If you have even a passing interest in watches and clocks, which we assume is a safe bet, you’ll most likely have seen an astonishing video doing the rounds on social media.
The video centres around an extraordinary wooden clock which writes the time every minute using four magnetic styli and a magnetic drawing board.
— K / $uzuki (@BellTreeNursing) February 7, 2016
The anonymous video, retweeted ad infinitum, gave no clue as to who had created this incredible feat of engineering; was it one of the Swiss independents, the skunkworks of one of the big brands or an established clockmaker looking to the future?
In fact it was none of these, but rather the senior thesis project of 22-year-old design Japanese product design student Kango Suzuki.
Suzuki has been working on his ‘Plock’ – a portmanteau of Plot and Clock – concept since April 2015. He was inspired by writing automata such as Jaquet Droz’s original 18th Century ‘Writer’ or its Signing Machine from 2014.
He fashioned the 407 components such as wheels and cams from plywood with a coping saw and sandpaper, working six days each week on the project. While Suzuki used computer software to design the project, the simulation of the Plock’s movement remained in his head.
The Tohoku University of Art & Design Product Design Department student, who is also a member of Mensa in Japan, has attracted interest both domestically and internationally since the prototype went on display.
While Suzuki has no plans to create a finished product from the prototype he believes it possible to create a smaller example using materials other than wood.