Sure, the Apple Watch is a clever gadget. But in replacing gears and bearings with processors and pixels, smartwatches just aren't as interesting as their mechanical predecessors. And there is no clearer demonstration of how beautiful and mind-bendingly complex telling the time can be than this − a 407-piece wooden clock.

Not only does this homemade contraption keep accurate time, it is entirely mechanical, using no electricity at all, and writes the correct time every minute. The clock was created by four students from the Tohoku University of Art and Design as a final project before their graduation.

We are no horological experts here at IBTimes UK, but we reckon the four students, including 22-year-old Kango Suzuki, might just scrape a First with his incredible creation. The clock uses four cylindrical weights to drive its many mechanisms and keep accurate time. Then, each minute, a screen similar to an Etch A Sketch is reset and four pens write out the time in numbers.

Suzuki tweeted part way through the build, which took six months, to say the woodwork had damaged his fingers to the extent that the fingerprint recognition was no longer working on his smartphone.

It is unlikely that such a clock will go into mass production − at least not without an enormous price tag, anyway − but for anyone interested in making a digital clock that writes the time, then it can be created with a 3D printer, a circuit board and a marker pen.