What is a Geochron?

The Original Geochron

The Geochron allows any observer to determine what time it is anywhere in the world. Physically the Geochron looks like a framed world map, about 2×3 ft. in size. The colorful map itself is an endless belt that is driven slowly from left to right by an electric clock motor in synchronism with the rotation of the earth. All known legal time zone boundaries are delineated on the map by dark blue lines which in most cases, converge on lettered pointers on the top edge of the map. These letters identify the standard time zones and also represent the short wave radio prefix for that zone.

Specifically, the Geochron illustrates:

  • Legal time zones
  • Greenwich Mean time
  • Greenwich Apparent time
  • Local Apparent time (in 12 or 24 hour)
  • Moment of sunrise
  • Moment of sunset
  • Duration of daylight
  • Sun’s meridian passage
  • Sun’s equation of time
  • Degrees of latitude and longitude

The History of Geochron

The Geochron was invented by James Kilburg with the idea that one device could be used to determine what time it is anywhere in the world. Kilburg was a mechanical engineer who perfected his craft and knack for ingenuity while living in Luxembourg. After moving to America, Kilburg devoted his life to creating innovations such as the car cigarette lighter, the first automatic dialing telephone, as well as the automated maraschino cherry pitter. The Geochron however was inspired by less practical reasons.

In 1962, Mr. Kilburg was overseas visiting relatives in Luxembourg. Unable to make the trip to Europe, his wife Dorothy picked up the phone to call him one day. With some help from the international operator, she got through to Luxembourg.

Unfortunately for her husband, it happened to be 2:00 a.m. This gave Mr. Kilburg all the inspiration he needed to create the world’s first accurate global time machine. In 1965, the Geochron was born.

After many years in California’s bay area, Geochron’s factory moved to Portland, Oregon in the summer of 2007 where it continues to manufacture this incredible product.

 

A Diplomatic Gift

For over 40 years, the Geochron has been used by world renowned business leaders, dignitaries and diplomats and even by those in the White House. President Reagan gave one to Mikhail Gorbachev as a gift.You can own an original, hand-made of the same exacting standards as originally specified by Jim Kilburg in 1965.

Take a minute to read more about the precision craftsmanship that goes into each and every Geochron.

Prestigous Installations

The FEMA Situation Room.

Over the years, Geochron has built over 130 Geochron’s for the Pentagon, so it’s no surprise that you’ll see it Clear and Present Danger, Patriot Games, Angelina Jolie’s “Salt”, the Hunt for Red October, NASA, The European Space Agency, and TV’s NCIS. But more often, Geochron’s are installed in conference rooms, and fine homes.

Geochron owners use it to mark not just time, but the seasons of their lives… a beautiful machine displaying the dance of the Earth and Sun in real time.

Wherever it’s installed, it becomes the place where people stop, and use the map to tell the narrative of their own lives. See where it goes below!

Since 1964, the Geochron has been a staple of General’s offices, with over 120 installations in the Pentagon alone. Today you’ll find Geochron in the White House Watch Room, Reagan and Ford Presidential Libraries. When President Ronald Reagan’s Geochron was built, the FBI sent two agents to supervise the construction in the California shop. Over the three days, they bring the clock assemblies to their hotel room to keep it secure.

 

A good example of a flush mounted Geochron.
The European Space Agency Control Room, during the Rosetta comet mission. See it?
A promo shot of James Earl Jones during the filming of the Hunt for Red October showing a Geochron.
A beautiful house in Tennessee.
Amateur Radio Station set up
The Watch Floor of the White House Situation Room, to the left of the window.
After 50 years, yes we have old pictures. President Ford.
Part of the set on NCIS's MTAC room.
Steve Harvey's Geochron.

Specialty Models of Geochron

The Ham Radio Edition shows DX and International Prefixes on the Mercator Projection map. See it here

The Live Edge Geochron frames the map in a solid piece of finished wood, available in a variety of species. Each one is custom made.

Occasional Limited Editions of 25 attract collectors and the most discriminating buyers.


Live Edge in Oregon Walnut

In the Movies and TV


Part of the Dura Drive System.

Two Models of Geochron

There are two models of the Geochron World Clock: Original Kilburg and The Boardroom. Each model has slightly different features, though functionality is exactly the same. The map runs the same, the seasons change the same and both include a minute analog dial in the top right hand corner of the front panel. This dial allows for more accurate time keeping because it displays the exact minute after the hour and runs in unison with the map.

The major differences are aesthetic. Upgrade panels are available on the Original Kilburg model. These upgrades are aside from the seven vinyls available at an entry level price. The upgrades include; Stainless Steel, Anodized Aluminum and Natural Wood veneers. Boardroom models feature a special “cove molding” on their natural wood front panels.

As of November of 2016, all Geochrons use our sturdy Dura Drive system.