Clock sculpture with more than 150 analog hands spells out the name of the hour

Christiaan Postma's "Clock" is a cunning arrangement of hour- and minute-hands on a black background. As the hands swing around, they spell out the name of the present hour.

The starting point with this project was a personal study about form & time. I put together more than 150 individual clockworks and made them work together to become one clock. I show the progress of time by letting the numbers be written in words by the clockworks. Reading clockwise, the time being is visible through a word and readable by the completeness of the word, 12 words from “one” to “twelve”.
Link (via Cribcandy)


  1. Agreed, this is fantastic!

    What a clever use of mundane technology to produce something amazing.

    There is a flash version (sped up) on the website here, maybe if we asked nicely, they’d make a realtime version for the rest of us :)

  2. I just wrote to the artist, to see if a real-time Flash version is possible.. fingers crossed!

    This would be a great widget :)

  3. Zowie!! Completely amazing. The artist said he used 150 individual clockworks. Won’t all the clocks run at slightly (very slightly) different rates, and eventually cause all the hands to go out of synch.? I wonder how it’s adjusted and if it’s a huge hassle.

  4. Haldor, you beat me to it. I also checked for unintended naughty words, but, alas, none appeared so far.

  5. This is a great looking clock. Not to precipitate on the procession, but with 150 separate clockworks, how do you set this thing? It seems like you’d have to get all of the mechanisms running at once, and in real time adjust the appropriate set of hands spelling out that hour every 60 minutes. That wouldn’t be difficult, but it would take 12 hours to set the time.

  6. #9

    If that is the case, presumably u just have to go to the clock once an hour, exactly on the hour, and set each hand to remake the pertinent word. Still a hassle but not 150 separate clocks hassle :)

  7. What a wonderful, once-in-a-lifetime idea.Do any of the clocks contribute to the formation of more than one letter at different times? I wonder how few clocks you could get away with if you wrote the words in a crossword-like matrix. Sounds like a geek challenge to me.

  8. If they use AC synchronous motors, they will stay in sync. If they are quartz crystal DC powered clocks I imagine they share one power supply to avoid having to change batteries. Either way, DST changes require only unplugging the power supply for one hour or 23 hours. I used to have to sync dozens of clocks twice a year at 2AM in a TV station. Now we use timecode.

  9. Well, Christiaan Postma just wrote back.

    There’s wil be no flash version! :(

    The good news, however, is that he’s looking into producing full-sized versions of the ³clock², to sell.

    I look forward..

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