I go to sleep every night right after setting several alarms to ensure I actually get my ass out of bed at a reasonable time every day; I wake up every morning to my iPhone’s “Radar” alarm sound inches from my head. I like it — it’s free, it’s easy to set and it’s reliable. And I’m not alone. A 2013 study found that 44 percent of smartphone owners wake up to an alarm app on their phone. This despite the fact that many other studies show smartphones are murder for a good night’s sleep.
It all comes down to a couple of factors. Blue light emanating from your screen disrupts your body’s natural production of melatonin if you’re looking at your phone before you go to bed; middle-of-the-night notifications might stir you from your sleep, and avoiding them can prompt a bout of FOMO-driven anxiety. Of course, you can combat all of these problems with a combination of blue-light filters on your phone, Do Not Disturb Mode and good-old-fashioned self-restraint — but many suggest kicking the smartphone out of your bedroom altogether.
If this is the path you choose, an old-fashioned analog alarm clock is the best smartphone replacement. Driven by a battery and quartz and lacking in any features apart from the time and your alarm, a classic alarm clock is simple, effective and cheap. Better still, you’ll find no shortage of wonderfully designed timepieces, many penned by design greats like Dieter Rams, Arne Jacobson and Henning Koppel. Not only will they help you achieve a better night’s rest, but they’ll also add a little charm to your bedside table, too.
Braun’s timepieces — mostly designed by Dieter Rams and Dietrich Lubs — were some of the most forward-thinking of the ’70s and ’80s. The design of this modern-day Braun alarm clock harkens back to one of the brands’ travel clocks from the late '80s, here upgraded with luminous hour and minute hands. The BC02 clock carries on Braun’s legacy of simple, intuitive design, with a clean dial layout and a prominent, green-tipped on-and-off button for the alarm function.
Marathon makes some seriously legit military watches (like, seriously). This alarm clock might not be meant for the battlefield but it it does take the brand's tried and tested, tacticool design and offers it a form that's perfect for your nightstand. With no annoying ticking sound, it won't disturb your sleep — until the time that you've set it to do so. It comes in a couple color variations and the best part is that it's pretty damn affordable. Think of this as your very own screaming drill sergeant that'll energize you to get out of bed in the morning — but one that you can hit snooze on.
There's nothing like a clock from a respected watchmaker. Sure, the Mai alarm clock is made of plastic and it doesn't give you 200m of water resistance or an in-house automatic movement. But it charmingly translates the iconic design language of Seiko dive watches into a form that'll elicit a smile from any watch fan — and it only costs a fraction of what those watches do. A sweeping seconds hand (despite its quartz movement) lumed hands and indices (in addition to a backlight) and other fun little features make this an easy buy for $45 or less. It comes in a range of colors, too.
Danish architect and designer Arne Jacobsen might best be remembered for his iconic chair designs, but he was quite handy when it came to penning clock designs. In 1939, his first metal-base table alarm clock was made, and this modern reinterpretation brings back its classic look but packs some modern convenience. For instance, the bell alarm can be silenced by a light tap ontop of the clock and an LED touch sensor allows you to easily illuminate the clock face at night.
In the late 1970s, Georg Jensen — a Danish silversmith — launched its first men’s wristwatch. It was created by Danish designer Henning Koppel, and its clean, pared-down design has formed the basis for several other timepieces from the brand, including this handsome tabletop alarm clock. It features Henning Koppel’s iconic dial design — which used small pints in place of numerals — and a sleek, stainless steel casing.
Mondaine makes some cool watches, but they're a clockmaker first. They're best known for the bauhaus design of Swiss station clocks that help keep that nation's famously punctual trains running on time. The design is exceedingly simple and practical, and yet striking. And as an appointment for your home or office, it'll lend a distinctly modern minimalist feel to your space. You'll get comments and compliments.