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Computerized Investing > December 22, 2012

Qlocktwo Classic & Qlocktwo Touch

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by Wayne A. Thorp, CFA

$1,100 (Classic); $599 (Touch)

An analog wall and desk clock that puts time in words.

One advantage of writing this column is that I come across some truly unique items that I probably otherwise wouldn’t. Occasionally, I am fortunate to try these products out firsthand. While most of what I cover here, I would like to think, is practical, it’s also fun to step out of the box every now and then and try out something truly unique. Such is the case of the Qlocktwo Classic and Qlocktwo Touch from German company Biegert & Funk. These clocks have won several well-known international design prizes, making them pieces of art as well as timepieces. I was given both as review models and have received numerous comments from people who have seen them in my condo.

Both clocks are square-shaped, but the Classic is intended as a wall clock and measures 17.2 inches square, while the Touch is a bedside/tabletop version and measures 5.3 inches square. What makes both clocks unique is that they do not have numbers or dials for telling time. Instead, using a matrix of letters, the clocks display the time in written words. Inside the clock body are a collection of LED lights that illuminate the lettering. So, for example, at 2:15 the clock’s face reads, “It is quarter past two.” Statements come in five-minute increments, with four luminous dots in each corner of the clock to mark the minutes in between. So, at 2:17, the clock would still read “It is quarter past two,” and would have two illuminated dots in the corners.

Qlocktwo is milled from a single aluminum block and the letter matrix faceplate is held in place by magnets. The Classic can be wall-mounted or placed on a stand, which is what I am using, while the Touch is free-standing. Setting the first Qlocktwo proved to be a little tricky, given the unique nature by which it tells time. However, after getting the first one set, the second was a breeze. If you live in Europe, Qlocktwo is radio-controlled and sets itself.

Brightness control adjusts automatically to the ambient light or you can adjust it manually.

The Touch is also an alarm clock; you can activate the snooze when the alarm goes off with a simple touch.

Overall

Interestingly, the responses to the Classic and Touch have almost been universal. The first reaction is almost always that they require too much thinking to tell time. While this is true when you first see the Qlocktwo, after having them in my house for several weeks, I have no problems with them. Secondly, most find the Touch to be a little cramped. I agree with that. Its functionality is basically limited to a bedside table or a desk. The Classic does a better job of fulfilling the roles of art and timepiece. I will be sorry when have to send it back to the company.

While I was captivated by the uniqueness of the Qlocktwo, its price is a definite turnoff. The Qlocktwo Classic retails for $1,100, while the Touch is priced at $599. At these prices, I find it hard to recommend the Qlocktwo to anyone but those with very deep pockets and a unique sense of style.

Pros

  • Unique design
  • High-quality construction

Cons

  • Very expensive
  • Telling time takes getting used to

Qlocktwo Classic & Qlocktwo Touch

$1,100 (Classic); $599 (Touch)

www.qlocktwo.com

Wayne A. Thorp, CFA, is the author of “Gadget Corner.” All reviews are based on firsthand experience of the product or service. No third-party compensation is received for opinions on products, services, websites or topics. However, sometimes the author is not required by the manufacturer or their PR firm to return the product under review. In such instances, it is our policy to convey this within the review. The views and opinions expressed in these reviews are strictly those of the author. Any product claim, statistic, quote or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the manufacturer or provider.

Wayne A. Thorp, CFA is a vice president and senior financial analyst at AAII and editor of Computerized Investing. Follow him on Twitter at @AAII_CI.