Nixie-based tube clocks

UPDATE: not 5 minutes after this was posted, the item sold

Jeff Thomas has put one of his rare nixie watches up for sale on eBay for $500. To the best of my knowledge, this is the only 4 digit nixie clock on the market.  It is slightly larger than the David Forbes design but it appears to be narrower and is enclosed in a clear acrylic case.  As bet as I can tell in my research, this is the original nixie watch design.

Jeff Thomas Nixie Watch

From the auction:

Background: thirty five of these watches were assembled in 2001. Now nine years later, I revisited the original design.

I had completed a small production of six watches this week.  This is the one remaining watch, and is being offered on ebay.

Shipping will be by USPS Priority Mail in the USA.  International shipping will be USPS Express Mail worldwide.

Jeff Thomas Nixie Watch

(now quit reading and go buy it!)


  • The Auction
  • The Seller I have personally purchased from him and I can verify that this is his real eBay account.

Ebay Find: Giant Nixie Tube Digital Clock - 4 B-7971 Display Tubes

Price: Currently $102 / Ends May 07, 201003:05:36 PDT

Here is a great clock I found while doing my daily scour for gadgets on eBay.  It is a 4 digit B7971 clock that was home-made but it looks quite nice.  Given that the tubes alone have gone for as high as $80/each recently, I can't imagine this clock selling for less that $350.  I've got to keep an eye on this one; I'm already jealous of whoever buys it.


4 digit B7971 Clock

From the auction:

The first of twelve digital clocks I built using B-7971 Giant Nixie Tubes
(This is also the last one in my posession)

The Clock Chip used is Fairchild's 7002, BCD output.

A cmos Logic circuit was designed so unique digits could be created.
(Note in the picture the unique shape of the 3,4,& 7 characters)

The cabinet measements are approximately 14" x 7" x 6"

These clocks & display tubes have a very long life expetency.

(Never had a failure of the 12 I built)
I will include any spec. sheets I can find for the components used in this item.
This clock was once used in a home with a smoker but cleaning and time has removed 99% of the related odor.

4 digit B7971 Clock

4 digit B7971 Clock


ZM1040 Nixie Clock / Mapsevoli

$999 USD


Mapsevoli, Inc. ZM1040 Nixie Clock

I found this great Philips ZM1040 based nixie clock while doing my normal searches and wanted to share it.  The major features are the fading digits and the on board potentiometer for adjusting the drift / clock accuracy.  That might be a little hard to use in practice but it is a feature that I don't think I've seen elsewhere.  All of this is enclosed in an acrylic case to allow every detail of the inner workings to be seen.  The one thing that I really like above all else is the fact that the tubes are the centerpiece of this clock and not the housing.  If I had an extra $1000, I'd get one without question!


Mapsevoli, Inc. ZM1040 Nixie Clock

From the site:

This is a limited edition run of a professionally-made nixie clock that can utilize the beautiful Philips ZM1040 tubes. A small number of these clocks have been made by a collector who wishes to share the beauty of these tubes with the world. If you like orange, glowing digits in retro-style tubes, you won't find a more attractive clock anywhere.

The circuit board was designed by a perfectionist with an eye for simplicity and elegance. The majority of the circuit is comprised of high quality, surface-mount components with only two through-hole ICs. The clock utilizes a microcontroller for its time-keeping with a crystal oscillator which can be adjusted using an on-board potentiometer to improve accuracy. The clock software also features cross-fading so that you can watch the digits slowly fade from one to the next for a really cool effect.

Setting the time involves the simple operation of two buttons at the rear of the clock. 24-hour or 12-hour display is selectable via a jumper on the circuit board.

The clock is encased in a sturdy, custom-made plexi-glass cabinet, which displays the inner circuitry for all to see. The tubes are socketed in 84 individual steel socket pins, providing a nice retro finish.

The power is drawn from an ordinary 12V DC wall adapter. A 110V version is supplied with the clock and a 220V version is available.

The clock includes all of the following:

  • Nixie clock in plexi-glass cabinet
  • 110V/12V AC/DC wall adapter
  • Instruction manual
  • 6 ZM1040 or similar tubes (currently using Z566 tubes)

The clock case measures 8.5 inches wide, 3.5 inches deep and 4.5 inches tall. The ZM1040 tubes included measure over 2.5 inches from end-to-end and the digits are over 1.25 inches tall! The life-expectancy of these tubes is estimated to be 10 years.


Mapsevoli, Inc. ZM1040 Nixie Clock

by Joe Croft /

Price: $160 (kit), $399 (fully built)



Joe Croft sent in his NixieNeon clock.  What I really like about this kit is simply the number of neon bulbs and the use of less-common green neon bulbs as well.  The manual itself is worth reading through.  Clearly lots of work went in to designing this device.  (Apparently the original intent was not to use a single processor!)

The software itself is open source under the GPL license.  The core of the clock is based on an Arduino bootloader and library.

As far as the description of the operation goes, I won't try to paraphrase his description from the site:

The NixieNeon is a nixie tube clock designed with ring counters built using neon bulbs to allow the viewer to see the electronics perform the actual counting of time. This electronics kit offers the builder a glimpse back in time before semiconductors became inexpensive and plentiful. The Hour of the day is displayed using the twelve neon bulbs (the hour ring) circling the two 2 nixie tube digits which represent the minutes. The 4 green neon bulbs are for showing the positions for 12, 3, 6 and nine o'clock. They also blink to give a pendulum effect while the clock is operating.



See it in action:


Go to top
JSN Boot template designed by