This Kitschy Wall Clock Has Been My Favorite Decor Item for over a Decade
My grandpa is notorious for picking up little treasures, bits and bobs, and all types of collectibles at flea markets, yard sales, thrift stores, and the like. If you so much as suggest that you have an interest in any subject or hobby, it’s only a matter of time before a trinket that reminds him of you catches his eye. When I was growing up, he never arrived to a visit empty-handed, and his gifts grew as I grew, from toys and movies to home decor when I had an apartment of my own. As it’s no secret that I love cats, you can imagine the theme of many of his finds.
One of my grandpa’s gifts, given to me over a decade ago, has become one of my most cherished possessions: An original Kit-Cat Klock, complete with wide eyes, swinging tail, and signature sweet smile. It’s one of the most fun pieces in my apartment, effortlessly breaking up my otherwise neutral Brooklyn cool-girl aesthetic, and I cannot imagine my home without it. So, naturally it was no surprise when I learned that the Kit-Cat Klock has been around for just shy of 100 years.
The Klock of the Century
Once considered an art-deco novelty item, the Kit-Cat Klock has established a reputation as a home decor icon. As the Great Depression reached its peak in 1932, designer Early Arnault was designing the first Kit-Cat Klock. Throughout the next several decades the clock was manufactured in the Pacific Northwest until the Allied Clock Company moved its production to Southern California and adopted its new name, the California Clock Company.
When American manufacturers stopped producing the electric motors necessary to power the clock in the late 1980s, production was almost relocated to Asia. The California Clock Company took matters into its own hands and invented a brand-new battery technology that allowed its legacy of American production to continue. Today, the Kit-Cat Klock is nearing its 100th birthday and, according to the manufacturer, one clock has been purchased every three minutes for the last 50 years.
The Kit-Cat Klock Never Goes out of Style
Although the Kit-Cat Klock was originally made in classic black and white, today they are available in a wide range of colors and even a handful of playful prints. “While most people associate the Kit-Cat Klock with the quintessential kitschy kitchen, you absolutely can incorporate this fun piece into many different design styles — it’s just a matter of choosing the right color and placement,” says vintage reseller and interior stylist, Andi Jenkins.
“If you love punchy color, use the clock as your prominent pop of color in the space,” Jenkins says. “Or embrace the tone-on-tone color trend that’s so popular right now and choose a clock color within the same color story as your wall, so it blends into your decor.”
For people who are concerned with placing the Klock in too prominent a place, she recommends adding it to a gallery wall alongside other pieces of art or interesting objects. “Or tuck it away on an unexpected wall for a fun surprise for your guests, like in the hallway leading to a powder bathroom,” suggests Jenkins. “Unexpected statement pieces, like the Kit-Cat Klock, are one of my favorite ways to make a home feel more thoughtfully curated versus simply decorated.”
Unlike your regular run-of-the-mill clock, Kit-Cat Klocks have amassed a cult following over the better part of the last century, and they tend to hold their value, or even appreciate over time. “Even if you were to tire of the kitschy piece, you could always sell it down the line to a collector on resale sites like Ebay or Etsy,” Jenkins says.
Despite its resale potential, I can’t imagine ever parting with my Kit-Cat Klock. I would desperately miss its sweet smile, big black eyes, and the sound of its tail gently keeping time. Quite simply, my Klock brings me more joy than any of the more expensive or trendier items in my apartment, and after having it on my wall for over a decade, I can understand why it has withstood the test of time.