Cute retro alarm clock

I saw Jenny Ryan's Instragram photo of her new alarm clock, and I had to get one. It replaced our guest bedroom digital alarm clock, which is ugly and suffers from the "what does this button do?" syndrome that's common in electronic gadgets. I counted five buttons, one 3-position switch, and one 4-position switch.

The Kikkerland, on the other hand has one button (the large and intuitive alarm button) and two dials: one to set the time, and one to set the alarm. That's it. With enough training, even Pescovitz will be able to operate it when he spends the night.

The clock is quiet (it does tick softly) and uses 1 AA cell. The alarm chime is a loud piezoelectric pulse. The hands are luminous. And it's only $15.

Kikkerland Retro Alarm Clock


  1. one odd advantage of the old synchro clocks (that ran off the surprisingly accurate gear reduced 60Hz in the states) was you could easily tell for how long the power was out.  oh, and they hummed.

    1. The utility companies keep track of the 60 Hz and make corrections when it gets off by a few seconds. So some effort goes into the surprise.

      1. There has been some chatter lately about whether to continue putting as much effort into keeping things highly stable, since doing so isn’t trivial and so much more timekeeping is handled by cheap oscillators on site.

  2. Got my 6 year old daughter a similar clock for Christmas, she came to our room in the middle of night with the clock in hand “This clock is driving me crazy” tick    tick    tick   tick

  3. Yeah, ticking clocks are pure evil, No matter how quiet they are, they’ll ruin any night for me. I have a tiny little *almost* silent clock in my living room. I don’t even notice that it ticks during the day, but when I exercise my right to opt out of “family bed” and sleep on the couch, it gets me every time. I lay down, close my eyes, and then at some point, I *notice* the ticking. And once noticed, it’s all I can hear, like a telltale heart.

    1. I always run a fan (even if I point it away from me), because the constant white-noise helps cover this sort of stuff up. Invest in a small fan and put it close to your head :)

      1. +1 on the fan. I’ve had an ancient plastic one with a missing safety grille for going on 20 years now.  As an added bonus, it makes sure I’m wide awake when I roll out of bed and turn it off each morning. If I’m not sufficiently alert, awake and coordinated, sticking my finger in the fan blades will see to that right quick.

        I’m of two minds about ticking clocks.  On the one hand, I’ve often had to get up and rearrange my daily carry pile such that my mechanical wristwatch is on top of the heap, and thus isolated from the resonating dresser top.  And I ultimately had to remove the clock from my bathroom for the same reason. The ticking is an acoustic version of the Chinese water torture.  Especially at 3am when the Ticks… Stretch.. Out… Forever… Tick… Tick… Tick…

        On the other hand, it is nice to have sources of known random noise generators in the house.  When you have a pet, or something else to make random thumps at odd intervals, it’s easy to dismiss the noises.  “Oh, it’s just the cat. *snore*”  When you no longer have said noise sources (I no longer have a cat), every sound becomes AN AXE MURDERER BREAKING INTO THE HOUSE!!!

        So regular sounds -> insanity.  Irregular sounds -> sound sleep. Maybe someone needs to come up with a clock that only ticks 1 out of every 10 intervals, at random, to fill this gap. Yeah. That’s it. I think I have my new Kickstarter project.

    2.  Get a cuckoo clock. After a few nights with THAT ticking plus the every 15minute or so cuckoos you will be able to use your older clock and never notice it again. Oh, and add a grandfather clock to the mix. An uncle had both in the living room, which was normally where I slept when visiting. You can get used to most anything. It only took me 3 or 4 days to get used to the train that passed the back yard at one house he lived in.

      1. I have friend who collects antique clocks, keeps them wound and leaves the alarms turned on. I’ll never sleep at his house again. Oh, wait, I never slept at his house, anyway, despite spending the night in bed with three pillows over my head.

        1. I didn’t know you knew my brother! The thing that really bugs me is that all his old clocks chime the hour at *slightly* different times…

  4. Wow.  So many haters.  I don’t ever notice the ticking at all.  I only use this “retro” type of alarm clock, because the brightness of digital clocks are what keep me up.  I found it funny that Mark wrote about this type of alarm clock as if it’s a totally antiquated thing.  Maybe it is… I just hate the digital ones and never buy/use them.  Plus, it always works regardless of whether or not there was a power failure.  Once a every year or two it needs a new battery.  This type of clock was essential when I was an exchange student in Cairo.  There were *nightly* power outages there.  Using a digital alarm was NOT an option.

  5. Make it a windup and I’ll buy a dozen. Do you know how hard it is to find a wind-up alarm clock? I live on a farm. Rural electricity is not all that dependable. One high wind during the night and you’re without power until the next evening. Batteries run out. Winding the clock and setting the alarm to ON is a bedtime ritual that I could easily repeat each night.

    1. Do you know how hard it is to find a wind-up alarm clock?

      Yes, it’s exactly as hard as typing ‘wind-up alarm clock’ into Amazon.

      I have an old twin-bell wind-up alarm clock. It is a thing of beauty, and the alarm would wake the dead… but the ticking is alarmingly loud. 

      1. Without wanting to second-guess the original commenter, I’d have to say it can certainly be hard trying to find a RELIABLE wind-up alarm clock. I went looking for one when my old wind-up clock conked out – did a good deal of online research, and after much vacillating (and a few false starts, because I kept discovering that the sellers I found via Amazon wouldn’t ship to Australia), carefully chose a fairly-well-regarded model from Serbia… only to have it fail on me after about three months. So there’s that.

  6. When I was little we were told that the glow in the dark hands were radioactive.  This reminds me.

    Ack!  It’s not an urban legend:

    “Radium dials were discontinued in the late 1950’s, when it was discovered that workers who painted the dials had cancer of the jawbone, brought on by “sharpening” the brush by putting it in their mouths with the radium on it.”

    1. We all know where that leads.

      David began visiting junkyards and antiques stores in search of radium-coated dashboard panels or clocks. Once he found such an item, he’d chip paint from the instruments and collect it in pill vials. It was slow going until one day, driving through Clinton Township to visit his girlfriend, Heather, he noticed that his Geiger counter went wild as he passed Gloria’s Resale Boutique/Antique. The proprietor, Gloria Genette, still recalls the day when she was called at home by a store employee who said that a polite young man was anxious to buy an old table clock with a tinted green dial but wondered if she’d come down in price. She would. David bought the clock for $10. Inside he discovered a vial of radium paint left behind by a worker either accidentally or as a courtesy so that the clock’s owner could touch up the dial when it began to fade.

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