Germany, 1938—Inside a European cathedral’s basement, 12 artisans build clocks of intricate design. A priest says that the Nazis have broken through. A colleague believes the End of Days is upon them. Inside a nearby hospital, the men gaze upon a child who was reportedly born of no womb. The infant is missing irises in his eyes leaving just a field of white. The men flee when Nazi soldiers arrive. One drops a thin golden crucifix with a rose at its center. A guard picks up the chain. He now knows where the men are headed.
A secret society of holy men agrees to raise a large container from the depths of the ancient sewers beneath the cathedral. Whatever is inside will lead to the end of mankind if it falls into the wrong hands. The container is loaded onto a flatbed truck. A Nazi Commandant holding a golden crucifix lets the group know that a convoy of bad guys is headed their way. This soldier, whose face remains unseen, is obviously a friend to these holy men. The Nazis arrive. They shoot up the church while gunning down anyone who didn’t escape in the truck. The dying priest says, “Not even God can help now. Only the 12 can.” BANG! The priest is shot dead.
Brooklyn, Present Day—Hank Galliston (Anthony Edwards) is shopping at an outdoor marketplace with his wife, Laila (Jacinda Barrett). These two are obviously very much in love. Laila owns a clock repair shop. She locks eyes briefly with a vendor before looking down to see a clock that looks like the ones that were being built in Germany. Her curiosity is piqued. As for Hank, he returns to the offices of his magazine, Modern Skeptic, where his eager copy editors, Rachel Lewis (Addison Timlin) and Arron Martin (Scott Michael Foster) pitch him story ideas. Unfortunately, their sensationalistic leads don’t impress their ever-cautious boss.
Hank answers a call on his cell. It’s Laila. She’s speaking in hushed tones because someone is trying to break into her shop. Hank orders Arron to call the police as he rushes to his wife. By the time he arrives, the shop is trashed and Laila is gone. FBI agent Rebecca "Beck" Riley (Carmen Ejogo) shows Hank traffic camera footage of the man who took his wife. He’s an international mercenary known as White Vincent (Michael Nyqvist). Hank wonders what a man like that could possibly want with his wife. Beck is wondering the same thing.
After the FBI leaves, Hank pulls apart the clock Laila bought earlier. He finds a small diamond inside. It produces the reflection of a drawing on the wall. It’s a map. Arron believes it’s a treasure map. Hank’s priest friend, Father Mickle (Charles S. Dutton), says the writing on the map is the language of the Rosicrucians—a secret society of Christian mystics who were always preparing for the apocalypse. They are still in existence hidden throughout society. Father Mickle points out “New Bartholomew.” It can’t be a city, as the spot where it is marked on the map is in the middle of the Arctic Circle.
White Vincent makes contact with Hank to tell him that he has lived before. He says that anyone who knows the truth about what is happening would lose their mind, as he has lost his. Vincent wants the clock or Laila dies. Father Mickle convinces Hank to turn over the timepiece while holding onto the diamond. Beck says the FBI will pounce on Vincent once they determine the true rendezvous spot. Hank sets off with the clock, but he gives the diamond to Father Mickle, who keeps it in his mint tin for safekeeping. While on his way to meet with Vincent, Hank realizes that the mercenary isn’t truly watching him. Something is off about all this.
The FBI storms the building where they believe Vincent is hiding. All that’s there is a remote video camera. Vincent somehow knew that Hank didn’t have the diamond. This means Father Mickle is in danger. Hank finds the priest bleeding from the neck in his church. His mint tin is open on the floor. The diamond is gone. Rachel and Arron try to keep Hank from thinking the worst. They need him to believe that Laila is alive. They need to work together to find her.
Hank makes arrangements to head to New Bartholomew in the Arctic Circle. He orders Rachel and Arron to keeping digging at home. Beck meets up with Hank at the airport. She reveals how White Vincent is the man responsible for taking down a flight outside of Moscow. Her husband died in the explosion. Beck knows that Hank is going after Vincent. That’s why she’s going with him. As for Arron and Rachel, they find the clockmaker who made the mysterious timepiece. He’s 93-years-old and living in Germany.
Bavaria, Germany—Arron and Rachel track down the clockmaker at his chalet. The old Rosicrucian recognizes the clock they produce as the one he made in the 1930s. He says that bad people are looking for the clocks. New Bartholomew, he explains, was a man. He says, “12 numbers on the clock. 12 men to save the world.” In 1938, the church appointed 12 new apostles. They were given a secret that could bring about the end of days.
The old clockmaker says that one clock was made for each apostle. He constructed the one for New Bartholomew. As for the secret the new apostles held, it had something to do with what was hidden in the sewers. It had to be kept away from the Nazis because they had already figured out the first steps to eternal life. The clockmaker says they must find the clocks before the enemy does or it’ll create a storm that will be unlike any the world has ever seen. That storm is known as Zero Hour.
The Arctic Circle— In Northern Canada, White Vincent etches a zero symbol into a mirror. He removes his contacts to reveal that he has the same white eyes as the baby that was seen in Germany. Elsewhere, whiteness blankets the land as Hank and Beck arrive at Iqaluit Airfield in Northern Canada. The pilot they ask to fly them to the Arctic Circle says someone else was looking to go there the day before. White Vincent didn’t want to wait for a flight. He’s driving to the destination spot. Hank and Rachel get there first knowing full well that the mercenary is not far behind.
Hank and Beck find an old Nazi submarine lodged in the ice. There are dozen dead bodies inside, all of them having been executed. Hank finds a map that leads him to believe the men ended up exactly where they wanted to be. He searches deeper to find a dead Nazi Commandant clutching a golden crucifix with a rose. It’s the same man from 1938. His face is finally revealed. The Nazi Commandant looks exactly like Hank. Outside the sub, Hank tries to gather himself together after the shock he just experienced. He doesn’t notice the vehicle streaking across the icy surface heading straight for him.