A Different Sort Of Word Clock

Our wonderfully creative community has a penchant for clocks. We have seen so many timepieces over the years that one might suppose that there would be nothing new, no instrument of horology that would not elicit a yawn as we are presented with something we’ve seen many times before.

Every once in a while though along comes a project that is different. A clock that takes the basic idea of a timepiece and manages to present something new, proving that this particular well of projects has not yet quite run dry.

Such a project is the circular word clock made by [Roald Hendriks]. Take a conventional circular wall clock and remove the hands and mechanism, then place LEDs behind the numbers. Add the words for “Quarter”, “Half”, etc. in an inner ring, and place LEDs behind them. Hook all these LEDs up to a microcontroller with a real-time clock, and away you go with a refreshingly novel timepiece.

[Roald]’s clock has the wording in Dutch, and the brain behind it is an Arduino Uno with the relevant driver ICs. He’s provided a video which we’ve put below the break, showing the clock in operation with its various demo modes.


We’ve seen so many word clocks over the years it’s best to give you a stream of them through our word clock tag. It’s good of this one to come along and refresh the genre.

6 thoughts on “A Different Sort Of Word Clock

  1. A small step forgotten in the article as well as on the original project page: one needs to create the face of the clock by yourself. Completely and not only putting a few LEDs behind an existing face after removing the hands and movement. At least the version from the starting Ikea clock I saw had a completely different looking face.
    Other than that, a nice twist on the idea.

    1. Small correction/clarification: in Dutch you start using the next hour of the clock around 20 minutes past the hour (usually in daily speech you round off the minutes to the nearest multiple of 5). So we say:
      10.58-11.02 = “Elf uur” / “Eleven o’clock”
      11.03-11.07 = “Vijf over elf” / “Five past eleven”
      11.08-11.12 = “Tien over elf” / “Ten past eleven”
      11.13-11.17 = “Kwart over elf” / “Quarter past eleven”
      11.18-11.22 = “Tien voor half twaalf” / “Ten before half twelve”
      11.23-11.27 = “Vijf voor half twaalf” / “Five before half twelve”
      11.28-11.32 = “Half twaalf” / “Half twelve”
      11.33-11.37 = “Vijf over half twaalf” / “Five past half twelve”
      11.38-11.42 = “Tien over half twaalf” / “Ten past half twelve”
      11.43-11.47 = “Kwart voor twaalf” / “Quarter to twelve”
      11.48-11.52 = “Tien voor twaalf” / “Ten before twelve”
      11.53-11.57 = “Vijf voor twaalf” / “Five before twelve”
      11.58-12.02 = “Twaalf uur” / “Twelve o’clock” (we don’t say “noon” or “midnight”)
      That explains why the hour changes at 20 past the hour in the video.

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