IKEA International Clock




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

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

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

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

Step 3: Drill Out Holes

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

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

Step 5: Attach Lazy Susan Bearing

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

Step 6: Bolted

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

Step 7: Attach the Clock

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

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!

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

Step 10: Add the Hands

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.



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    30 Discussions

    fungus amungusbsheff

    Reply 12 years ago

    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.

    Johenixfungus amungus

    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    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.


    9 years ago on Introduction

    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.

    2 replies

    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    "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. . . .


    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    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. 


    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

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

    Silly jokes, that's all it is.


    9 years ago on Introduction

    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).


    9 years ago on Introduction

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


    11 years ago on Introduction

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

    1 reply

    9 years ago on Introduction

    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.


    10 years ago on Introduction

    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.

    1 reply