Word For Word: Qlocktwo Presents A New Approach To Telling The Time
Although I have the deepest respect for the sophisticated mechanisms and technology of large-format timekeepers like wall and table clocks, long case regulators, and precision pendulum clocks, there has never been a clock to capture my interest more than a wristwatch.
And that’s not surprising: for one, there are not many manufacturers today crafting superb clocks. A few rare notables include the highly regarded German manufacture Erwin Sattler, the creative Swiss maker L’Epée, and Austrian Buben & Zörweg. We also have independent watchmakers including Matthias Naeschke from southern Germany and Robert Bray from England, both members of the prestigious A.H.C.I. (Academy of Independent Watch Creators)
There’s no doubt that their exclusive creations present refined traditional craftsmanship and incredibly precise engineering in the service of high precision. Produced in small amounts, though, these masterpieces – for the most part manufactured by hand – are works of art rather than relatively affordable mass consumer products.
And then came Qlocktwo.
Qlocktwo: only letters, no hands, no numerals
Qlocktwo could not be more different than these rare clockmakers and independent watchmakers – and this is intentional. The brand presents a very different, and definitely innovative, approach to displaying time by forgoing hands and numerals in the traditional sense.
Qlocktwo’s timepieces spell out the time every five minutes using a typographic indication with letters: so instead of “7:30,” the time on the “dial” quite literally reads “it is half past seven.”
The clock’s letters are created by a matrix of 110 randomly arranged graphic characters displayed on a square surface the size of a wall picture. The individual letters are composed of LED-illuminated areas displaying time within five minutes, while four illuminating dots in each of the corners display the exact minute.
The effect is amazing. It’s as if the words lend the immediate present a deeper meaning, a reminder to make each moment count. Perceiving the time through the written word made me quite literally speechless.
The masterminds behind Qlocktwo are Marco Biegert and Andreas Funk, originally owners of a PR agency in the small town of Schwäbisch Gmünd in southern Germany. These two are both friends and business partners, but also watch enthusiasts. Already attuned to design through their careers, they wondered if it was possible to display or write the time the same way that we speak the time.
This turned out to be a quite simple, though very philosophical approach. Swabians are said to have a particular spirit of inventiveness and affinity for hard work, with famous inventors like Karl Benz, Gottlieb Daimler, and Robert Bosch coming from the region. Biegert and Funk thus follow in the footsteps of local giants.
Qlocktwo for the wall
As is often the case with relatively simple ideas, this one has proven to be a great success. Since the introduction of the first example in 2009, Qlocktwo has garnered more than two dozen international design awards, including the prestigious Red Dot in 2018 (see Complete List Of Red Dot Watch Winners 2018).
Today, Qlocktwo displays the time from the walls of design aficionados all over the world. No wonder, for the eloquent “word clock” has a highly cosmopolitan personality with a repertoire of 20 different languages, including Chinese and the somewhat particular Swabian dialect of German that only the Swabians themselves are able to understand.
Diversity is also true of the material choices, which range from colorful acrylic to opulent gold leaf. The exchangeable front cover featuring laser-cut letters is held in position with magnets to allow for a quick and easy exchange. Crafted from laser-cut brushed stainless steel, it is available in many different colors and surface coatings made to order.
Whereas the Qlocktwo Classic clock measures a more modest 90 x 90 centimers, there is also a “Large” size coming in at 180 x 180 cm as well as a “Touch” table clock line – the a super-slim table clock in a 13.5 x 13.5 x 1.8 cm format that looks just awesome on a desk or coffee table.
The Creator’s Edition, whose front cover is made of different metals and surface treatments including raw steel and rust or patinated copper, is positioned at the top end. Available in three sizes, the Creator’s Rust Edition and Vintage Copper Edition are particularly sought after and also my favorites.
Qlocktwo for the wrist
There has also been a wristwatch size of Qlocktwo since 2014, which employs the same principle of words and letters right on the wrist. With its clear lines, this “little sibling” is notably slim with a case height of just 9 mm. It exudes the striking allure of a genuine design timepiece and is offered in a wide choice of colors.
The time indication only comes to life on request when the button on the case side where the crown would normally be is pushed. Additional indications, also activated by pushing the button, are the day of the week, seconds, and the energy reserve.
Overall I find the Qlocktwo to be a truly cool (and remarkably slender) watch. However, in this particular case I do like the off-the-wrist format better and would prefer to hang a large “Qlock” on my wall!
For more information, please visit www.qlocktwo.com.
Quick Facts Qlocktwo W35 & W39
Case: 35 x 35 x 9 mm or 39 x 39 x 9 mm, stainless steel
Movement: battery driven
Functions: hours, minutes, seconds; weekday, power reserve
Price: W35 from $850; W39 from $1,290
Quick Facts Qlocktwo Classic Creator’s Edition Rust
Case: 45 x 45 cm, coppered and patinated stainless steel
Movement: battery driven
Functions: hours, minutes
You may also enjoy:
Complete List Of Red Dot Watch Winners 2018
L’Epée 1839: The Never-Boring High-End Clock Manufacturer (Video)
Sattler Classica Secunda 1985: A Must-Have Ultra-Luxury Object Or Simply The Ultimate Geek Toy?
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Great article on QLOCKTWO, Sabine. Enjoyed checking out the other works you listed as well as the AHCI members. I’m working on building a catalogue of works of art that tell time in innovative ways to promote some of these works in the U.S. Happy for any additional suggestions. cheers-