In the beginning there was the universe but Time hadn't been invented- not enough time yet. Then the universe invented the first humans (Homo Originalis) but Time still hadn't been invented. However, evolution favoured those who didn't try walking around in the dark woods through the simple evolutionary filter of not being eaten, not walking into trees and not falling down holes. And so, man invented the night as well as the day and Homo Bidayus became superior and Homo Originalis died out. Once early humans had invented time, evolutionary pressure favoured those who had breakfast then dinner then tea and so Homo Mealsus arose. Eventually Time became more important and early humans started to praise and live by the unspoken word of the God of Time, Horus (from which we derive our word hour, from an unfortunate typo on a cave wall painting). Further evolution led to our modern humans but unfortunately they were now destined over Time to go down an evolutionary cul-de-sac. Time was assumed to be infinite. However, humans had subdivided it so much there was no longer enough Time in the day. Man tried to get faster to catch up, but Time was quickly running out and human legs couldn't keep up with the increased pace of modern life. Something had to give.

It needed someone with vision to recover the Time we had lost. A hero, a visionary, a leader. That's not me, but this is maybe the beginning of Time's recovery. Homo Microsecundi everywhere, this is your chance to regain the Time you have lost by slowing down and using Time in a much more chilled out way. Slow down, you're moving too fast, you got to make the morning last.

It's about time something was done about Time.Tempus? Fugit, that's what I say.

This is all about the about time! watch.

What do we need to regain our free Time?

A donor Homo Microsecundus watch

A magnifying glass or jeweller's eye glass/loupe (you'll need this most of the time)

Some tweezers

A small screwdriver or knife

A printout of your new clock face (details enclosed)

A paper gluestick

White glue

Some spare Time

A new beginning

And anything else I've forgotten to put in this list.

Step 1: Access your Homo Microsecundus timepiece innards and neutralise its timekeeping abilities

It's about time! watch.
It's about time! watch.
It's about time! watch.

And so it begins, no time to waste. Firstly, take your time obsessed Homo Microsecundus watch and prepare it for the next stage of evolution- remove the back using a screwdriver or a knife. There will usually be some sort of indent where you can place the knife or screwdriver to lever it off.

Your Homo Microsecundus timepiece will possibly have some sort of removable plastic inner skeleton which will simply pull out leaving behind the mechanism.

Remove the battery, placing your Homo Microsecundus timepiece into suspended animation in an out-of-time alternative universe.

Do not try to remove the mechanism yet. For that you will need to go to step 2.

Step 2: Disembowel your donor timepiece

It's about time! watch.
It's about time! watch.
It's about time! watch.
It's about time! watch.
It's about time! watch.

Before the mechanism can be removed, you will need to remove the winder. Trying to remove the mechanism without removing the winder will result in one of those watches that are exactly right twice a day, or an infinite number of times a day depending where you stand on multiverses.

Removing the winder is easy once you know how. It will be held in by a springy locking tab where it enters the mechanism, usually with a little dot on it, as shown in the picture above by the yellow arrow. You will need to press down on this with a needle or opened out paper clip whilst gently pulling the winder out, hopefully in one piece. If it's in two pieces or more, then I'd count that as a fail and you'll need to look for a new donor, though you can chalk this one down to experience. Alternatively, you could use that mechanism for a random time watch for those obsessed with living a more Bohemian, devil-may-care life of unfettered time constraints. That's not me, I still have some time needs left.

Once the winder has been removed, the inner mechanism will be free to roam and should pretty much just drop out. Just be careful not to damage the hands. As Max Bygraves sang- you need hands. Or as the Germans say, you need Hans. Funnily enough, women are always telling me to watch where I put my hands. Good advice, I'd say.

Step 3: Remove the hands

It's about time! watch.

This is the stage where Homo Microsecundi everywhere will break out into a cold sweat, as they see their species dying out in front of their very own eyes.

Removing the hands is a delicate process (ask any surgeon) and here you need to be careful, firstly not to damage the hands and secondly not to see them flying off to infinity, never to be seen again.

Use a well lit work area (if necessary, light another candle) and use the magnifying glass/jeweller's loupe.

You can buy special hand removal tools, but as they cost more than the watch I thought I'd wing it. I used two small knife blades each side of the hand centres and gently levered them off, whilst using a spare finger to hold the hands down so they didn't fly off into carpet hell. The order is important- second hand first, then minutes, then hours. Place them into something which won't get knocked over or lost and where they can be easily found again.

Step 4: Prepare your new face

It's about time! watch.
It's about time! watch.
It's about time! watch.

You need to prepare yourself a new watch face. This can be done beforehand if you're organised, during if you're not. After is not recommended and may prove to be too late.

The new watch face will simply be glued over the old watch face. Why not use the old watch face? You can, but it will make it easier to estimate the time with an unerring accuracy of about 5 minutes if you redesign it. My designs have the hour markers and then five sub-markers for 10s of minutes. If you don't replace the face, the old minute markers will now be worth 12 minutes each. That's time inflation for you, similar to what might have driven the Big Bang and you wouldn't really want that to happen again quite so soon.

To make your own watch face, you will need a suitable drawing package. I used Inkscape as I belong to Linus, the land of the free, but you can use Illustrator if you are a follower of Bill the Demon or Mac the Knife. Why use a drawing package and not a paint package? It makes the rotating and placing of the markers easier. Secondly, it means it can be resized at any time without worrying about losing resolution or getting the dreaded jaggies.

To make the face using a drawing package:

1) Measure the radius of the circle you need for the watch face and place down a circle.

2) Centre a smaller marker circle in the middle which you will use as a centre of rotation and as a reference to where to eventually cut out the middle.

3) Now place the hour marker of your choice in the 12 o'clock position (circle, dots, bars, triangles or smiley faces). Move the rotation point to the centre marker and clone and rotate by 30degrees (360degs/12) and repeat until you've got all the hour markers. There should be twelve unless you're a Mayan or a Martian. I then grouped all the hour markers and moved them out of the way temporarily.

4) Then make the 10s of minutes markers. Place down your minutes marker of choice at the 12 o'clock spot and repeat the procedure 3) as used for the hours hands but make it rotate by 5 degrees (use Three Degrees if you want more soul in your watch). Keep going until you've done the full circle and then group the minutes markers.

5) Now grab the circles and hours and minute markers and centre align them with the hours on top of the minutes. Easy!

6) Group the face and duplicate a few times on a sheet to allow for the inevitable cutting out errors and then print out a sheet on thin (the thinner the better) photo-quality gloss paper.

Alternatively, feel free to download my graphic files and resize them if needed.The png or bmp files are capable of being used for a wall clock if necessary. The svg files are for Inkscape and can be made as big as Big Ben or as small as a hydrogen atom if you like.

As you can tell from later pics, I have new faces in black and white as well as white and black. I like both but feel free to use whatever colours you like, although I don't recommend infrared unless you're a gold fish. If you are a goldfish, this watch is useless anyway. Firstly, it's not waterproof and secondly, by the time you come round to reading it again, you'll already have forgotten what time it is.

Now, prepare the face for adding to your your watch in the next step. Cut out your new face with some scissors. To cut out the centre hole for the hands, you can use a hole punch of some sort. I used one for putting holes in leather. If you haven't got a hole punch, good luck in using scissors or a scalpel but I suspect it'll end in tears and disaster. Maybe even a trip to Casualty. Or Emergency Ward 10 if you're older.

It's about time! watch.
Its About Time Clockface 1.svg441 KB
It's about time! watch.
Its About Time pocket Watchface Black 1.svg47 KB

Step 5: Fix your new face over the old one.

It's about time! watch.

So, you've cut out your new face and checked it fits and it's now time to fix it to the donor watch.

Some don'ts and a do. I tried a few ways to fix it which resulted in disaster. The first was superglue. Unfortunately it seeped into the gloss paper and showed through so my nice new face looked like it had acne. Same result for contact cement. I didn't even try hot glue gun glue. What do you think I am? Stupid or something?

In the end, I found a paper glue stick applied to the old face worked perfectly. No glue showed through and a little bit of removabilty if you make a disaster of positioning. Using your magnifying glass when putting the new face on also helps.

The important thing to do when you are placing the new face on is to make sure the hour markers are centred on the old hour markers and that the centre hole is centred on the clock hands spigots, assuming you want the watch face to be centred when replaced into the case.

Also, if you are putting a black face onto a white face, it's probably better to use an indelible marker to black out the centre of the white face before putting the black face on or else you'll get a little white ring in the centre. Alternatively, you could call it a design feature, like I did.

Step 6: Make up your new hand.

It's about time! watch.

Again there is some personal choice and creativity here. To make some sense of your new timepiece it's best to make the hour hand longer somehow so it points to the 10s of minutes markers with a little bit of accuracy.

Because I was placing my hands (which were black) on a black background, I used the seconds hand which I glued to the hours hand, but with the centre facing out. As I was using the second hand, I had to remove the axle which is attached to it. To remove this, I use a pair of nail clippers on it, which I also used to make it an appropriate length. I also painted the end a flourescent orange so I could get the hidden hand look when it is on the watch face.

When gluing the new hands together it's good to use a magnifying glass.

To glue the extended second hand to the hour hand, I tried superglue first but failed to get a good join. So instead I dropped some white glue onto a piece of paper and then ran the second hand over it lightly so it got a light coating of glue on the back. I then attached this to the hour hand top surface at an appropriate length, which worked well. It's not fallen off yet, so I count that as a success, unless it's fallen off in the last hour or so as I've not looked recently. Maybe I should rename it Schroedinger's clock? There's definitely a lot of uncertainty about this Instructable and not all of it is at a quantum level.

Step 7: Now replace the new modified hour hand.

It's about time! watch.

Now simply replace the new hour hand onto the new clock face. However, this isn't necessarily as easy as it might appear. To not damage your new hand, use the tweezers and put the hand in place. The use a small screwdriver or knife to gently push it onto its spigot by gently pushing around the edges of the middle bit.

Or you could buy a hand replacement tool. As these are exactly the same as the hand removal tool, they cost the same but you only need one or the other.

At this stage, just check the hand is clear of the new face (hence the earlier warning to use thin gloss printer paper). If not, use a bit of gentle bending up of the hand whilst holding it on at the centre to its spigot. It won't need much force or bending so just take care. Treat it like you'd treat you favourite, most precious clock hand and you'll be ok.

What do you do with the spare minute hand? Well, you could use it instead of the second hand to extend the hour hand and refit the second hand for it's intended purpose. That should confuse any cheapskates who rely on sneaking peeks at your watch instead of buying their own. It also acts as an indicator to you if your watch has stopped, a disadvantage of the non-second hand watch design which I plan to take care of in the mk2 version by fitting a suitably large acoustic horn to the back so you can hear it ticking.

Step 8: Now replace the mechanism in the watch.

It's about time! watch.

Now place the mechanism back into the watch, and replace everything in reverse order. To replace the winder, just align the mechanism with the winder hole and the winder should just push in with a satisfying click. However, it won't do any harm to hold down the locking clip the same as when you removed it. You can check it works at this stage by changing the time. If the time doesn't change, then you've not done it right.

Now, replace the battery, the inner plastic mounting clip and the back.

You are now ready for the final step- working out what the hell the time is. That will take time and a lowering of your expectations of the meaning of exactness regarding Time itself. It also will have an element of anti-quantumness about it. Unlike quantum phenomena, it doesn't matter when you look at it, it'll still be in multiple states. In fact, if Schroedinger had given his cat one of these, it still wouldn't have known the time when it may have died.

To work out the time, just look at the hours marker and then how many 10s markers it is. If it's half way between 10s markers you can judge it to about 5 minutes of accuracy or 1/288th of a day. That's good enough for me- who's counting?

Step 9: The final step- regain your control over Time.

It's about time! watch.
It's about time! watch.
It's about time! watch.
It's about time! watch.

Now you can set the time using whatever method you choose- sundial (not recommended at night), speaking clock, train announcement, t'internet, the National Physics Laboratory or your local church clock. The important thing is not to worry about accuracy, you won't be able to read it to much more than about 5 minutes anyway, give or take a day.

However, you will now no longer need to worry about being late as you'll always be there about time and if someone asks you the time, you can now with 100% and six sigma accuracy say "It's about...". If someone says, "What time do you call this?" in menacing tones, you can say it's about time. It also gets less stressful waiting for a bus or train as they are usually now on time, roughly speaking.

You'll also notice my other pictures of my "It's about time" wristwatch. This was done exactly the same but was a bit more fiddly. It took about the same time, as measured by the first watch and is about as accurate. In this case, the wrist is my own and is unmodified, with both my original hands still attached. I use it to recapture the time I lost in making it and find I can gain as much as 25 hours back every day despite the occasionally lost weekend.

Enjoy your new time on this earth as a Homo Laidbackus and spend your new freedom from excessive time slavery wisely.

HEALTH WARNING: Do not use to measure pulse rate. A false reading may result in an incorrect diagnosis of death and can lead to unwarranted burial or cremation, with their attendant negative side effects on your personal well-being. Also, not recommended for Guinness Book of Records timed speed attempts or Tour de France time trials.

Finally, I hope you liked my Instructable enough to vote for it, but more importantly I hope it made you enthusiastic enough to make one. I can see it making a really good basis for a Steampunk project or a wall clock. Please send me a pic if you do make one!


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