unique and modern timepieces

The Color Clock

A new way to tell the time, with the world’s first electro-mechanical color clock.

Back on Kickstarter now to get yours!

 
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The Color Clock is a wall or desktop clock that uses a unique sequence of colors to represent time. Jump ahead to discover how colors can be used to tell the time.

Designed and hand assembled in England, these clocks are built to last. Featuring solid wood and 3mm thick aircraft grade aluminium, they have an eye catching, constantly changing appearance, fit for any modern living room or office reception.

The resulting clock is a fusion of brain training apps and Apple inspired design. A redefinition of an old tradition that is both beautiful and practical.

Features

  • Radio controlled so it automatically synchronises to the exact atomic time in the UK

  • Doesn’t need setting, even for daylight savings

  • Built to last, with no expense spared on all materials

  • Solid birch wood exterior and aircraft grade aluminium, with an iPad like finish

  • Powered by USB-C, no need to replace batteries

  • Two stainless steel buttons to manually set the time, if needed

  • Two frosted white status LEDs to indicate radio control status

What is it?

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The Color Clock is a precise quartz clock with a mechanical display.

Four rotating disks update in a flurry of movement every 5 minutes to display the current time.

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High quality stepper motors quietly drive the color wheels independently. This allows a short animation to play out every 5 minutes.

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An ideal gift for thinkers, and those who like to learn new things.

Or even just to add some color to a room.

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Currently the radio controlled version is only available in the UK. It has a larger antenna than most radio controlled clocks, so will synchronise quickly and reliably, even when the signal is weak.

European and USA versions of the radio receiver will be available as stretch goals on Kickstarter.

However, time can be set manually on all models if required.

 Micro Color Clock

A smaller 14cm x 14cm tabletop

or wall mounted color clock

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The Micro Color Clock is a smaller 14cm x 14cm version of the original wall mounted Color Clock.

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The Micro Color Clock uses exactly the same wood and aircraft grade aluminium construction as the large color clock.

It has the same radio receiver to automatically set the time.

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But at just 14cm x 14cm and with thicker base it can be placed on any kitchen, office or bedside table.

 

How Does it work?

The clock represents time using a unique base 4 color system.

But with a completely new way to display the time, comes a little bit of learning.

It may seem difficult at first, but after only a few days of getting familiar with the clock, it will become second nature. It may even help you with your mental arithmetic skills.

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The big picture

Each color corresponds to a specific hour or minute value. And depending on the position of the circle, that value is different.

To get to the current time, simply add all the values that you see together.

Adding zero has no effect.

If you want to just learn these values off by heart, then stop here. But there is a system, so read on to find out more.

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Step by step

First, remember the order and value of the colors. The order and unit value is the same for each circle, or digit.

You might be familiar with the order “Red, Green, Blue”, as in “an RGB computer monitor”. Just remember that yellow is the color that comes after that sequence.

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The number system is base 4

Unlike our normal system of base 10, the values in the left column are multiplied by 4.

Read more about different number systems here

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Rows

The top row signifies the hours. And the bottom row the minutes.

And finally

The minutes are in intervals of 5.

You can’t represent a full 60 minutes of values using only two digits of base 4 numbers. So after calculating the minute value, further multiply it by 5 to get the final value.


That’s it, you can now read a color clock!

So the whole process is:

  • Recall the digit values of each color

  • Multiply the left values by 4

  • Add the digits of the hours and minutes together

  • Multiply the minutes by 5

    Here are some example times:

 

Development

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We began the clock with the desire to have something that was new, aesthetically pleasing and also functional.

The beginning was a prototype with just 1 motor and the radio clock receiver. This proved that the concept was viable.

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Then we moved onto the design of the exterior. There were several iterations of laser cut aluminium and plywood to keep prototyping costs down. After that, we settled on solid wood and aluminium, both CNC machined. The aluminium is anodised to a soft iPad like finish.

The wood that you see in the photographs of the large clock is not the final version. It is constructed of layered lasercut plywood for prototyping purposes. The real version will be machined solid beech, which appears in the product renders.


The end result is a clock with 4 stepper motors and position sensors that can be each be independently controlled.

A radio receiver module is also used to synchronise with the atomic clock in the UK.

We spent a significant amount of time fine tuning the software for both the radio receiver software and the stepper motor drivers to make them rotate quietly and smoothly.

In comparison to open source radio clock projects, we believe that we are able to receive the radio signal much more quickly and accurately. Even when the signal is weak.

 
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Timeline

 
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