The Seconds are a group of tin clocklike robots who work at Time's Castle in trying to keep order to the universe of Underland from falling, led by Wilkins under command of Time. However, unlike Wilkins who is able to speak perfectly, the Seconds' dialogues only go through ticks and tocks (the sound what a clock makes).
In spite of their docile duty, they are capable of transforming their eyes from green to aggressive red, forming into monstrous-looking beings called Minutes (formed when sixty Seconds are meshed together), which allow them to attack intruders who steal the Chronosphere or attack Time's lair. Towards the end of the film when a lapse in Underland starts becoming disastrous, the Seconds and Minutes are capable in forming into a giant monstrous, golem-like being known as the Hour, summoned to stop the lapse from becoming disastrous across Underland.
The Seconds are introduced as mechanical workers who serve their duties in working at Time's Castle. As Time shows Alice the Grand Clock of All Time, a group of Seconds led by Wilkins arrives to which as Alice gazes upon the oilcan Second, Time introduces his workers by name to Alice. They are later seen following the Red Queen who enters Time's chamber where she has a conversation with Time. As Alice takes the Chronosphere, lightning rings out as the Seconds notice what Alice did. The Seconds arrive at the Chronosphere area where Alice is at and upon seeing Alice, they form into muscular, aggressive forms known as Minutes as the Minutes chase after Alice and attempt to capture her and stop her from taking the Chronosphere with her. Alice, however, manages to escape from the Minutes while boarding the Chronosphere and travel to the Ocean of Time in order to help save Tarrant Hightopp's life before he dies. Later as the Grand Clock of All Time begins to shatter, Wilkins summons the Seconds (who have reverted back from their Minute forms to their regular forms) to fix the Grand Clock before all of Underland perishes, much to Time's worry, fearing that Alice would alter the past, the present, and the future of Underland as he plans to retrieve the Chronosphere from her.
Furthermore after Alice and her friends find Tarrant's missing family at the Red Queen's castle and the Red Queen and the White Queen board the Chronosphere, the Grand Clock of All Time starts to malfunction as the Seconds react in shock. After Wilkins reads a manual of how to keep the Clock going, he sends an army of Seconds and Minutes to form into a giant monstrous being known as the "Hour" in order to protect the Clock from malfunctioning. The Hour then starts to prevent the clock's hands from moving. Later as the time rust continues engulfing across Underland, the White Rabbit grabs the oilcan Second trying to bring him for safety to which during the disaster, he and the rest of Alice's friends end up getting encrusted, alongside the Hour who was engulfed by time rust. Later as Alice returns the Chronosphere to restore Underland and Underland is restored back to normal, the Hour is released as the Minutes and Seconds celebrate in joy that everything is back to normal. The Seconds then resume their duty in working at Time's castle just before Alice leaves Underland to return back to the real world.
During the credits, some Seconds are seen resuming their work duty in Time's Castle, followed by the oilcan Second trying to give Wilkins some oil for his teacup, but he constantly misses Wilkins' cup, to which he gives him oil by spraying oil on his mouth to replenish him.
In the discontinued video game "Disney Crossy Road", the Seconds serve as obstacles the player must avoid in the Alice Through the Looking Glass world.
- The Seconds were originally going to have their own short song titled "Seconds Song" which was going to be included on the film, but for the final cut, it ended up as a bonus track in the official soundtrack for Through the Looking Glass. This unused song includes no actual words other than the vocals the Seconds make.
- Aside from Wilkins, leader of the other Seconds, who has a proper name, the only other Second that has a proper name is Carruthers, an oilcan-shaped Second, which is confirmed by director James Bobin in the audio commentary featured in the Blu-ray releases of Alice Through the Looking Glass. Just like the rest of the other Seconds, Carruthers does not speak and his dialogues only consist of the sounds of ticks and tocks.