IN VIDEO and PICTURES: Clock king Paul has the time of his life

Wolverhampton | News | Published:

Take a little time to take in these stunning timepieces.

They take months to produce and sell for thousands of pounds - and are just some of the hundreds of stunning clocks made by Paul Parry in his spare time.

Mr Parry uses both upcycled electronics and new materials to make the clocks on evenings and weekends, from the spare bedroom of his home in Coven, near Wolverhampton.

The 43-year-old set up Bad Dog Designs with partner Karen in April 2014, and the business has taken flight with customers around the world looking to get their hands on a truly individual, unique design.

With prices starting at around £300, Paul has been commissioned to produce a robot clock, using brass and stainless steel, for a hotel in Singapore which he will sell for £7,000 - his biggest sale to date.

"The robot clock is on commission for £7,000 and is going to a boutique hotel in Singapore which is being built as we speak," said Paul.

"It will stand in the foyer and will be the first thing people see when they walk in."


Paul says he has now made around 200 different clocks during his spare time, all of which are signed by himself.

These include the Watson, which was originally a 1938 watt meter, the Captain Nemo MK II, made from an old music box casing from the 1850s, and the Marconi MK II, styled to look like an old valve radio or amplifier.

"I only do evenings and weekends, some commissions can take around four to five months to complete. The robot clock will take 18-months," he added.

"The quickest I've ever done one is in two or three evenings but that was a small, simple clock.


"The cost is a reflection of the time and effort that goes into every clock.

"Every one is different, everybody wants something unique to them. Hopefully somebody will come along some day and commission me to do a clock that is worth £20,000.

"When people see the clocks, they will ask 'what is that?' Then the second question will be 'where can I get one from?'"

Nixie tubes, which are used to display the time on Paul's steampunk clocks, were hugely popular in the 1950s and 60s and used in gadgets of the time, from petrol pumps to military equipment.

The last were made in Ukraine and Russia in the early 1990s, but Paul scours the internet for old tubes, which have a distinctive orange glow and each digit stacked behind the other within the tube.

Small ones cost around £6 each, medium sized ones approximately £30 and large ones can be purchased for as much as £200.

"They are not economically viable for companies to produce, it's very much an old technology. Its a niche market," said Paul.

Every clock is handmade with recycled equipment and original vintage items, but modern microprocessor technology is used to power the old tubes.

Most are named after famous scientists and electrical engineers, such as Michael Faraday, Nikola Tesla and Guglielmo Marconi.

People from all over the globe have purchased a clock made by Paul, who remarkably doesn't own one himself.

"They're named after 17th and 18th century scientists - Faraday, Tesla, Gordon - mainly so I know which one is which," he added.

"I've done clocks celebrating birthdays, weddings, anniversaries and even as Christmas gifts. The enquires I get are from all over the place.

"When people see the clocks, they really do sell themselves. Around 30 to 40 per cent of my customers are repeat customers, which has surprised me.

"One guy from the United States has bought five off me. I've had people from the States and Singapore come over here to pick up their clocks.

"Sometimes when they are going out to China and Singapore, I'll use a shipping company but a lot do come over to pick them up and see how it all works.

"The business funds itself, a sale of a clock funds the parts for the next one.

"I love building the clocks, I find it relaxing. I have to sell them though, otherwise I'd just have a house full of them.

"I don't actually own one, but one of these days I will actually own a clock that I have made myself."

Dragons' Den star Theo Paphitis recently spotted Bad Dog Designs through his weekly Small Business Sunday initiative on Twitter, where he rewards entrepreneurs who send him a quick description of their business.

Last Saturday, Paul showcased some of his designs at Liberty's department store in London and will meet Mr Paphitis at a Small Business Sunday convention at The ICC, Birmingham on February 12.

To see the full range of remarkable clocks which Paul has produced, visit

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