Oversized Pocket Watch




Introduction: Oversized Pocket Watch

About: I'm a writer/graphic designer originally from the US now living in the Great White North of Ontario, Canada. I love the outdoors and working with my hands so I do a lot of tinkering. Woodworking, prop making...

Our entire family is very creative and we all love finding ways to recycle and reuse stuff. So when my wife suggested making an oversized pocket watch with an old alarm clock and stuff we had lying around, I jumped on it. We both made design decisions before and during the build and I did most of the actual fabrication and finished it in one day.

I do want to stress that we used only what we found around the house and shed so the materials we used may not be something you have. If you don't, no need to worry as part of the fun of a project like this is seeing what you can make with what you have.

This is my first Intructable, so forgive me if I miss something, don't go into enough detail, or for not enough pictures during certain steps (which I realize happened for one for sure). Feel free to ask questions and for clarification or suggestions on anything you feel you need to. I'll try to answer quickly and to the best of my ability.

Now let's get to it.

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Step 1: Gather Your Materials

Old alarm clock
Broken stainless steel flour shifter
Decorative metal leaf
Ornate switch from an old  table lamp
Double ended brass clip
Small chain from a dog leash
Cone from the base of a broken kids pedestal fan
Empty candy tin
Small brass hinge (not pictured)
Piece of dense packing foam (not pictured)
Brass wire (not pictured)
Small nut and bolt (scavenged from alarm clock) (not pictured)
Locking nut (not pictured)

Tools & Supplies:
Rubber mallet
Screw drivers (not pictured)
Dremel Tool with cut-off disc (not pictured)
File (not pictured)
Pliers (not pictured)
Wire cutters (not pictured)
Sand paper (not pictured)
Super glue(not pictured)
Scissors (not pictured)
Utility knife (not pictured)
Silver spray paint
Masking tape (not pictured)

Again, as this was literally pieced together with what we found laying around, it may be impossible for someone to have the exact items we used. Also, a few items we initially thought would work didn't and we had to make spur of the moment replacements, so not everything in the pictures was actually used.

Part of the fun of building something like this is seeing what you can create with what you have, so see what you have and figure out how you can use it before going out looking for exactly what we used.

I also want to apologize for not having pictures of all the tools used. I now have a better idea of how to do things for my next instructable.

Step 2: Gut the Clock

We tore the alarm clock apart and saved the casing for future projects. We needed the clock guts, the glass lens, and the white plastic lens bevel.

Step 3: Ready the Pocketwatch Casing

The broken stainless steel flour shifter, with its cool shaped bottom, was perfect for the casing of our oversized pocketwatch. I had already removed the handle, the screens, the shifter gear things between the screens, and the wire rod and trigger that worked it all. We washed and shined it up and got out the Dremel.

I initially marked way more than I needed and cut down the cylinder using the Dremel Tool and a fiberglass reinforced cut-off disc. Throughout the build I cut it down more until I ended up with the exact height I needed based on what we ended up using for the back of the watch. If you know what you want to use will work, save some time and cut it exact now. If you're unsure it will all piece together right, play it safe and do it in stages like I did.

Step 4: Ready the Clock for Its New Home

Deciding exactly what we wanted to do for the clock face took a bit of effort. We considered a few options including a background cut out from the cover of an old fantasy novel. In the end we opted to cut out an inner circle from the original clock face. That meant we didn't have to find new numbers and it also allowed the gears, even though they are plastic, to show.

We then glued the lens bevel in place in the metal casing and then glued the lens down onto it. Four small strips of packing foam was cut (could probably use weather stripping) and evenly spaced around the clock so it fit snug and centered inside the casing.

In hindsight, I wish I had painted the gears silver so they matched the silver case better, but I still think it looks good. I also wish we had taken more pictures of this step of the project.

Step 5: Adding the Front Cover

Finding something that worked and looked good as the front cover of the pocket watch ended up being quite an ordeal.

At first we were going to use the metal lid from a coffee can and use the rubber mallet to shape it to fit the contour of the watch face. That didn't work too well, so we moved to using a heat gun and shaping a piece of plastic from an old dvd player cover to fit it. It shaped well, but it didn't look good.

Finally, I remembered an empty candy tin I had saved and thought it may be close to the right size to fit over the raised metal bevel of the case. It fit perfectly, so I got some sand paper and sanded the painted label off and took it down to silver. Once that was done, we found a small brass hinge and drilled holes in the watch case and the cover to attach it. Screws or bolts would have interfered with the lens, so we opted to use some small gauge brass wire and lace the hinge to both the case and front cover. It ended up adding a neat touch we hadn't planned on.

Step 6: Now for the Back

The back was originally intended to be flat, but after some thought we decided it should somewhat match the shape of the front of the watch. We happened to have the cone from the base of a kids pedestal fan that no longer worked. The tabs fit perfectly inside the watch case and, when cut down, it would be very close to the shape of the front. After some measurements for the right height and notches to accommodate the foam spacers used to center the clock guts, I cut it down to size using the Dremel and the cut-off discs.

To cover the large hole it had in the center, I cut the bottom out of the candy tin and shaped it to fit over the lip of the ring with the rubber mallet. Once it was everything was fitted and going to work right, I sanded the plastic with a coarse grit sand paper and sprayed a few coats of silver paint over it. The bottom label of the candy tin was adhesive plastic, so we opted to simply peel it off and keep gold color of the metal to break up all the silver.

Once the paint was dry, the metal cover was glued to the plastic to complete the watch back. The entire back was then slid into the watch case. Everything was so tight that there was no need to use any glue. It also allows us to easily take it apart to access the inside of the watch if we ever need to.

Step 7: Final Touches

The oversized pocket watch was basically complete at this point, save for the chain and clip that would make it a true pocket watch.

The ornate switch from an old table lamp slid into the hole left in the watch case from the handle it had when it was still a flour shifter. A locking nut that fit over the end was glued onto it inside the case and the chain from a dollar store dog leash was attached to it. The double brass clip was cut down with the Dremel and a hole drilled into one end of it so that it could be attached to the chain.

A decorative metal leaf that we had come across was the painted silver (we wanted to paint it gold to match the gold metal back but was out of gold paint) and a hole drilled into the front watch cover. The leaf was attached to the cover using a small nut and bolt from the stand for the alarm clock casing.

Step 8: The Finished Product

All in all, it turned out not too bad for a giant pocket watch built in one day from unused items we had laying around the house and shed.

Here is the finished product against a black backdrop so all of its shiny, giant coolness is apparent. A normal sized pocket watch is in some of the pictures as a size comparison. Also, sorry for some of the blurred photos. It started raining and we had to move inside where, for some reason, all the photos ended up a bit blurry.

If this inspires you to build your own with what you have lying around, please post pics in the comment section as I would love to see what you come up with.

Thank you and happy building.

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    7 Discussions


    1 year ago

    Very cool!! Thanks for sharing. I like how you have all these pieces parts saved. I'd be curious to see how you have it organized (if you do have it organized) and you must have a lot saved, because you could have just the right parts like that, unless you had a lot saved. :-)


    3 years ago

    But,did you make larger pockets?You will need them.

    rasha yellow
    rasha yellow

    6 years ago

    That is awesome. Keep recycling in smart ways!


    I'm trying to make something like this out of my old wall clock... If you have any tips please respond. I'm trying to make a flat coating for the outside-aluminum foil isn't working... Here it is so far, it's very wrinkly.


    8 years ago on Introduction

    Nice job! Funny you did this; the earliest portable timepieces were just about the size you've done here!


    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    Thank you. It was a lot of fun to build.