Many devices can be used to mark passage of time without respect to reference time (time of day, minutes, etc.) and can be useful for measuring duration or intervals. Examples of such duration timers are candle clocks, incense clocks and the hourglass. Both the candle clock and the incense clock work on the same principle wherein the consumption of resources is more or less constant allowing reasonably precise and repeatable estimates of time passages. In the hourglass, fine sand pouring through a tiny hole at a constant rate indicates an arbitrary, predetermined, passage of time. The resource is not consumed but re-used.
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Use of a Clock is optional. All key date-time classes also have a now() factory method that uses the system clock in the default time zone. The primary purpose of this abstraction is to allow alternate clocks to be plugged in as and when required. Applications use an object to obtain the current time rather than a static method. This can simplify testing.
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