiel clock that had enchanted the gawping tourist masses since it was first installed in 1985.
The firm behind the W Hotel, which is nearing completion where the Swiss Centre once stood, was obligated by Westminster council to retain the clock and house it on the site. Hence the design pictured here, with the bells rearranged below rather than to either side of the clock face; they will (presumably) still ring delightfully on the hour.
The design here is actually a substantially reduced version of the proposal released last year, which positioned the clock as part of an archway decorated with icons associated with the reclusive Alpine nation — mountains, the Swiss flag, Emmental, etc. However, heritage groups weren't impressed, and the police declared that the arch would commit the monumental faux-pas of "drawing crowds", whom would then be at risk from pickpockets.
Completion of the hotel, which was due to open this summer, is slightly delayed, and they are currently taking bookings from Feb 2011 onwards. No word on when the clock will return, so until then, tardy Londoners will have to continue divining the hour by making an educated guess based on the position of the sun.