Chernobyl Clock

Cold Cathode Display as seen on the mini-series Chernobyl


The inspiration for this clock has many sources. Most recently the TV mini-series Chernobyl. This type of display can be seen in episode 5 when the nuclear scientists are attempting to gain control of Chernobyl's reactor #4. In the series, this type of display is used to display the core temperature of reactor #4 and the time.


This clock isn't perfect . . . on purpose. There are blemishes, imperfect corners and discoloration. The clock was designed using a Japanese world view called wabi-sabi. Wabi-sabi is based on the acceptance of transience and imperfection. Characteristics of the wabi-sabi aesthetic include asymmetry, roughness, simplicity, economy, austerity, modesty, intimacy, and appreciation of the ingenuous integrity of natural objects and processes.


This clock uses Russian IN-12 Nixie Tubes. These tubes were introduced in 1955 and were the precursor to what we know today as the LED. These tubes display numerals or other information using glow discharge. These tubes resemble a vacuum tube in appearance, however, its operation does not depend on thermionic emission of electrons from a heated cathode.

how it is made

Each clock is carefully soldered and the tubes are mounted on a circuit board. A concrete enclosure is then made to house the circuit and the tubes. It is powered by a 12v DC power adapter.

The clock is programmable. It displays the current date and time in 12 or 24 hour modes.


Chernobyl Cold Cathode Nixie Clock


Numerals using glow discharge.

Chernobyl Cold Cathode Nixie Clock


Concrete enclosure.

Chernobyl Cold Cathode Clock


Russian IN-12 Nixie Tubes

Get One

Each clock is hand-made. If you are interested in one, please contact me using the form below.