Thing Creation: Rock Clock

What do you do when an attempt to fix your childhood watch results in breaking parts of it? For me, the obvious answer was turning it into a little desk clock by encasing it in rocks from a local river, where I recently went gold panning with a friend. We didn’t find any gold, but my friend collected a large handful of interesting rocks for me.

The guts of the watch were still good, so to start with I cut a strip of cardboard and turned it into an open cylinder. In one side I mounted the watch, and in the other I stuck a lid from an old film container that happened to be precisely the same size. Then I started gluing on the rocks. It took a while, and I had to do it in stages over the course of several hours to let the glue set before I added more rocks. Just for fun I also added a pewter trout that I got as a souvenir somewhere (I don’t remember where).


The ring around the watch face is a piece of magnesium ribbon, of which I have around 700 feet (why? why not?). Over that is a clear piece of plastic cut from a package of AA batteries.


From most angles, it looks like a single pile of rocks. But I was careful to build it up in two halves, so the film container lid could be removed to access the watch’s battery. Even without the rear section, the clock’s base is stable.


It also has a special hidden feature. The compartment behind the watch face stores a small “key” I made from a paper clip, which turns on the backlight when inserted into a small gap in the side of the clock. The backlight switch is what I was trying to fix when I broke things.



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