The best part of waking up: 5 awesome alarm clocks for watch collectorsD.C. Hannay
If you’re a horological junkie, there are better ways to rouse yourself from Dreamland than your iPhone. For the totally hardcore watch aficionado, you could always hunt down a classic Swiss travel clock, such as a Jaeger-LeCoultre Memovox travel alarm, but if you’re looking for something minus the mechanical ticking that might keep you awake at night, here are some modern choices that scratch the itch. Unplugging from the grid can be a good thing. Now if they only made espresso, too…
Seiko Mai Alarm Clock
This first pick is just too cool, the Mai Alarm Clock from Seiko. Perfectly nailing the aesthetic of the classic Seiko Tuna dive watch, it’s available in a bevy of colourways, including a badass black and gold, a PADI-adjacent Pepsi version, and my favourite, this sharp green variant. It’s got a battery powered sweeping quartz movement (no annoying tick!), snooze function, and a backlight that flashes when the alarm goes off. For the price of a boring bog-standard alarm clock, the style can’t be beat for the diehard Seiko fan, and at less than 4 inches in diameter, you can easily tuck it into a carry-on.
Braun BC22 Classic Analogue Alarm Clock
If you’re a fan of German minimalism, it doesn’t get better than the Braun BC22 Classic Analogue Alarm Clock. The design is based on the clean form factor of Dieter Rams’ AB 2 clock from 1984, with a look that’s both retro and future-facing. One of my favourite functional objects is a vintage ‘80s Braun coffee maker that I still use, its uncluttered simplicity remaining iconic to this day. You can find the BC22 in black, white, and this soothing dove grey that features a cheerful yellow second hand. It’s got a quiet battery-operated quartz movement, a backlight, crescendo alarm with snooze function, and a handy green indicator that shows that the alarm is set.
Mondaine Travel Mini Alarm Clock
Mondaine’s history goes all the way back to 1944, when Hans Hilfiker designed the iconic Official Swiss Railway Clock. The Swiss and timekeeping are synonymous, and this marvelous little wonder, the Travel Mini evokes those boldly graphic train station clocks, complete with their distinctive red lollipop second hand. The solid-feeling metal housing measures a mere 50mm across, and the dial cover swings open to reveal the clock face while serving as a stand. It features a quality Wellgain quartz alarm movement, lumed hour and minute hands, a mineral glass crystal, and its diminutive case easily stows in a bag, perfect for riding the European rails.
Tivoli Audio Model Three BT
Although this one’s not a travel alarm, I had to include it, simply for the gorgeous Midcentury look of its walnut cabinet and beige control panel. Legendary audio engineer Henry Kloss, among other things, was the designer behind the classic KLH Model 8 table radio, one of the first small radios with highly selective tuning. It’s his DNA that runs throughout the Tivoli Audio Model Three BT, a handsome evolution of those original models that includes some welcome modern features. Not only is there an analogue alarm clock, the Model Three BT includes Tivoli’s stellar AM/FM tuner, a warm, rich-sounding speaker, auxiliary input, USB port, and wireless Bluetooth connectivity. It’s available in four different wood cabinet/faceplate combinations, and would look right at home in Don Draper’s den.
Båge & Söner Table Alarm Clock
If there’s one pick that truly looks like a fine Swiss mechanical travel clock, it’s the exquisite Båge & Söner Table Alarm Clock from Sweden. Though it’s not cheap, each clock is made to order, and a wide array of configurations are available, in both stainless and PVD-gold stainless versions. But the dials are the real stars here, including this fetching dark slate blue “Starry Sky” model. There’s a lovely tapisserie texture in the centre of the dial, and the gold hands and applied indices have a real watchlike quality. The case is bound in a deep blue vegetable-tanned leather, and the crystal is mineral glass. Other features include a silent sweep battery-powered movement, a 4-step crescendo alarm with snooze function, and a built-in backlight. Several colourways are on offer, so there’s bound to be one to catch your eye.