Many of you wanted for me to find something interesting for you all watch geek’s that isn’t a wristwatch and so I found a couple! One of the companies is the Nixie Clock! I actually found 3 popular companies making these Nixie clocks and one of them is NixieShop.com at which which we are looking at today.
So before we dive more into the review let me explain what is a Nixie Tube and how it works. Nixie Tube or cold cathode display, is an electronic device used for displaying numerals or other information using glow discharge. The glass tube contains a wire-mesh anode and multiple cathodes, shaped like numerals or other symbols for some Japan made tubes. Applying power to one cathode surrounds it with an orange glow discharge. The tube is filled with a gas at low pressure, usually mostly neon and often a little mercury or argon, in a Penning mixture. Although as many audipihiles pointed it out, it resembles a vacuum tube in appearance, but its operation does not depend on thermionic emission of electrons from a heated cathode. It is hence a cold-cathode tube (a form of gas-filled tube), and is a variant of the neon lamp. Such tubes rarely exceed 40 °C (104 °F) even under the most severe of operating conditions in a room at ambient temperature thus making it perfect for home applications like a Nixie tube clock!
NixieShop.com actually is a small company from Ukraine and founded by Petro Vodopyan. And today they sent me a clock that isn’t even released yet, but it is a revamped Model #4 which was one of their most popular models. This one features a very slim design, motion sensor, transparent top cover and changable LED colours. Besides this one Nixieshop has a ton of different models too in different styles for everybody! And their prices are very reasonable starting at just 130$ up to 420$ which is pretty cheap if you ask me and makes an excellent present for a watch geek or just any guy who likes cool, interesting stuff + it makes a nice interior decor too.
So the Model #4 came in a regular cardboard box with some NixieShop.com logos and graphics. Inside everything was packed really good, I was a little worried that it may come broken, but everything was good. Inside the box you get the clock, power adapter, a remote control and the instructions. The first impressions were really good. I was surprised at how thin it is as everything I’ve seen in the past was pretty bulky. I also like the transparent top cover so you can see the circuit board which is actually made by NixieShop themselves and in my opinion the design work on the board is amazing, I like those small details like the skull and other small details.
Set up process was pretty easy. Especially with the remote control and the instruction beeing very easy to understand. The clock itself is made of walnut wood with a plexiglass top cover, which actually I think is better replaced with a regular glass as with time it could get scratched and plexiglass also gets yellow tint to it after some years of heat and light. On the front portion we have some perforated holes design with one hole that has the motion sensor. Basically when you go past the watch it turns on and when you are not in the room moving it turns off. Actually a really nice feature that can prolong the life of the Nixie tubes because the lifespan on average is 5-30 years on each tube. On the back we have the hole for the power adapter and on top we have six IN14 Nixie Tubes which are actually free moving which I guess is to change them more easily. Also behind the tubes on top we have a knob that allows you to manage all the settings. Knob click changes menu position and rotations adjusts the value. Under the plexiglass cover we can see the custom NixieShop.com circuit board with very interesting details, my watchmaker actually makes these Nixie clocks too and has a lot of knowledge in repairing circuit boards and all kind of electronics and he said that it is very well made! On the underside we have a Nixieshop.com laser etched writing and rubber feet so that the clock sits stable and don’t slide all over the table.
The setup process actually was quite straight forward and very simple. It has built-in RGB led back-light (with 10 levels for each channel) allows you to set your favorite color. Time accuracy is provided with built-in RTC (Real Time Clock DS3231) module and backuped with CR2032 battery while the clock is powered off so when you turn it on, it still shows the right time. At the end of each minute (could be configured to be set from 1-5 minutes period or completely disabled) starts “Slot Machine” feature that helps to prevent cathode poisoning effect. It scrolls over all numbers from 0 to 9. It is necessary to prolong tubes lifespan. Current date is shown each 1-5-th minute in 3 various formats: DD:MM:YY, MM:DD:YY or YY:MM:DD. The current time could be configured to 12 or 24 hour format. Clock could be set to beep once an hour (when hour starts), which was a but annoying as I thought it should be like this at first and then I’ve just read the instructions again and turned it off. The clock also has an alarm feature which can be very handy and I’m using it every day. The alarm is pretty loud too so even if you are a deep sleeper, you will wake up!
I tested the clock for about 6 weeks and I must say, it works like charm. This one was put at my work on my desk and it was pretty helpful to check watches accuracy and also use as a prop in photographing Rolexes, haha. I actually got a lot of attention from everybody. Everyone was asking what is that and how does it work. It really is an eye magnet if you ask me and I don’t know why, but 99% of people don’t know what a Nixie Clock is and how it works. So that’s why I’m writing this review to spread out the word and make Nixie Clocks know to watch enthusiasts all over the world!
Is the clock worth it? YES! 100% WORTH IT! It looks cool, I really like that retro, 70s-80s space age style with a little of steam punk vibe too. It looks cool in modern interior and also in older style of interior. And it is really a conversation piece, especially to people who haven’t heard of these!