This past year saw the relaunch of a slew of throw-back designs to the so-called golden age of Braun. Joining the analog clocks and minimal wristwatches is a line of digital clocks inspired by the clean look favored by designers Dietrich Lubs and Dieter Rams. Seen side-by-side, both the analog and digital options are enviable design objects, but we imagine two camps must form around the digital and the analog.
Sizing up the two lines, there’s a lot of crossover: both are controlled by radio signal available in select countries; both feature a crescendo alarm and a snooze function; both are designed to be easily read; both light up in the dark. In short, they have all the specs you might expect from a classically reliable alarm clock.
The digital line features a quick-set function and a crisp reverse LCD readout. The radio model—not available in analog—also includes a speaker and six presets for a standard alarm-clock setup. On the analog side, the classic alarm has been updated with a voice-activated snooze feature for groaning sleepers. While the digital models do their best to imitate the original designs, there’s something gimmicky about an alarm clock that is made to look “vintage”. The analog models have a more honest heritage appeal, and the readout the only major difference. Points would be given to digital for ease of use, although the spare face of the analog clock isn’t exactly difficult to read.
At the end of the day, it’s a matter of personal taste. While the new digital clocks may be milking the last ounce of cool out of the Rams and Lubs heritage, we’re still won over by the sleek look, which was developed under the direction of Markus Orthey. For fans of the old-school vibe, it makes a bit more sense to search around for the original and iconic AB1 alarm clock, which can be found around the web in limited stock. We’re not sure why Braun opted not to recreate a perfect facsimile of the original with the new analogs; it seems like authenticity would trump voice-controlled snooze any day.
Whichever way you swing, both the digital and analog models look great on a nightstand—which, after all, is what you’re really after.