OneClock’s eponymous analog alarm clock ($192) was designed to help people wake up less abruptly, through the use of melodic compositions created by composer and multi-instrumentalist Jon Natchez of The War on Drugs. Plenty of people strive to disconnect when the day ends, reducing screen time or leaving their phone outside their bedroom altogether when it’s time to sleep. But many of us rely on our phones as alarm clocks, and though there are alternatives, few are as considerate or as design-forward as OneClock. We’ve been testing the device, and are delighted by its style, which is pleasantly reminiscent of the classic Braun alarm clock—a design that adds a little retro flair to the nightstand.
OneClock’s Colorado-based founders Jamie Kripke and Howie Rubin argue that waking up to an alarm is a repetitive act that should not shock or startle one awake, as it triggers a nervous system reaction similar to those in fight-or-flight situations. Both blood pressure and heart rate skyrocket and, though that rush can keep you awake, it can also impact your mood and daily behaviors. The OneClock strives to simulate natural awakening through subtle, incremental increases in volume. Over the course of one minute, the composition rises to your desired volume and remains there until you turn it off.
There’s also emphasis on the types of soundscapes used, not just how they’re delivered. OneClock designers use “the innate biological power of melody versus simple, unrefined alarm tones” to peacefully pull you out of your sleep state. Plus, OneClock comes embedded with an AI technology capable of subtly randomizing and remixing the songs so that they never (technically) sound the same twice. We find them warmer, more optimistic or interesting and noticeably different each time.
Setting the OneClock is as simple as twisting a knob on the back, another knob sets the volume, and a front knob controls the alarm. Push that to set it for the following morning, turn it to your desired time and press it once more to activate the alarm. The hands will spin back into place in-between actions, and a faint LED stamp (located within the clock’s logo) will light up on the clock face to signal that the alarm has been successfully set. When it’s going off, press that same front button to shut it down. An internal back-up system guarantees it will work, even if the unit loses power. The rich Tectonic Labs BMR speaker slowly envelops the listeners in sound, rather than jolting on or glitching like the radio.
Although the main function is to wake you, it’s not OneClock’s only intention; it also aims to make you rest better. There’s a touch-sensitive night light and a silent analog clock core (typically used in automotive dashboards) that doesn’t tick.
Precision machined aluminum encases the clock’s Swiss-designed movement, the speaker and amplifier, and hand-oiled solid wood panels adorn the front and back. It’s available in the standard aluminum tone as well as red, black or white powder coats. It’s also covered for 20 years with the brand’s warranty. Despite all its features, the OneClock feels and functions more like a radio than a high-tech voice assistant (there is no WiFi, Bluetooth, apps or required subscriptions) which further imbues it with nostalgia and warmth.
OneClock launches today on Kickstarter.
Hero image by Josh Rubin