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Catena Wall Clock Tells Time With Bike Chain

by Paul Strauss

Here’s an unusual concept for a wall clock. Instead of telling the time with hands or a digital display, the Catena clock tells time along the perimeter of a bicycle chain.


Designed by Andreas Dober for Germany’s Anthologie Quartett, the Catena (Latin for “chain”) has a certain retro-steampunk look about it. Time is told using copper digits mounted on the outside of a bike chain that rotates around a single motorized gear. Now don’t bother trying to tell the exact time with this. The only numbers on the chain are the hours, so any attempt to figure out minutes is a crap-shoot.

While I dig the grungy minimalism of the clock, I don’t dig the $2300+ (USD) price tag. But I suppose if you’ve got really deep pockets, you can order one over at Unica Home.

On the other hand, I won’t tell anyone if you decide to make your own out of $20 worth of junk you find at a flea market.

[via Incredible Things]

Comments (10):

  1. Youjustlostthegame says:

    Someone needs to put 4 of these together and make them tell the whole time
    or even five 4 digits one am and pm one. but of course they need to make them extremely cheap first.

    • Mark Comer says:

      Hours and minutes- you’d only need two. Make the gears coaxial, hours on outer gear and minutes in five minute intervals on inner gear.

  2. Sarreq Teryx says:

    “The only numbers on the chain are the hours, so any attempt to figure out minutes is a crap-shoot.”
    That depends, how many chain links are between each of the hour numerals, you could probably suss it out that way.

  3. jc says:

    Is it Cantena or Catena? You’re using both spellings.

  4. Lee says:

    has anyone figured out how to make this?

  5. Mark Comer says:

    Double the length of the chain to make a 24 hour clock.

  6. Andrew says:

    I’m planning on making one, using a high torque movement from ebay, not sure if that is necessary but the chain must weigh something, the gear im thinking of hacking up a six tooth mini bike sprocket so with six links per hour one revolution will equal one hour on the clock, each link is ten minutes…. looking at around $40 for those parts from ebay(obvs this is the non mechanically inclined way of doing it)

    • your mama says:

      I too thought of this but realize even a high torque clock movement is only designed to rotate balanced light-weight clock arms (even if they can go to 17″ long!). Your idea of a #35 chain mini bike sprocket and chain will most likely yield the best results. As far as minutes, just put white-out on the chain knockout pins and space them accordingly.

    • callum says:

      Hi just seeing if you got it to work I want to make one as well just seeing if I can get what you made it all out of and how well it worked if thats ok. thanks callum

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