Extraordinary Clocks and Watches

"Time does not exist. Clocks exist." - wall graffiti

Today we look at various clocks, watches and means to tell the time, a fleeting continuum that is otherwise invisible and even irrelevant, especially when considered as a disappearing line between absolute concepts of "past" and "future".

The Horological Machine - info - called pure watchporn. We agree.

Somebody said that a "miracle" is nothing but a time compressed - a fast forward, or even skip button around the normal flow of things. Even without considering miracles, we seem obsessed with measuring time (perhaps to reassure ourselves in the world's normality?) - as it swirls around us in glittering fractal spirals, constantly teetering on the brink of eternity, yet never quite falling into it.

design by: Dale Mathis)

"Time Considered as a Helix of Semiprecious Stones" (S. Delany)

They are thousands of clocks online, sites that compete in their Flash-infused glory to show you the current hours and minutes; this site, however, has rather more sublime design and animation -

click to launch LeoGeo clock

Very strange Digimech clock, designed by Duncan Shotton, with strips of alien code slowly moving through... time:

(design by Duncan Shotton)

Or this clock, that takes the idea of time as continuum literally - it tells the time in a continuous sentence, something like "It's about six o'clock" or "it's almost seven now". In other words, poetry in motion -

(image via, order it here)

Read time differently! These geek clocks need some time to figure out... check out the answers here -

(designs by DCIGift and EagleApex)

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A lot more "nerdy" and hard-to-read clocks are shown on this excellent page.

Designer Buro Vormkrijgers presents the "Orbit Clock" - info - and Ross McBride came up with a minimalist "Extra-Normal" clock - info:

"The Explosion of Time", design by Niels van Eijk & Miriam van der Lubbe and "The Water Clock", via

Behold the thing of beauty... Lisa Boyer's wooden gear clock plans, inspired perhaps by Leonardo da Vinci's paintings, would transform any room into a baroque "workshop". They are "swoopy", kinetic, some even include calendar, and some are sophisticated enough to be called "Masochist's Corner" - to see the whole gorgeous lineup click here -

(image credit: Lisa Boyer)

Clock "sculptures" may require a separate page, see for example, the "grandfather clock" made from old bicycle parts - some videos here

For the ultimate wall clock piece you'll have to pay more than a million dollars, but it's creepy and perhaps even evil deep down inside. The Corpus Clock looks like one of H.R. Giger's haunting designs, uses grasshopper escapement, guarded by the sinister Chronophage insect on top... "Basically I view time as not on your side. He'll eat up every minute of your life, and as soon as one has gone he's salivating for the next." (clock's creator John C. Taylor) -

(image credit: Andrew Stawarz)

Alarm clocks that can not be denied

More creative ways to yank you from blissful slumber into a jarring noise and bustle of the world:

Alarm-clock Ring for the couple: let's say you need to wake up at a different time from your spouse - you let the ring charge and put it on when going to sleep. The rings will start vibrating at a certain time, waking you up. (more info)

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More alarm-clock violence: retro-styled "Bomba" (on the right) and the Alarm Grenade, that is impossible to shut off, unless you smash it against the wall! -

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Combine it with a Danger Bomb alarm clock, that requires your full concentration:

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Is alarm on the left is very easy to shut off - just smash it! The whole clock is one big button.... satisfying. If you dislike such violence, there is a "Glo Pillow" that will simulate sunrise to gently wake you up - more info

(designs by Matthias Lange and Eoin McNally & Ian Walton)

LED clock design by Jonas Damon and the Puzzle Alarm Clock

Alarm clock carpet... and probably the most unforgiving alarm clock of all: "Three minutes after it goes off without having you turn it off, it will start to make random phone calls from your cell phone." -

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With all these alarm-clock options, no wonder the simple retro-styled ones look unhappy:

(original unknown)

Clocks in your house that are impossible to ignore

Put this thing on the wall and let it "ruin" it. One-Hour Circle from EverLab - on the right - and the The Receipt Clock on the left; both have dubious practicality, but who knows...

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Make a huge one on your garage door (pretty old concept, actually) - or enjoy a giant LED clock as a book shelf (more info)

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If you want the ultimate freedom in wall clocks, well, try this one - the numbers can be arranged on the wall however you like (designed by Progetti Srl, Italy) -

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Check out the Watch Table from Lee J. Rowland Design:

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or the executive desk, with moving gears - made by Dale Mathis:

(image credit: Dale Mathis)

Combine measuring tape and kitchen timer, and you'll get this:

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The fastest clock in the world can be seen here, which aptly demonstrated the idea how swiftly the time moves - "on a scale millions of time smaller than most of us perceive".

Pocket- and Wristwatch Oddities

Even without featuring bizarre "Tokyo Flash" watches, you can load up on a slew of super-geeky time pieces, for example on ThinkGeek site: Binary LED clock, "Rotating Rings" clock, and even "Stonehenge" pocket-watch for predicting solstices (more info) -

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Electronic Ink Watch from SEIKO is perhaps the most elegant time-telling device in history. Cartier, eat your heart out. It's ultra-thin, open to all sorts of styles, can be worn as a wrist bracelet or bangle design, can be any size, including very very small - more info

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If you don't like numbers, time can be told in phrases - check out the "Tubular Time" word-clock - order it here:

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It's a mad, mad, mad, mad, mad watch world - a smorgasbord of ideas:

Designer "Ruby Slice" watch, and other unknown designs, via

designs by Denis Guidone

Cassette tape watch? Sure, buy it here - and retro-phone watch by Zihotch:

"Richard Mille RM 01200", "Richard Mille 1" and "Harry Winston Tourbillon Glissiere" were one of many sophisticated unusual movement watches shown at Geneva Watch Fair:

Vintage Awesomeness with Hands and Gears (mostly)

The RetroGrade Pocket-watch (circa 1900) is a definition of steampunk - it's gorgeous, cryptic and full of its own mad movement:

"Blued steel hands that traverse the arc of the dial and then snap back." - see it being sold for $3,750 here. Quite lot more of modern retrograde watches are featured at Watchismo:

Speaking of steampunk watches, master Haruo Suekichi has been making them for 12 years - pretty much every single day! That makes 7,000 unique time-pieces, and still counting!

(image credit: Haruo Suekichi)

Cabestan's "Winch Tourbillon Vertical" watches are in a league of their own. Nothing comes close to their sophistication, and sheer audacity of style:

Chain-driven movements! 1,352 components all working together! Only four watches a month made! Priced aprrox. $400,000... Nothing even comes close.

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A whole collection of "2001: A Space Odyssey" watches also can be seen at a wonderful "Watchismo" site. Did Stanley Kubrick himself contribute to their design?

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Very cool vintage calculator watches: 1975 Calcron Calculator Watch, 1976 Uranus Calculator Watch -

An elegant 1977 Hewlett Packard HP-01, and totally ridiculous 1976-78 Hughes Aircraft Calculator Watch -

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You might remember our series about Vintage Spy Guns and miniature spy cameras. Here is a 1886 Victorian Lancaster watch camera that predates better-known spy camera watches from 1907 - more info

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More modern "spy-watch" tech - wristwatch with hidden USB drive; buy it here

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Clocks made from computer hard drives

SRK Consulting makes them in various styles, all having good old retro-computing look (were hard drives so huge and bulky just few years ago?)

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But if you want a whole light show from a spinning LED-illuminated hard drive, here is a video demonstration (and a DIY project page) -


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Continue to "Unusual Clock Mechanisms"! ->

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