Introduction: Anniversary Clock : Extreme Yet Simple Makeover

About: Likes arduino, wood working and wood turning

I recently discovered that under the arguable aesthetic of what is called a 400 days clock, was hiding a treasure of mechanism.
Those "nice" clocks will inaccurately provide you time with a single winding once a year (if you need more accuracy, you could use your phone).

The intent of this instructable is to put some light on those forgotten torsion clocks, and show that with little work they can look totally different and have a second life.

I apologize in advance for people who like those anniversary clock the way they are, you may even think this instructable contains shocking content.



Gather the parts:

  • obviously a 400 days clock.

If you have one in your family I would stay away from it :). It may have some sentimental value to some members of your family, it may have been a wedding gift, who knows.

Some of those 400 day clocks are not mechanical but quartz. Stay away from them too. My assumption is that those are for people who do not care about the nice mechanic but find them good looking or cannot wind a mechanical one once a year but prefer buying a battery, replace it, throw away the older one - hopefully in the recycling bin.

If you find an Atmos clock, (those that do not need battery nor winding, they get their power from temperature variation) well...I do not think they are a good candidate to mess with.

For the rest, it depends of course on the makeover you is what I used:

  • Sycamore maple wood for the base and dial frame
  • India ink to ebonize wood
  • 3mm thinck aluminum for the support
  • 2x M4 screws with nice knurled head
  • 2x M4 screws
  • paper
  • stainless steel tube
  • wood rod
  • 4x M4 inserts


  • bench vise
  • small screw drivers
  • Wood lathe
  • metal lathe (saw, file and patience would work too)
  • milling machine (saw, file and patience would work too)
  • printer (laser is preferable)

Step 1: Disassemble the Clock

We will keep the clock mechanism, the dial support, the globe and the pendulum.

Each clock would have their specificities but looking at the various photos of anniversary clocks they seem to be very similar with screws, nuts and bolts assembly. The clock mechanism itself remains in its open box. You can probably find some online resources for your model.

  • remove the minute hand (mine has a small nut to remove first and then could be pulled)
  • remove the hour hand (probably pull it)
  • remove the dial from the clock mechanism
  • remove the dial from its support
  • mark on the dial support the 12h position (useful for reassembly)
  • remove the clock mechanism from its support

Step 2: New Dial

I used Inkscape to draw my dial.
I leaned how to use it from this nice video, thanks to the author for sharing.

The resulting svg Inkscape file is attached.

Step 3: New Hands

I wanted to refresh the look with some new hands too.
My hands on this Schatz are closed to the euroshaft style attachment. I ordered them from Clock Spare Parts. For the hour hand I had to squeeze a bit the attachment with pliers to have a good fit. For the minute hand, I had to remove the insert of the original hand, rework it a bit with a Dremel to have a good fit.

Step 4: New Frame and Glass Plate

This was done on the lathe.
The design is pretty straightforward. Both parts are turn from the same block of wood. I used thermal glue to stick a smaller cylinder to the block to allow a chuck bite.

The dial frame is first turned to match my dial dimension. I then turned the globe base out of the remaining piece of maple.

Both parts are tinted/ebonized with India Ink. It gives a nice deep dark finish.

This work would be a good candidate for a fist time project on the lathe.

Step 5: New Columns

I cut two pieces of 8,7cm cm of stainless steel tube.
I used a lathe to clean ends and insert by force some wood with a bench vise, drill with 7mm and screwed my M4 inserts (on the inserts I used, they recommended to drill at 6mm but I had to oversize the whole or it was impossible to screw in the inserts)

Step 6: New Support

I just cloned the original support with an aluminum plate as I wanted it to match the columns and screw colors.
The original brass plate was 2mm thick, I used a 3mm aluminum plate (as a result, the 8.7 cm tube and this new plate will match the 9cm height of the original support.

The plate is then used to mark the position to drill the base to allow the two column attachment (2 M4 screws from underneath)

Step 7: Reassembly

The assembly is simple and straight forward. You start from bottom :

  • secure the too tubes on the base
  • secure the support on the tubes
  • secure the clock mechanism
  • install the dial (I used some repositionable spray adhesive )
  • insert the hour hand
  • insert the minute hand

Reinstall the pendulum, set time and get hypnotized by the pendulum movement !

Step 8: Get Hypnotized

Get hypnotized by the pendulum...

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