As cell phones remove the need for additional timepieces, alarm clocks are going the way of watches — not exactly necessary, they're still beautiful objects. Pieces like the 1970s Braun travel alarm clocks by Dieter Rams or Sam Hecht's contemporary Jetlag Alarm Clock are fetishized, appreciated as much or more for their design and cachet as for their utility. Here are 10 timepieces that still evoke the image of the mod jetsetter who only buys the best.
This is what many of use now use for our alarm clock, particularly when we're on the road. One of our favorite apps — available for the iPhone 4 &dmash; is the $3 Time Tuner, which basically transforms your phone into a clock radio that you can program with music.
This is the grandfather of mod alarm clocks, first designed by Dieter Rams in the 1970s. Braun's travel-sized alarm clocks are still available from design-minded stores — including Hive online, where they sell for $40 - $68.
As a travel store, Flight 001 has a good selection of small, portable, and well-designed alarm clocks. The Pick Up Clock ($30) has a simple retro shape, glow-in-the-dark hands, and comes in four colors.
The Shop at Cooper-Hewitt
Sam Hecht's Jetlag Travel Alarm Clock ($40) is a compact digital design. From the Cooper Hewitt Shop: "The clock departs from all other ditigal alarm clocks on the market in that it provides two times on the display: one for the hour and one for the alarm."
This Japanese store has a number of wood and aluminum clocks designed to sit on a bedside table or easily fit inside a suitcase. The Beech Alarm Clock ($35) is a compact battery-powered design that measures 2.8 inches square.
This online catalog is a well stocked resource for modern clocks, and their inventory includes some very cool small-scale designs, like this Jet Travel Alarm Clock, $60. Designed by Theo Williams, it's aluminum with an LCD display.
This New York store carries a few of the brands and models mentioned on this list. Their Newgate Mini Quad Chrome Alarm Clock ($65) is a classic British design with a metal case and hands. Very Carnaby Street, we think.
Designed by Joe Colombo and first introduced in the 1970s, the Alessi Optic Table Alarm Clock ($78) was recently put back into production. The distinctly curved ABS plastic case is available in white or black.
Dutch manufacturer Karlsson makes some of the simplest, most modern clocks on the market, with some very affordable models. This Karlsson Steel Polished Alarm Clock is available online via Amazon for $15.
The Conran Shop
Terence Conran's New York store (and webshop) is a good source for well-designed modern and contemporary clocks. The Lexon Galaxy Clock ($24) has a folding stand and comes in black, red, gray, and white.
Photo: Time Tuner Clock Radio iPhone App