Boing Boing 

Kickstarting a next-gen steampunk nixie clock


Kyle writes, "The first clock in my series of Steampunk Nixie timepieces was successfully funded on Kickstarter last year, and I've just released the next design! Sleeker, smaller, and at a lower price point, the clock is available in black walnut or purpleheart. 700+ backlight colours, and a ton of other features, each unit is handmade by me."

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HTML color clock


By converting the time to a hex-value, the What colour is it? clock does a lovely job of showing the relationships between adjacent colors in the "Web-safe" color palette. (via Waxy)

Fidget ring that's also a city-specific sundial


Glashütte's Nomos rings are clever little fidget-rings that act as sundials: you adjust the little sliding rings to the correct date, turn it to the sun, and the shadow cast by the little ring tells you the time.

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XKCD watch-face for Moto 360


Spam writes, "I'm a fan of XKCD and so I decided to put together a watchface for the Moto 360 based on xkcd.com/now because I really like Randall Munroe's concept for a simple world clock."

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DIY rolling-ball clock

Christopher Blasius sells plans (€40) to make a Serpina "rolling ball clock" whose timekeeping is accomplished by rolling a ball around a laser-cut wooden frame, causing the frame to see-saw and sending the ball in the opposite direction.

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Automata clock-monster with moving eyes

Automata builder Dug North sez, "I combined my love of clocks with my affinity for wooden monsters to create this monster clock with moving eyes. The monster is made of basswood, ebony, and tagua nut. A small weight-driven German clock movement powers the eyes and clock. It is titled simply 'Monster Clock No. 1,' which implies I may be making more of these. Please do!

Moving-eyed monster clock by Dug North now on display

LED watch with a wooden face and bracelet


Tokyoflash's Kisai Night Vision Wood LED Watch builds on their earlier work with beautiful, carved-wood bracelets, adding a wooden face backed with powerful LEDs whose glow can be seen through the smooth vegetable matter. It's a very futuristic look indeed. The watch charges with USB, and comes in sandal or maple, and it has a preprogrammed LED dance it does twice a day as a little show-offy gesture. They're $150 each.

Kisai Night Vision Wood LED Watch

Watercolorbot clock

Evil Mad Scientists have demonstrated a great application for their Watercolorbot -- a plotter that paints with water colors. By drawing on a Buddha Board (a board whose coating goes transparent when wet, then reverts as it dries), they can produce ">a Watercolorbot Clock that very slowly counts away the hours.

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Wearable computing breakthrough

An image from the future past.

(via via @stevenf)

Arduino-powered Etch-a-Sketch clock

Dodgey99 built an Arduino-powered Etch-a-Sketch clock, in which a pair of stepper motors painstakingly draw out the current time. It's got a very low refresh rate, though: the limits of the motors and the Etch-a-Sketch means that it takes more than a minute to display the time, and it needs a couple of minutes' rest between each number. There's a plan to accelerate things with some beefier motors.

I use an Arduino driving two very cheap darlington stepper drivers with 64:1 internally reduced steppers for the drawing. For the rotation I'm using an Easy-Driver driving a Nema 17 stepper.

I also have a DS1307RTC real time clock installed so it always knows the time. Setting the time is a one-off via USB connected to a PC. Once done, you un-tether, and then the RTC keeps the time, for up to a year on the rechargeable battery, or so I'm told...

The code is actually very simple, it's just a pain drawing the numbers!

The G clamp on the back is for a counter balance until I find something more elegant!

The steppers are far too slow to write the time in under a minute so I delay it for a couple of mins between each draw. Mostly to give the very hot motors a while to cool off and to give the etch a sketch a break!

Etch a Sketch clock powered by Arduino (via JWZ)

Kickstarting a backlit steampunk Nixie clock

Kyle writes, "I just launched my first Kickstarter for this Steampunk flavoured Nixie clock in black walnut or (optionally) purpleheart. Comes with a proper adaptor for whichever country you should happen to live, and has a customizable triple LED backlight (over 700 colour choices!)."

Kyle's bio shows a long career in prop production and other makerish pursuits, suggesting that he's capable of fulfilling commissions on deadlines. Clocks start at CAD$549.

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Tentacled octopus watch


The Kudoktopus watch is the €30,000 creation of Stefan Kudoke in collaboration with Maria and Richard Habring. Out of my price range by a damned sight, but it gives me pleasure to consider a timepiece with such tentacly wonderfulness lurking within its display face.

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Bugle alarm clock

Dominic Wilcox made this Bugle Alarm Clock for a window at Selfridges department store in London: "This prototype alarm clock is fitted with mini air compressor and thin vibrating rubber membrane to mimic lip vibrations."

4: Bugle Alarm Clock (via WTBW)

(Photo: Piotr Gaska)

HOWTO build a nixie clock from near-scratch


Jeffrey sez, "The renowned 360 photographer Andrea Biffi has posted complete instructions for building your own Nixie Tube clock, even including how to etch your own circuit board. While the process seems to be slightly more difficult that 'total noob' difficulty (also, with nixie tubes, hazardous voltages are involved, so be careful!), it looks like loads of fun, with an absolutely beautiful end product."

Simple user-adjustable DIY Nixie Clock by andrea biffi (Thanks, Jeffrey!)

LED-lit fidget-ring/clock

Ringclock is an Indiegogo-funded, LED-lit stainless steel fidget ring that tells the time. It has a wireless charger and is very handsomely styled -- reminiscent of Kinekt's brilliant gear rings. However, they're sold as "water resistant" and unsuitable for showers or handwashing, which sounds like a recipe for an expensive disaster, especially as they're $235 for pre-order.

Ring Clock (via Red Ferret)

Jaunty, Xmassy steampunk assemblage clock sculpture


The latest piece from Roger Wood's Klockwerks studio is this brave, fire-engine-red number that's just put me over the edge into a full-on bout of Christmas cheer.

Kisai Console Wood watch: futuristic LED face and sandalwood bracelet

TokyoFlash's new Kisai Console Wood watch has a gorgeous sandalwood bracelet and a groovy LED-lit display that nestles directly in the sweet-spot between functional and ornamental. It comes with your choice of blue or green LEDs and red or dark sandalwood, and charges over USB. I'm partial (very, very partial) to the dark wood. Wow.

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Time in a bell-jar, with knobs on


Today's Klockwerks newsletter brought Roger Wood's latest lunatic bell-jar timepiece. It's exceptional, even by his high standards.

Russian Polar Expedition watch photo, 1969


Here's a beautiful, super-hi-rez, freely usable photo of a 1969 Russian Polar Expedition watch -- an absolutely droolworthy bit of horological sweetness. (Click to embiggen)

Russian Polar Expedition watch from 1969 - produced by Raketa [Sosoev/Wikimedia Commons]

(Thanks, Jim!)

Wrist-straps for pocket-watches


Polish leatherworker MK makes some very nice wrist-straps for pocket-watches and car-watches. He's not the only one making these, but I find them particularly handsome, and rather nice retro-modern take on the massive wristwatch phenomenon.

Wristbands for pocket watches. (Thanks, Nic!)

Shooped (?) (but awesome) watch gizzard


Unknown source, unknown provenance, and it's gotta be a shoop, but what a goddamned thing this would be, were it real.

How french watch works (Thanks, Ben!)

Elaborate electromechanical clock built around a nutcracker

When John Hilgenberg got a nutcracker for Christmas, he decided to make it the centerpiece of a huge, delightful rubegoldbergian clock that strikes every four hours, using a combination of eight bells and a complex arrangement to motors and gears.

John Hilgenberg’s Quarterdeck Striker

Artist arrested at Oakland airport for wearing ornate watch

Geoffrey McGann, a southern California artist, was arrested at Oakland airport for wearing an assemblage sculpture/watch he'd made. The TSA were also worried because he had a lot of insoles in his shoes. He was eventually released on $150,000 bail.

OAKLAND, Calif. -- A Southern California man was arrested at Oakland International Airport after security officers found him wearing an unusual watch they said could be used to make a timing device for a bomb, authorities said Friday... McGann told Transportation Security Administration officers that he's an artist and the watch is art, Nelson said.

Geoffrey McGann, Man With Strange Watch, Arrested At Oakland Airport [AP] (Thanks to everyone who suggested this!)

Great wristwatches of the 1980s


On Retronaut, David Orman has gathered up a magnificent collection of digital watches from the 1980s, which was truly the last spasm of the heroic age of digital horology.

1980s: Watches

Clocks, backward in time


Today's the day when Americans, Canadians, and others across the pond turn their clocks back (we in the UK beat you to it by a week). In honor of that momentous occasion, the Vintage Ads LJ group has a fine collection of clock ads from the past. Here are two of the best, found by nolock_boston: Telechron, GE Computer Radio (which I covet with the intensity of a thousand suns).

Skull watch, 1780


Hayden sez, "A good one for Halloween - this skull-shaped memento mori clock is historically important and even a little spooky today. The Art of Mourning site is all about death and love in jewelry and art, so there are many examples of the symbols of death throughout history."

Watches and clocks with the memento mori motifs were not uncommon, dating from the mid 17th Century to the 1930s. This early Verge silver skull pivots at the top of the cranium, whereas others pivot from the jaw. There are others created that fold open at the top of the head with enamel and diamonds, but pieces like these are extremely rare and command a high price. Examples exist from Switzerland, France, Germany and England. As written by the Taft Museum:

“The skull and watch are part of the standard subject matter of 17th-century vanitas still lifes. Vanitas is from the Latin for “emptiness” or “untruth,” from which comes the English word “vanity.” Such pictures depict objects that have an underlying moral message—usually about the fleeting nature of physical reality. Therefore, it is not surprising that the skull and watch, two reminders of the passage of time, should merge in a single object. The use of the skeleton hand, however, is unusual.1“

Thomas White Memento Mori Watch, c.1780

Beautiful, "lethal" freeformed Nixie tube clock

Having seen and admired Matseng's freeformed "The Lethal Nixie Cube Clock," which displays the time one digit at a time, I have only one question: is this a great-looking Nixie tube clock, or the greatest-looking Nixie tube clock:

It's a clock made of a single IN-1 Nixie tube controlled by a ATMega8. The Mega8 directly controls 10 pcs of MPSA42 high voltage transistors for lighting up the filaments in in Nixie. It also generates the high voltage required for the tubes by a pwm output connected to a IRF520 N-FET and the usual inductor and fast recovery diode.

Freeformed Nixie Tube clock (via Make)

Anthrax's Dan Spitz is now a master watchmaker

Hodinkee's John Reardon has a great profile on and interview with Dan Spitz, former Anthrax guitar hero who quit the music business to become a world-renowned, prize-winning watchmaker who hand-lathes his own replacement parts for antique watch restorations. Reardon quit his gig to spend more time with his family -- he has twin boys who have autism -- and to pursue his lifelong technical passions. He's hand-built his own workbench!

Funny story, actually. I was working as a watchmaker in Geneva and thinking I would never go back to music when Dave Mustaine from Megadeth called me and said “Dude, what are you doing? Stop messing with watches. You need to come back and start writing music again. You are one of the creators of our genre, thrash metal. You need to stop tinkering around with these million dollar toys and get back to music.” This lecture led to the end of my solitary confinement as a watchmaker. I looked down the bench and saw another watchmaker working on a crazy watch but obviously also headbanging. I walked over to him and saw that he was blasting Slayer. He was working on a multiple fly-back, jump hour, chrono, perpetual calendar, moon phase, tourbillon and he’s blasting Slayer! I looked at him and thought, “That’s it, I’m done. I’m going back to music.” In the end, most people in Switzerland are blasting while working on watches, anything from Barbra Streisand to Slayer.

My grandfather was a watchmaker, and I grew up playing with junk movements and parts. It's amazing to hear the story of someone so accomplished -- especially in a second career begun as an adult.

Interview: Meet Dan Spitz, Anthrax Guitarist Turned Master Watchmaker (via Kottke)

Crononauta: stylized photos of Brazil's abandoned public clocks


Brazilian artist Diego Kuffer writes, " I have a new series of photos called 'Chrononaut'. It's about how experience shapes the way we perceive the world and reality. Also, it pictures public clocks in Sao Paulo that are abandoned, because it isn't allowed anymore to post ads in public spaces, as part of a law that forbids this kind of visual pollution."

diego kuffer » Crononauta

Click watches look like light-switches


Click's latest watches are the "Wall Switches." As the name implies, they look like wide, flat, blank wall-switches, but have a hidden illuminated time-display that lights up when the switch is flicked.

Click Wall Switch Watches