A Mondrian Style Clock

Mondrian Clock


Every 10 seconds a new random pattern is selected to display the time in one of the 3 methods below.

You choose the method you prefer.

Displlay Time 3 ways

Random Hour, Mondrian ––––––––– Traditional Hour, Mondrian–––––––––– TimeArt Mode

All Modes are displaying same time.

Mondrian–Random Hour, uses colors –– 5 +1 : 20 + 4 or 6:24

Mondrian – Traditional Hour, simplifies reading by using the position of Red for the hour

TimeArt uses the position of the Yellow & White for hour & 5's of minutes, Greens are minutes

This is just a teaser of information. See Instructions for the details

Time Portal Instructions (preliminary) pdf

The History

In 1972, a year after designing our first art clock, We wanted to do another art clock modeled after the artist -- Mondrian. It was too difficult and too expensive to be practical. And if it was expensive it had to be super reliable and be maintenance free for many years. The project was not going to happen with 1970's technology. But today........

Today with Light Emitting Diodes the lighting can have a very long life and with very low power. Power supplies can use longer life parts like Schottky diodes. The electronics can be protected with surge protectors from lightning strikes. And fuses added for protection from careless electricians.

Laser cutting makes very low volume products less expensive to build.

But if something does go wrong it must be repairable and not just by the factory. So all custom electronics must be avoided in the design. Parts must be chosen that are commonly available and surface mount electronics avoided. A bill of materials must be provided with schematics and trouble shooting guides for the technician. All achievable today.

What it must be for both you and me.

For you, a conversation piece that is fun, sophisticated, and makes-a-statement. And, for me, it is going to be so much work to design, and make so little money (very low volume), that I have to really want one for myself.


Three modes of telling time:

  • Mondrian – Random Hour: This is the best balance of fun, function, an appealing art.
  • Mondrian – Traditional Hours by position around the edges, and quantities like the Dot Clock from 1971 for the tens-of-minutes & minutes. This Mondrian Mode is easier and faster to read the time.
  • The TimeArt Mode, similar to the TimeArt clock (very colorful), note there are 12 segments around the outer border, just like the TimeArt.

Every 10 seconds the displays will randomly change –– random is continuously suprising.

Chimes on the hour with a playful display sync'd to the beat of the chime. Chime ON/OFF controled from the front, volume control on the back.

TimePortal will sense the room lighting and automatically adjust the brightness of the display.

Last, for those who like this sort of thing, I will sign each one on the back. They are numbered, of course.

Latest news, as of December 23, 2013

17 have been sold and 5 are left. Don't know if I will do another batch. Also, you should know that when I get down to the last 1 or 2 the price may be raised. They are a lot of work for both me and my employees.

Features just added

The hourly chime is now easy to turn off from the front, for when somone is sleeping in the room


At the moment the only choice is a white or black power cord.

For customers in Europe, I have not activated the 50 or 60 automatic Hz power check yet, but the program is done and just a couple of circuitry cuts and the 240 VAC is done (there is no charge for this).

In the first few months, I will entertain requests for changes. Don't hesitate to ask. The worst that can happen is I say, "Sorry, but no."

Possibilities that I have thought about include, changing the time for the next random display (right now it is every 10 seconds). Then there are the weird things like having the display mode change from Mondrian to TimeArt every minute. There are many possibilities.

What makes modification possible is the microprocessor is in a socket. With instructions and a little dexterity most of you could change it. The cost of something I implement for everyone would be a minimal $20 plus shipping, and you would end up with a spare microprocessor (they almost never fail, but it does make you feel secure).

How Big is TimePortal?


The assembly time for just the circuit board will be 8-12 hours -- yuck! The parts cost is proportional to the lit area. Since the lit area of the TimePortal is 3.5 times the TimeArt Clock the TimePortal should be priced at $1,050, but that assumes the volume would only drop to 1/3 of the TimeArt's volume, but it is much more likely that it will drop to 1/6 or less. Here I am using also the fact that I sold 50 of my $600 ChronoArt II dot clock. So the price is $1,999. I have ordered parts for 22 clocks. This design will again be –– a labor-of-love. :-))

Please don't hesitate to call me, Barry, with any questions (or to order) 1-800-328-1895

Now Shipping.


Size: 22.5" X 13.75" X 3"

Weight: 10 lbs. Shipping weight 13 lbs.

Power: 120 VAC, 7.5 Watts, 60 Hz (50 Hz 240 VAC available). Regular power cord (no transformer at the end of cord). Internal fuse and surge protection. Power backup, battery included (you receive it with it set to your time zone and running).

Power Cord: White, 6 feet. Black available as no-charge option.

Light Source: 154 Red, 154 Blue, and 154 Green Light Emitting Diodes. Design for very long life. Automatically dims with room light and late at night.

Case Frame: Layered Acrylic, side matte black, back smoked gray, front edge polished –– art-deco style.

Four Switches on Face: Hour Set, Minute Set, Mode of Time Display, Chime On/Off (chime volume on rear). Pushing a combination of switches provides additional functions like subtracting and hour or minute, Software Reset, etc.

Modes of Display: Mondrian Random Hours, the quantity of colors indicate the time on a white background. Mondrian-Traditional Hour, hour displayed around the edge (the blue and green colors indicate the minutes and tens of minutes, all on a white background, TimeArt Mode (Hours and Fives of Minutes are around outer edge, minutes randomly placed, with random back ground colors of blue, magenta, and aqua –– very colorful.

Time Keeping accuracy: + or – 2 seconds as long as the power is on. Power company continuously adjusts 60 Hz is the reason for it never gaining or losing time. On battery backup, crystal is accurate to 1 minute/year.

Warranty: One year on parts and labor.

Back of TimePortal (smoke grey acrylic)

The Design Process

Dream Features, Draw Electronic Schematic, Layout Circuit Board on Computer and order, Draw Clock Face in Adobe Illustrator and send off Drawing to Laser Cutter, Draw Frame and order one, Circuit Boards arrive - start loading, First Power to Circuit Board, Hook up to computer for programming, Avoid looking at bright LEDs to avoid damaging my eyes. Take a vacation to Yosemite. Looking for pesky programming errors...... forever and ever.

Home & our other clocks