Faithful reproduction of the IBM Wall Clock

Kevin Kidney says: "Our brilliant friends at Schoolhouse Electric in Portland have partnered with IBM to reproduce their iconic 1960s standard issue wall clock. It takes me back to childhood, and late afternoons anticipating school to be let out as that thin red second hand ran circles behind the domed glass."

The IBM Wall Clock


  1. I have memories of how the clocks sometimes malfunctioned spinning the minute hand around at second hand speeds.  It always delighted the class.

      1. Ah.  That also explains a couple of clocks I had in certain high school classrooms which would stop their second hands at ten seconds before the hour, tick those last seconds off one by one, pause again, then resume their smooth rotation.  It was a correction signal.

        There’s another 25-year-old mystery put to bed!

  2. As familiar as the IBM clock was, even more evocative and fondly remembered were the ubiquitous horizontal framed image of the single word THINK, beneath which would be the three words:  International Business Machines. 

  3. Looks great. I’m pretty sure there was a similar institutional clock in the UK when I was a kid.
    One question though – was the movement made in the USA?

    1. movement is “quartz” so… China, i’d say.

      the classroom clock i recall was very similar however the second hand moved in analog fashion; synchronous motor, no doubt.  whereas this one snaps the second hand per second in modern fashion.  so it’s only historically accurate to that degree.

  4. Haha as classy as this retro-dial is, I can’t help but think of Russian nostalgia for the Soviet era totalitarianism. There couldn’t be a better visual analog (pun not intended) for the relentless thrust of Taylorian  tyrrany of industrial time than this.
    Of course, I used to have horrifying nightmares of a giant clock.

    1. “Isn’t it obvious?  You can time him, know exactly how long it takes him to do something.”
      “Then you can make him do it faster.”
      JG Ballard, ‘Chronopolis’ (in which clocks have been outlawed)

  5. It’s a shame that IBM sold their time division to Simplex in 1958 and therefore never made clocks in the 60s. Pretty awesome reproduction, though.

  6. There is something mesmerizing about the IBM wall clock.  When I was in school, these were a universal feature – every classroom, every hallway, every gymnasium had them.. they seemed to be networked, too – as when daylight savings time arrived or ended, the clock would be adjusted forward (never backward) one click-clock at a time until the proper time was displayed.   Much has been made of the slight back-click the minute hand would make if you were clockwatching before recess or lunch or the end of school.  It was as if time stood still for a moment, in spite of the youngsters whose desire to vault from their seats and riot out of the school building at the exact moment leaving-time was achieved.  

    1. I think the back-tick thing was in a scene in Risky Business when Tom Cruise was anxious to get out of class.

  7. You would think that, for the purpose of making a video, they would have lined up the hands to that they all meed at exactly noon, rather ‘kinda’ noon.

  8. 235!!?  I wonder how much the Master  Clock is. This clock can be in style and finish only, nothing else. The ones seen throughout an entire school or government building were all slave clocks, all hard wired to a master clock. 

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