Reverse Clock




This is kind of a response to Glitchmaker (, but not really.
As the name suggests this is an instructable where I will endeavour to show you how to make a clock tick backwards and also to draw your own clockface by hand.


Step 1: Step One

Firstly you need a clock, but I strongly suggest getting two, or maybe even three, of the same clock, because this is really easy to phuk up, and if you can work out how to do it, but then you phuk it up, at least you know what to do for the next clock...
And I forgot to take a photo of the clock before I started working on it...sorry...

You will also need these tools:

HB Pencil

Sharp scissors

Stanley knife

Mathomat (if you don't have a mathomat you can use a ruler and something round to draw circles)

PVA Glue

Step 2: Step 2

Take the plastic cover off the face of the clock, then carefully (I cannot stress this enough, whatever you do to the mechanism of the clock, be extremely careful) take the hands off the clock, they will generally be in this order :




You can use the plastic cover from the clock as a handy bowl.
Once you have taken the hands off carefully extract the mechanism housing from the rear of the clock (you may have to sort of pop it out over a ridge or perhaps push back a pin or something)

Then, again carefully, open the back of the clock.

It should look something similar to this (your clock mechanism may not be propped up against a lighter as is shown here.)...

Step 3: Step III

Carefully (remember what I said in step 2) remove the gears one at a time, as shown in this series of photographs. You may want to photograph the workings as you take them out, as I have done here, to remind you of where the pieces go.

Step 4: Step Four

Now, carefully, remove the cog with the magnet on it's base from the electromagnet, as shown in the photographs.

Then, to reverse the motion of the clock, what you have to do is you have to lift the electromagnet from it's base, where it sits upon two or three pins. Carefully slide the coil of copper wire off the U shaped ferrite rod. DO NOT UNWIND OR BREAK THE COPPER WIRE! The ferrite rods are usually in two parts, so try to keep them togeather. Then turn the ferrite rod over, so that the hole in the ferrite rod still goes over the hole where the cog magnet sits.
When you turn the ferrite rod over you may find that the pegs that it sat on when it was turned over no longer fit, so you may have to remove one or more pegs.
Your electromagnet will have to be held from moving inside the mechanism, so there will still have to be enough pins to hold it from moving.
If there are not enough pegs to hold the electromagnet you have two choices, either superglue the ferrite rod to it's housing, or get a different clock.

Step 5: Step 4.11

This is a detailed examination of the ferrite rod reversal process, in colour!

Please refer to photographs...

Step 6: Step V

Now all you have to do is to reverse the process, by carefully replacing the cogs, one at a time, back into the clock mechanism.
Make sure that you put the cogs back in the the order they came out in, and make sure that they are back in the right way up.
Also make sure that the teeth mesh.
And be careful!

Step 7: Step 6

Now you must carefully replace the cover on the back of the mechanism housing.
Do this with care, as there are small holes on the inside of the cover that the pins on the top of the cogs must align with.
Once you have closed the cover insert a battery into the battery housing and check to see if the clock ticks.

If so proceed to the next step.

If no, now is the time to take that second clock that I told you to get and start again from Step 1.

Step 8: Step Se7en

Now you have to make a face for your clock.

Either you can skip the next couple of steps and just print one out on your computer, but I drew mine by hand, so to see that process follow me onwards through these next few steps...

First I thought that I could just measure my clockface and draw the numbers in, as shown by these photographs.
But, as these photographs also show, my numbers did not stay a constant size.

Step 9: Step Eight

So, instead of trying to draw the numbers freehand, I used my Mathomat to draw a series of very faint circles of the same size around the edge of the face. I then used those circles to judge the size of the numerals against the size of the other numerals on the face and thusly keep them in proportion, as these photographs show.

Step 10: Step IX

If you decided to print your clockface on your computer, this is where you should rejoin us:

Now you have to cut out your clockface and glue it to your original clockface, as shown...

Then, once the glue is dry, form a hole in the centre of the clockface, to allow access for the mechanism.

Step 11: Step 10

Now, reinsert your clock mechanism into the recess at the rear of the clock, make sure that the mechanism is properly housed. If you broke the pins on your mechanism holder when you removed your mechanism you have two choices, either superglue the mechanism into the recess, or take the other clock, carefully remove the mechanism, taking care not to break the pins, and use the other clock as your new clockface and housing.

Step 12: Step Eleven

Now carefully replace the hands onto the spindle of the clock mechanism, generally in this order :




It will be the reverse of the order that you removed them.
They also must have adequate clearance between them, or they will not be able to rotate properly and stop mid-rotation.

Also you must replace the plastic cover over the face of the clock.

Step 13: Step XII

If you choose you can go over the numbers in black, or any other colour, as I have done here.

Step 14: The Thirteenth Step

Now all you have to do is set the correct time on your reverse clock and wait for people to phreak out as they try to work out what time it is.

This work is in the Public Domain. To view a copy of the public domain certification, visit or send a letter to Creative Commons, 171 Second Street, Suite 300, San Francisco, California, 94105, USA.

Step 15: Addendum

Since I have made this instructable (March 2009) there has been a devastating flood in Brisbane, where I live. My entire house was under water, with water up to the roof in every room. And these are 10ft high ceilings.

Anyway, the point is, after we re-entered our house, we found everything near destroyed, as pictured below

However, I found, still hanging on the wall where I left it, still ticking, my reverse clock, as evidence below.

respect my quality



  • Party Challenge

    Party Challenge
  • Classroom Science Contest

    Classroom Science Contest
  • Woodworking Contest

    Woodworking Contest

126 Discussions


1 year ago

It works...I just did it this afternoon with an old clock.

I also printed numbers on my computer and glued them on backwards. The clock looks perfect in the mirror :)

Dana LaBerge

4 years ago on Step 9

Could you use something else to make the circles like this?


5 years ago on Step 15

So sorry to hear about that flood! But glad to see that clock still ticking. Will try to make one myself. :)


7 years ago on Introduction

I like the clock, very nice. Also, it's comforting to know that if my room ever flooded it would look the same as it does right now. Thank you and I'm sorry that your house got flooded.


9 years ago on Introduction

I reversed a clock for a friend a few years ago.  His clock had a worm gear in the drive train.  I pulled the worm gear off its shaft and put it on backwards.  Done.

1 reply

7 years ago on Step 5

the two wires of the coil, can't you switch those two for the same resutls?


10 years ago on Step 5

if I flip the coil, is this the same effect as flipping the metal rod, cos I have clock that has asymmetric rod!! so it is impossible to flip rod! how to make this clock to run backwards??? just to say, i flipped coil and nothing happens! WHY!!!!

1 reply

Reply 8 years ago on Step 5

Old question, I know, but feel it needs an answer.

The reason it doesn't chance a thing to reverse the coil is the working principle of this type of single phase stepper motor.
For the stepper motor to advance one half rotation it needs a short pulse of the opposite polarity of the previous. The way it rotates is determined by the magnetic resistance in the metal plate which dictates a dominant way for the magnet to rotate. In the perfect world this motor would not work.

It is also why these kinds of motors are real weak (but hey enough to drive clock hands!). The first force that make the first small push of the magnet in one direction so that the primary forces can take over are quite small.

So flipping the coil or de-solder its connections and solder then with reverse polarity make none so ever practical difference because the phase is alternating anyway. Just like your vacuum cleaner doesn't blow instead of sucking if you reverse the plug.

nisith bose

8 years ago on Introduction

Reverse Clock
This guide show you how to make a reverse clock - that is, a clock which goes the other way around - counter-clockwise! Why would someone want to do that anyway? A few reasons - Why not? It’s cool.I want to be a member of the “Cult of the reverse clock” We can at least make the clock go backward. Leave it to others to figure out how to reverse time itself.It’s actually fun to see people look at it and try and figure out the time.It’s strange how we expect certain things to behave in a certain way, and how much it confuses us if they don’t.So, now that we have established that everyone and his uncle from “some-godforsaken-place” wants a reverse clock, let’s get going.You will need a clock movement with hands, an old/coaster CD/DVD (or you can use a Windows Vista original DVD)and a 4" dia round plastic container. If you don’t have a suitable container, this is a good excuse to order some food from your fav restaurant.There are a lot of different clock movements available at clock repair shops.The one I have used successfully is about 2" square, and takes one AA battery. It is made by “Palace quartz” and is model number “M2188”. Cost Rs 30/-, hands included. Carefully open the movement. The top of the movement is “press-fit”, so by slightly lifting the tabs on the sides, while applying an upward force, you can open the top. Be careful - you may end up dropping all the wheels. Do it on a flat surface like the dining table so the tiny wheels will not drop somewhere.It is easy to break the retaining tabs, so do not lift them outwards too hard. It is a good idea to take a pic with a digital camera of the insides, so you know where everything was before you mucked around with it. To make the clock go reverse, essentially, you need to reverse the motor magnet. The magent is a little U shaped piece of metal which slides inside the coil.To reach the magnet, you will need to remove a couple of wheels, including the small one with a magnet which is within the pole pieces of the magnet.Carefully slide out the magnet, flip it 180 degrees and slide it back inside the coil. Now replace the wheels you removed, and assemble the movement back together. Your reverse clock movement is ready! Test it out by attaching the seconds hand, and putting in the battery. It should turn anti-clockwise. You can poke a suitable hole using a heated old scissors, in the lid of the plastic container and mount the movement. For a pretty dial, I stuck an old CD on top. I like it without any numbers, but if you want, you can stick on, or print the reverse dial on the CD. To make the container sit stably, I made a stand by poking in some stiff GI wire. Alternatively, you can glue some piece of plastic or wood to make a stand.


Reply 8 years ago on Step 2

Thankyou for your question.

To remove the hands, just gently pull them from the clock, away from the spindle. They will come away with minimal force.
It they are really stuck, then perhaps put something under the connection. between the face and the hands and gently lever them up.

I hope your clock ticks backwards :)

nisith bose

8 years ago on Introduction

About the Maker Nisith Bose was born on 1st July, 1961 in Puri Town, popularly known as Jagannath Dham, Orissa. His father Suresh Chandra Sinha was a city watch maker of repute and his mother is a housewife. He studied at different schools and colleges of the state of Orissa and later went to Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore’s Shantiniketan for higher study. He completed his MA Degree in English Language and Literature in the year 1984. At Shantiniketan his teachers were late Dr. Sisir Kumar Ghose and Dr. Saurin Mitra. After completion of M.A. degree he started his career as a journalist and worked mostly for Oriya regional dallies like Sambad, Pragativadi, Paryabekhyak and Sambad Kalika. He is a satirist and a popular columnist and has many popular published columns to his credit. For his contribution to Oriya literature, he has been awarded several times by many reputed cultural organizations of the state of Orissa. Nisith Bose claims that he had invented The Reverse Clock in the year 1998. Why Reverse Clock? Since 1991, soon after I quite my job as a sub-editor for news desk of Pragativadi, an Oriya daily newspaper published from Bhubaneswar, I decided to be in the world of tick-tocks. As it was a childhood dream for me, I preferred to turn the time hands in left direction to defy tradition. Much before I set myself for the renovation, I had sound knowledge about the Universal Magnetic Field. That, the earth acts like a huge magnet with its axis inclined at about 11 to the axis of rotation and the magnetic poles being on Bothia Peninsula and South Victoria Land. Gradually, I learned about the irregularities which occurred due to the presence of intense electric current in the upper atmosphere and local magnetization of rock strata. I also learned about the 67’s discovery which claimed of isolated magnetic poles. For further enquiry, I went through the laws invented by Ohm. The Only task which I undertook was to reverse the magnetic field. However, after a long innovative renovation I did it. It was during the morning hour of 26th February, 1998 the new watch was born and broke the age old concept of time. In the interview with The Asian Age, which held a few hours after the birth of the new clock, I said, “I knew about Einstein’s Theory of Relativity which explores the possibility of traveling back in time.” Because during renovation, I have thought a lot about the mechanical and philosophical sides of the work. As the concept of time is relative, it should not move in one direction. In my opinion, the perennial TIME stands still. Watches we use in day to day life is mere a device. It was invented for commercial use of time. The perennial TIME is perhaps the biggest concept. It is perhaps bigger than the space. Thus, it has either no direction or it has many directions. Take one example. From a certain point if somebody moves towards north so time runs in that direction for him. On the other hand if one moves towards south so time obviously runs with him in that direction. So I believe that the clock is the result of creative thinking of a writer. What I actually claim is that if it can move in the right direction, it can also move in the left direction and that is what exactly I have been observing in the character of TIME. When I say, possibility of traveling back in time, I am consciously aiming at an added insight. I don’t say we shall move backward physically rather if we could reverse our mentality and try to ponder about the past and veered our interest towards history so that the entire exercise of looking back may save us from moral as well as spiritual decay. The act of reversing the time hands has given me much pain because the germs of the age old concept of time have entered the tissues of my body and have danced with my pulses. But as there was no other possible way, I took the only alternative I had before me. Good or bad, sooner or later the concept of reversing the time hands is totally new on the globe and it is being cultivated for the first time in the soil of Orissa, the land of Lord Jagannath. I claim the incident should be recorded in different books of record for future reference. 26th Feb, 1998 An Asian Age coverage Reversal of hands trace time of ancient mariner By Sanjay Nath Bhubaneswar, March 6,1998 : He prefered the hands to defy tradition : to trace their way backward. For Mr. Nisith Bose, a writer by profession, turning time hands in an anti-clock route was a childhood dream. Bose new about Einstein’s Thoery of Relativity which explores the possibility of travelling back in time. He realised that science had not sufficiently explored it.He believed that the idea is not just confined to the imagination of writers like H G wells who toyed with the concept in the classic novel, The Time Machine and he was convinced that he could translate theory into reality. he has invented a clock that moves anti-clockwise and gives accurate time. Bose, a Post Gratuate in English from Shantiniketan explains his invention to curious visitors. The Anti Clock is not the offspring of the brain of a scientific genius, claims bose, but the result of creative thinking of a writer. His point is seconded by his educational background. He does not boast of a degree in science.Learnig the rudiments of the job was a self taught task. He decided to move away from academics to a world of tick -tocks. Bose quite his job as a lecturer at Rani Sukadei Women’s College to start a watch shop near CRP square in Bhubaneswar, Orissa. Custmers gradually trickled in and he fingered the hands for an added insight. He tinkered around with watches of all shapes and makes till he understood the inner story and logic of its machanism. The unusal watch is the result of four years of innovative renovation as he chooses to level his achievement. Born in Puri Dham in Orissa, Bose believed that the concept of time is relative. It changes with situations, moods and people. The clock forced him to ponder about the past and veered his interest towards history. “Ancient time may not have been similar to how the immagination of people colours it,”says Bose. But the entire exercise of looking back is educative, he claims. His belief : Hindsight helps one remeber one’s root. After changing hands, the lectture is all set now to check out the basic instinct of the ancient mariner.


8 years ago on Introduction

My clock alteration was successful! I made my clockface to be just mirrored. It's confusing to read, and awesome. I've been wanting a Counterclock for a long time, thanks for the 'ible! One thing I noticed is that reversing the electromagnet core seems to have drastically reduced the power of the movement. In order to get mine to keep running, I had to clip a couple inches off the second hand. When it came around to 6, "climbing the hill" to 9, it'd just sit there and pathetically wiggle the second hand. I was able to duplicate this behavior at will by turning the clock to force the movement to run the second hand "uphill". Fortunately, clipping a couple inches off the second hand was a cheap fix, but I'm glad I wasn't too attached to a full-length second hand. I don't really understand how reversing the core makes it go backwards. I'd understand if we flipped the coil or reversed the magnet on the tiny little impeller, but nothing makes any sense as to why flipping the core over will reverse the direction. Anyone know?


9 years ago on Introduction

Isn't it easier if I solder out the end of the copper wires and swap them? You don't have to use super glue at all.

2 replies

Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

It doesn't work reversing the wires or reversing the entire coil, it's the metal part that makes the clock tick forward.


 you could always try...but I would be of the mind that soldering something so small would place high likelihood of failure, and also, where did I say to use superglue? I do not recall. Also, it is the reversal of the rod between the coil, not the coil itself. But, as this is your life and not mine, please feel free to try. I'm not having a dig at your or anything. DO IT DO IT DO IT! :)