# Oh Brother, Would You Look At This Cistercian Clock

We were beginning to think we’d seen it all when it comes to RGB clocks, but [andrei.erdei] found a fast path back into our hearts and minds. This clock is a digital representation of an ancient numeral system used by 13th century Cistercian monks before the Indo-Arabic system that we know and love today took over. It’s a compact system (at least for numbers 1-9,999) that produces numerals which sort of look like 16-segment displays gone crazy.

Every numeral has a line down the middle, and the system uses the four quadrants of space around it to display the ones, tens, hundreds, and thousands positions starting in the upper right corner.

[andrei] adapted the system to show time by assigning tens of hours to the thousands quadrant in the bottom left, hours to the hundreds quadrant in the bottom right, tens of minutes in the upper left, and minutes in the top right. The tricky part is that the system has no zero, but [andrei] just darkens the appropriate quadrant to represent zero.

The timekeeping is done with an ESP-01, and there are a total of 31 RGB LEDs including the middle bit, which blinks like a proper digital clock and doubles as a second hand. As usual, [andrei] has provided everything you’d need to build one of these for yourself. We admit that the system would take a little time to learn, but even if you never bothered to learn, this would make a nice conversation piece or focal point for sitting and staring. Take a minute to check it out in action after the break.

We love a good clock build no matter how it works. Sink your teeth into this clock that’s driven by a tuning fork.

## 18 thoughts on “Oh Brother, Would You Look At This Cistercian Clock”

1. A says:

Predators clock

1. Rumble_in_the_Jungle says:

Nope.

2. Lol I came here to see if this was a comment and I am not disappointed. 😂

3. Ø says:

Glad I’m not the only one

4. Hirudinea says:

The predators were monks!?

1. Ali En says:

Well, I suppose spending all that time on other planets away from their own species makes the celibacy come easy. Wow though, all that gear. If that’s what their ascetic life is like then they sure have mastered being a post-scarcity society!

2. Scoldog says:

Exactly what I was about to post.

Hope it doesn’t have a countdown feature.

1. Thopter says:

“you can use the clock as a stopwatch from a maximum of 9999 seconds by slightly modifying the program (maybe in a future update…)”

3. Danjovic says:

Awesomely built.
Also doable on a 5×7 matrix [1] with ability to display day and month with distinguishable dot patterns.
Worth to mention that the Cistercian numbering system suits very well to a decimal clock [2].

4. Andrew says:

Where’s the “like” button? I like it!

5. volt-k says:

Oh my, agreed.

6. WordAlchemist says:

This kind of creativity makes my day! Also, will likely lose an hour or so reading up on the Cistercian numbering system!

7. Matt Cramer says:

Interesting, I never knew this numbering system existed. It adapts very well to segmented LED displays.

8. Randy says:

*looks at pile of WS2812B strips cut to build exactly this*

Well, at least I don’t have to do the CAD for this anymore! :)

9. L0rdRav3n says:

Is there a schematic for this? or maybe even a kit?

1. L0rdRav3n says:

Nevermind. Didnt see the instructable link.

10. Hirudinea says:

Next, Cistercian watch!

11. Feinfinger (still terribly undercaffeinated) says:

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