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Three Must Have Clocks for the Retrofuturist

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Arguably one of the most asked questions in the world is probably “What is the time?”

Whether we realise it or not, rather ironically we actually spend quite a lot of our time checking what time it is. Clocks and watches are integral to our lives; it’s how we run our day to day activities. So why not put a bit more retrofuturism into your day with these three marvellous clocks.

Steampunk Clock by Bad Dog Designs – First up we have this awesome Steampunk clock made with old test equipment and Nixie tubes. These are large tubes that look like light bulbs, they contain multiple cathodes shaped like numbers and are layered on top of each other. When a certain cathode is powered the number will light up with an orange glow, similar to a neon light. The tubes are connected to a time device and lined up to show the minutes and hours as well as any modern digital clock. As you can see these are attached to a box decorated with metal gears, pipes and other pieces to give it that Victorian Industrial feel.  Bad Dog Designs is a UK based designer, though he has pieces made for general sale, most of his work is commissioned, that means there are no specific prices for his pieces. You can get a good view of them and his other work through his website.

Tesla Watch by ThinkGeek – Inspired by the work of the pioneering inventor and scientist Nikola Tesla, this watch is perfect for the 19th Century inspired man (or woman) on the go. It sports an analogue face, a fine brown leather strap and all metal parts of the watch are given a worn brass appearance to further drive home its Steampunk theme. What really makes the watch stand out though are the two faux vacuum tubes that sit above the face. In the tubes there are LEDs that light up the coils, these can be switched on and off with an authentic looking switch that sits between them. Just to top it all off the watch comes with a winding key that’s used to adjust the time, there’s also a spare just in case you lose one during a hectic experiment. This item is a ThinkGeek exclusive and is priced at $69.99.

Cyberpunk Wristwatch by Johngineer – Unfortunately this watch is more of a concept design, Johngineer never made them for sale. That doesn’t stop it from being one of the coolest Cyberpunk watches going though. The watch is designed around a small VFD or vacuum fluorescent display. This is a devise commonly used in consumer devices throughout the 80s that would display numbers or letters on things such as cassette players or microwave ovens. The VFD used here is a Soviet surplus model IVL2-7/5 which is a smaller device intended to run on little power. This is attached to simple, bulky leather strap. The watch looks great, but it is slightly impractical, it’s powered by a AA battery which only manages to give a few hours of power before it’s used up.