If you like watches, it’s not a stretch to guess that you might like clocks too. I for one love them, and while I haven’t had the time or scratch (well, not what with the watch affliction) to collect many, I do have a few up in my apartment, and a few collecting dust on shelves. It’s something I’d like to put more energy in, with the goal of one day being one of those guy’s with 100+ clocks ticking away in their house (the guy version of a cat lady??). Anyway… aside from telling the time, clocks become part of your home decor, so you often find them designed by interesting industrial designers and architects, some who seek function primarily, some with more playful approaches and others who see them as living sculpture.
That all said, I put together this guide, which barely scratches the surface of what’s out there (I know, I didn’t include an Atmos, but I’m guessing that’s out of most people’s budget anyway), but is geared (…) for watch fans…. With a few personal favorites thrown in. If you have any cool clocks at home, let us know in the comments, and provide a pic if you feel so inclined. Enjoy!
For many a watch nerd, this is the clock du jour. The Swiss Railway clock designed in 1940 by Hans Hilfiker is a true icon, living on wrists, in phones, on walls… and in every Swiss Rail station. Its design is bold and legible, drawing on the Bauhaus aesthetic which was contemporary at the time. That said, it still looks as fresh today in your apartment, and gives a nice wink to the Swiss watch world. Alas, Mondaine has yet to make a clock like their Stop2Go watch which simulates the 2 second hang at the end of every minute, but when they do, that’ll be the one to get.
This mid-century masterpiece is definitely in the vein of sculpture, but if I ever had to look at one piece of art everyday, it could be it. With orbs for hours and hands that look as though they were taken from a Saul Bass poster, it’s simply an icon of 20th American design. Hang this over your couch as a centerpiece, or in your office if your channeling Mad Men. Available in a handful of colors, though if it were me, I’d go with the multi-color option for that Jetsons feel.
A contemporary design by one of the greatest graphic designers of all time, this simple and clean piece has a frosted glass and hands that appear to float. It’s a subtle room adornment that almost recedes into the wall, but adds a touch of personality with its careful use of color. For the quirky minimalist who wants to own a designer piece.
This small table clock has always intrigued me. Essentially, the whole thing is constantly in motion, slowly rotating to tell the hour and approixiamte minute via a red wire. Unlike most clocks and watches, it’s truly an object in the round, being viewable from all angles. Place this on your desk or even a the center of a coffee table. An interesting wall alternative.
Well, if you’re like me then you can’t get enough of the Max Bill watches, so might as well install one on your wall. Two classic designs are available, one with numerals, one with just pencil thin lines. I’m not sure if I could pick just one.
For those seeking nostalgia, Schoolhouse Electric Supply Co. has this re-issue of the classic IBM made clock from the 60’s. Tried and true, it has a no-fuss design that was meant for legibility in schools and factories. Of course, years later, it has a certain mid-century appeal. For me personally, the memory of sitting at my desk and watching the minute hand slowly, achingly traverse the dial is a bit too fresh, but I could see this as being an appealing kitchen or office clock for some. Interestingly, these ones are assembled in the US.
Dietrich Lubs and Dieter Rams designed some of the most classic objects of the 20th century for Braun, ones that a certain fruit named brand almost exclusivley draws upon. While their razors, calculators, etc, are all iconic, their clocks and watches are truly timeless. This matte black clock has the sort of exacting proportions and high legibility one expects to find in German design, while also having an unexpected amount of style.
I hadn’t seen this one before browsing for this article, but immediately knew I had to include it. Though the text on MOMA’s site makes no reference, I’m sure you, like I, immediately saw the Panerai-esque markers… the fact that it’s actually a sandwich dial, using two layers of plywood, makes it all the more interesting. What’s great about this piece, is that the use of raw wood takes it far enough away from just looking like a Luminor on your wall to be pleasing as general home decor. Not so surprisingly, the designer lived in Italy from 2000 – 2006.
Another German brand, this is the most modern by far and the only with an alternate readout. Qlocktwo clocks (and watches) tell the time in words, using colloquial phrasing. Rather than telling time to the minute, they’ll read “it’s a quarter to four”, “It’s half past six”, etc… There’s something both comforting and alien about a minimalist object telling you time in such a way, but no matter how you see it, it’s very intruiging. The QlockTwo Touch is the newest in the series and is useable as a table-top alarm clock as well.
A list of clocks wouldn’t be complete without a cuckoo clock, but for those of us with a more modern home decor, they are a bit hard to find. Conveniently, Muji, masters of the minimal, have this incredibly tasteful, yet still playful version. It’s all white, has a simple clock on the lower half, and a small flat bird that pops out of a hole up top, that looks like it’s part of some Danish wooden children’s toy set. It chimes at the hour only during the day, thanks to a light sensor, and “cuckoos” with a natural sound, perhaps made by a bellow of sorts (they are not specific on the site). I can’t quite explain the draw, but this might be my next clock… Though if I do get it, i think I might paint the bird red.