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Sand Timer With Ship Wheel Base & Compass Nautical Maritime Gift Item...Excellent for Gifting, Decor, and for Activities. 5 Minute Duration Sand Brass Hourglass. An hourglass (or sandglass, sand timer, or sand clock) is a device used to measure the passage of time. It comprises two glass bulbs connected vertically by a narrow neck that allows a regulated trickle of material (historically sand) from the upper bulb to the lower one. Factors affecting the time interval measured include sand quantity, sand coarseness, bulb size, and neck width. Hourglasses may be reused indefinitely by inverting the bulbs once the upper bulb is empty.