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By Jon Ellis

Price $150

I purchased this clock after discovering it via eBay. This is one of the nicest clocks I've seen in a long time. The PCB is exposed at the bottom and the only real frame is a piece of plastic with the name etched in the back. What makes this clock rock are the features. First of all, your name is encoded in the firmware upon purchase. There is no way to change this and it provides a level of security beyond a serial number. Hopefully, you never need it :)

The actual display pattern are determined by software. You can have it wipe the display every minute from any direction, fade the digits, etc. The display brightness can either be set manually or you can use the built in light sensor to adjust the display according to ambient conditions.

This clock is a Numitron based display. Numitrons are display tubes that are fundamentally different than Nixie tubes of VFD tubes. The display is formed using the standard 7-segment pattern but the elements are actually little filaments like one would find in a flashlight or other incandescent bulb. They are low voltage / low current devices that had a short lived popularity until they were replaced by LED displays.

Full description, video, and more photos after the jump.

NixiChron by Jeff Thomas

By Jeff Thomas / Resonant Instruments LLC

Kit w/o Tubes $299

Assembled w/o Tubes $349


This is my clock.  I am the proud owner of the last one made according to the creator himself.  The display in this clock is a Russian Nixie tube called an IN-18 / ИН-18.  This is a really odd display.  There are 10 filaments inside of the tube.  Each one is shaped in the form of a number.  The tube is then filled with neon gas and a little bit of mercury to prevent cathode poisoning.    When ~180vdc is applied to one of the numbers, it glows.

Six of the IN-18 / ИН-18 tubes are used to display the time.  Like the Scope Clock, the time is set via GPS but a built in clock keeps the clock going when a signal cannot be located.  The tubes are some of the largest that were produced in quantity which adds a collector value to the clock.  Since they do wear out, I have a second set stored in a hard Pelican case.

Jeff Thomas IN-18 NIXIECHRON clock


As of 7/22/2009, the clock is once again for sale. It is now being offered fully assembled for $349 or as a kit for $299.  If you're looking for an IN-18 clock, this is the one to get! http://www.amug.org/~jthomas/nixikit.html


NixiChron Kit

Thanks to Michael for the update!



Nocrotec Sylvia Clock

By Dieter Wächter / Nocrotec

Price $299


This clock is based on Vacuum Fluorescent Display tubes.  They are a seven-segment based display like most led clocks but these are quite a bit different.  For starters, this clock costs nearly 100x as much as your normal department store clock.  The digits have a beautiful cyan color and the design of the tube allows you to see the inner workings.  Image and brief description are from Nocrotec




- Digit height: 0.6″ (15mm)
- 12/24h mode
- Date in configuration DD.MM.YY or MM.DD.YY
- Leading zero suppression: The leading zero can be blanked or shown
- Cross fading: different modes to fade the digits from one number to the next
- Alarm clock
- Power down mode: tubes and supply can be totally switched off for a user programmed period in order to save energy and increase life expectancy of the tubes
- 12VDC input voltage
- Time is battery buffered when no line power is available; battery will last for more than 10 years
- User settings are always stored
- Case made of massive cherry wood and shiny black anodized aluminum as used for high-end audio equipment.

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