The Clock


I. The project.

Simply named " The Clock ", this piece of art is not only doing what is supposed to do "keeping time" But also is visually extraordinary. What you see, is not only the time that it shows, but all of the electronic parts that you would find inside the microchip of a wrist watch if you would normally be looking through a microscope.

What is even more extraordinary is the fact that it has been hand crafted. The thousands of parts that compose it are soldered together in a 3-dimensional structure. There is no electronic board involved. The parts are linked to hold themselves and reveal the complexity of the circuit through the solid wiring that keeps them together which gives a visually astonishing result. The symmetry and density of its parts and interconnections has been kept uniform throughout the circuit. Every single part that composes the clock has its purpose. If you would decide to take out a single part of the circuit the clock won't operate properly anymore.

" The Clock " has digital pulses flowing inside every single wire and every single part. These synchronized pulses, all intelligently controlled and channeled through every circuit, is a binary "dance" of hundreds of bits of information coming and going from one section to another. All working in unison to display the flow of time.

II. The exterior.

" The Clock " has been sealed in a glass frame and was designed to be mounted on a wall, just like a picture frame.

There are no physical "buttons" anywhere on the clock to adjust the time. Since glass covers the complete artwork, there was no way adjust the time using buttons which was simply solved by hovering an elegant handcrafted piece of magnet over specific locations over the glass frame. Electro- magnetic micro switches inside the frame responds to the magnet and adjust the time. The "Time adjusting magnet" has a chrome handle tip and its magnet side is covered with velvet.

The unit is powered by an external 12VDC adaptor, connected on the back of the frame. The power wires are not visible at all in the design.

III. The inner workings.

The artistic complexity of the Clock is more appreciated as more is understood about it. The circuit is extremely complex. It is made of hidden section that is difficult to recognise because the design appears to be uniform. To give you an idea on why all these parts are needed, here is a brief overview on how this masterpiece works.

The clock reference, in other words the heart beat of this clock comes from the AC outlet. Here in North America, the outlets supply 120 Volts, in 60 cycles per second, called 60 Hertz. This 60 Hertz signal is taken by the clock and is divided by sixty to produce a pulse of 1 hertz, which is one pulse per second. The same circuit which does this division is also used to animate the ring of LED lights around the clock digits. The 1 Hertz pulse is then taken to the seconds counter, then to the tens of seconds counter, then to the minutes, and so on, till the tens of the hours.

A divider is also composed of several parts called counters and BCD decoders. A counter can be used as a divider since it can generate a pulse when a given amount of pulses have been counted. A divide by 60 counter simply counts the incoming pulses till it reaches 60, and generates a pulse. It then resets it self and starts counting again.

Since digital counters count in binary, that is ones and zeroes, we need to convert this to decimal which is more useful. That's the job of the BCD decoders.

And finally, we have the segment encoder circuits. Their function is to convert the decimal representation of the time from the BCD converters to the visual representation of time, which is then displayed on the digits.


For the first time, you can actually see what really composes a digital watch, through a beautiful glass picture frame.


IV. Conclusion.

It took hundreds of hours in the period of 3 years to create this hand-made, totally unique, masterpiece of art. Visually, not only is astonishing, it looks impossible! Thousands of parts and interconnections, all well spaced, in different layers, represent the complexity of the digital technology, as well the intelligence & patience of the human mind.

This device also brings us back in time. Before the transistor was invented, vacuum tubes were used to create complex digital machines as this one. Vacuum tube computers filled up huge rooms and required a team to operate and maintain them. Then the transistor came, and digital technology became much smaller. This is the era that the "Clock" represents, the transistor era. An era that didn't survive too long, since the microchip followed right away.

If microchips have never been invented, that's exactly what a digital watch would look today. This is where the "Clock" comes from: a short period from the past that has left very few traces, since the domination of the digital microchip.

The "Clock" is a piece of art that reflects the explosion of the transistor digital era and the intelligence of the human mind.


As you can see in the following image, all of my works of art are individually signed !


2252 x 908


V. Technical specifications.

3mm clear glass frame covering the complete circuit.

1161 Diodes
340 Transistors
346 Resistors
60 Red LEDs
6 Magnetic switches
3 Dual digit displays
1916 Total number of parts.

Weight: 14 pounds.
Height: 22 inches
Width: 26 inches
Thickness: 2 inches

120V.AC,  60Hz,  2 Watts.