Introduction: International Clock

Picture of International Clock

This is an international analog clock so you can see what time it is in other cities. With a lazy susan bearing, some magnets, and a couple of bolts this baby rotates and then locks in place, thus changing the time along with the city name on top.

If you're lucky enough to be wandering around NYC, you should check out the MoMA store which has a much higher percentage of awesomeness per square foot than most places I had the chance to see out there. MUJI fountain pens!

Inside, I saw an interesting clock by Charlotte Van Der Waals. You can see versions of it here. Basically, the clock rotates to 12 different spots, each with the names of two cities embossed into it. It's a cool trick. A 30-degree rotation moves the hour hand forward or back an hour. Clever, but almost too good to be true, right?

Yes, it is.

The first problem was the price. The range is $75 to $190 and that's too much for a clock that I could make myself. The second problem that I saw later is much worse. It doesn't work. This thing is seriously made useless by Daylight Saving Time. Tokyo doesn't observe it, the southern hemisphere countries have a reversed schedule, and the starting times vary from country to country. How does the fancy design for $190 sound now?

To solve this there need to be multiple faces that could be swapped. You could go by just a couple of faces (summer and winter) and get by or be more anal and make more. Personally, I'm just making two since it's really just the Tokyo time I care about. I could've just bought two clocks and had some tacky labels on them, but this is for my home and I don't want to feel like I live in an office.

Step 1: Buy a Cheap IKEA Clock

Picture of Buy a Cheap IKEA Clock

I highly recommend the Rusch clock from IKEA. At just thee bucks it's one of the best deals in the massive warehouse store that smells of cinnamon rolls. Even cats love it!

Step 2: Rip Out the Guts

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Plastic cover? Gone.
Hour, minute, and second hands? Gone.
Paper backing? Gone, too.

Step 3: Drill Out Holes

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The lazy susan bearing has four holes in it so carefully find out where it needs to be for it to be centered and mark the positions. Then drill them out.

Step 4: Add the Magnets

Picture of Add the Magnets

Mark out 12 spots equally around the circle on the back and hot glue neodymium magnets onto them.

Step 5: Attach Lazy Susan Bearing

Picture of Attach Lazy Susan Bearing

Drill out four holes for the bearing and then screw it into place.

Step 6: Bolted

Picture of Bolted

Drill two holes in the wood for the 3 o'clock and 9 o'clock positions.

Step 7: Attach the Clock

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Put some short short bolts through the holes in the clock and hold them in place with some nuts on the bottom.

Step 8: Print Out a New Backing

Picture of Print Out a New Backing

Take some time to decide what you need in an international clock.

No, really, why the hell are you doing this? This will help you to choose what cities are important for you to know about. If you're only thinking about the states, forget about it. This project isn't worth it. You can keep a few hours of difference straight in your head. So what cities do you need to keep in contact with?

For me, it's the need to know what time it is for my parents who live in Tokyo. It didn't take long to figure out the seven or eight hour time difference (Japan has no DST), but I figured it'd be fun to know what time it was over there. And I went ahead and added more cities as well. Just be careful because different countries have different dates for DST starting and stopping and countries in the southern hemisphere are backwards about it. Which, you know, is how it should be.

I used Illustrator to make my clock face. Photoshop could also work. Or you can make one by hand.

Just remember to have the countries going clockwise as you go West around the globe.

Step 9: Cut!

Picture of Cut!

Slice it out and keep some tabs sticking out that will help keep it in place.

Step 10: Add the Hands

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Plop the hour hand and the second hand and you're done. Use the minute hand to clean your teeth or scrape out your ears. Now just rotate the clock to whatever city you want to know about and you're golden.


smirnoff04 (author)2011-07-27

Terrific idea Fungus. :)

bsheff (author)2006-11-03

Nice job, I have been thinking lately about using a 24 hour movement
and a dial with a world polar projection, with longitudes. but hadn't consdered that rotating the movement would change the miunte hand by 5 minutes! Thanks

fungus amungus (author)bsheff2006-11-03

I've been thinking about the 24-hour movements as well. Klockit is a good resource although I'd make my own dial as I'd prefer to have noon at the top and midnight on the bottom. With a 24-hour movement the minute hand would move by 2.5 minutes. Still makes it useless, I suppose. It would also make reading the time that much harder since each hour only gets half as much space and this is already pretty vague as it is.

Johenix (author)fungus amungus2011-07-26

Some years back, I considered mounting a South Pole polar projection map on a 24 hour clock as a substitute for the hour hand. As the disk rotated each zone would move clockwise to the propper hour mark.

captain Jack (author)2010-06-29


Ruzsa (author)2009-09-26

Actually, Canada -- like America -- has several different time zones (act surprised), as well as one condition that America doesn't have, nor does the rest of Canada: Saskatchewan does not utilize Daylight Savings Time. Our clocks never move forward or backward an hour.

PACW (author)Ruzsa2010-01-15

"as well as one condition America doesn't have. . . "

Actually Arizona is one state that does not participate in the  'daylight savings' farce.  Although one of our Indian Reservations does due to an old BIA rule.  

And I believe there is a midwestern state (minnesota or indianna maybe?) that has a few counties that don't participate.  

The best analogy I've ever heard for DST is having cold toes so you cut six inches off the top of your blanket and sew it onto the bottom. 

Time is fleeting. . . .madness takes it's toll. . . .

null_x86 (author)PACW2010-02-22

Arizona and Indiana do not have DST. Canada is just like USA, in the sense that it has time zones (Pacific, Mountian, Central. Eastern, Atlantic) and it also has places that don't do DST, like Saskatchewan. 

Kryptonite (author)2010-01-10

That's really smart, well done on the making! 5/5!

reidzuk (author)2009-03-15

ITS CANADA, that guy is probably just an ignorant American

Kryptonite (author)reidzuk2010-01-10

He wasn't talking about Canada, he was talking about Canadia! :P

Silly jokes, that's all it is.

rattyrain (author)reidzuk2009-04-17

The word "Canadia" is a joke. Don't be so critical.

B_Ko (author)2009-05-06

Well, this got out of hand.

blugyblug (author)2009-03-31

Half the cities on that clock are US... Some watches have a rotating rim with city names on it. You rotate it so your city is at the hour hand. Now you know the time of every time zone. (There are cities all around the rim and now that your city (Sydney) is at eg 7:00. The time zone half an hour behind you (Adelaide) is between the 6 and 7. (6:30) At the 12:00 mark there should be Alaska (some random city there).

nachobobs (author)2009-03-24

I am actually from the Xuan Province of Outer Mongolia, three doors down from the Fish and Chip shop on Russel Street

nachobobs (author)2007-12-15

In Canadia, all time stopps once a day for the feast of dumplings. Therefore, a clock for Canadia would be impossible

Warlrosity (author)nachobobs2009-02-28


flio191 (author)2009-02-25

I'd probably add dots where the names are, just because I'd like it to be a little more exact, but it's pretty cool otherwise.

spork969 (author)2009-01-19

First of all, THAT'S ignorant. Not all Americans are ignorant, nor are all ignorant people American. Secondly, s(he) said, "*is canadian*" which on the internet symbolizes an action. The action being performed is "being Canadian." Therefore, the person who you are incorrectly assuming to be an ignorant American is neither American nor ignorant, but rather a Canadian jokester.

flio191 (author)spork9692009-02-25

weirdo you're a weirdo. therefore all canadians are weirdos. :D

bytowneboy (author)2009-01-19

Probably anachronistic British spelling. The Dominion of Canadia... sounds about right.

spork969 (author)2009-01-19

'twas a joke, my friend.

SG Merc (author)2008-09-22

This is very cool and ingenious.

You've done a great job of taking something traditionally digital, and making it analog. I've been building custom clocks for 10 years, and love analog pieces. So I just think yours is quite classy.

My latest photo clocks are on, if you wanted to take a look at the style I go for.

mrmath (author)2006-10-30

Are you not using the minute hand because some timezones are half hour off?

fungus amungus (author)mrmath2006-10-30

Rotating the hour hand 30-degrees changes the time a whole hour. Doing the same to the minute hand changes it 5 minutes as well, giving the wrong time. The second hand is just as inaccurate, but it helps to show that the clock's battery is still working.

jahsavi (author)fungus amungus2006-12-09

No what you need to do is cut off the long parts of the second hand. Then glue a little globe image to rotate on the second hand :)

n3ldan (author)2006-11-02

That's _so_ cool. I saw a 12-sided clock like that, it was tiny though. And I'm pretty sure it was like $300 too...

padfoot447 (author)2006-10-31

Very cool. Is it possible to have the turntable connected to only the hour hand, so when you turn the lazy susan the minutes and seconds stay the same? I guess it really depends on what clock you use.

That's a little tough. The whole clock is rotating here. The solution would be to be able to fix the minute hand in place only during a rotation in the current setup. A different build could just move the hour hand when an outside ring was rotated. The clock movement here has the hour hand on the bottom of the three hands so that wasn't possible. It would be easier to have a touchscreen display at that point.

zachninme (author)2006-10-30

So, you basically just rotate the clock so the city faces upward? Very smart!

About This Instructable




Bio: I like to make things for the internets. I also sell a pretty cool calendar at You'll like it.
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