This Incredibly Stylish Clock Might Require Some Math Skills To Figure Out, But It's Worth It

May 21, 2015 By Christi Mulligan

Cited by the Italian mathematician Fibonacci, in his book, Liber Abaci, the aptly named Fibonacci sequence was introduced to Western European mathematics in 1202. Even though it was cited in earlier, Indian math, Fibonacci was the one who made the introduction and the name stuck. The sequence itself is built off the idea that the next number in the sequence is the sum of the previous two. For example, the first five numbers are as follows: 1, 1, 2, 3, 5.

Philippe Chrétien, from Montreal, Canada, noticed that these numbers are all you need to express all the numbers from 1-12, and he realized these were all the digits needed to express the positions on a clock. He then took this idea one step further – he created a clock that is based upon the sequence that can be used to tell time to the nearest five minutes. The gentle changing colors resemble the calming ambiance of a lava lamp but also keeps those in need of the time on their toes.

So, the squares on the side lengths equal 1, 1, 2, 3, 5. Looking at a colorless rectangle, the following is true: 

1x1 square = 1 (there are two of these in the rectangle)
2x2 = 2 (the third largest square)
3x3 = 3 (the second largest square)
5x5 = 5 (the largest square)

After that is understood, you must then look at the colors, since the squares are then lit according to color code. To tell the hour, it is simple – count the number of red squares. Green squares are the number of minutes (in increments of five). The color blue makes things a bit tricky. For every blue square, add one to the number of hours and minutes. White squares are ignored.


For an example, see the explanation and image below.

1x1 square = 1 (one is red, the other is white)
2x2 = 2 (green)
3x3 = 3 (blue)
5x5 = 5 (red)

So that is 1 red + 5 red
2 green
3 blue

Remember blue is added to both hours and minutes, so this means:

6 red + 3 blue
2 green + 3 blue

9 red
5 green


9 is the hour and the minutes are in 5-minute increments (so 5 x 5 = 25)

The time is 9:25

The project is currently on Kickstarter and has reached its initial goal.

Via: The Guardian | Philippe Chretien/Kickstarter

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