Co.Design

Wanted: An Alarm Clock That Won’t Wake Your Partner

Industrial Facility's discrete, vibrating alarm-clock watch is perfect for couples who never rise at the same time.

We've long admired the British product design firm Industrial Facility for dreaming up elegant solutions to all sorts of niggling problems, whether a hairdryer with built-in cord storage or a doorstop that actually works. Their latest release goes one step further: It's a watch that, we reckon, could save your marriage.

We know that sounds totally absurd, but hear us out. The watch, Analarm, has a vibrating alarm — just like what's in your cell phone — so when it's time to rise and shine, it pulses against your skin. No more ear-splitting beep, beeeeeeeeeeeep! that could wake up half of Texas and most certainly wakes your S.O. who, jarred from a happy slumber and none-too-pleased, spends all morning passively aggressively cooking the eggs. Six months later: Divorce. Get us a watch, pronto!

We jest, but seriously: Wouldn't it be nice to have an alarm clock that wakes you and you alone, and does it gently? In fact, we wonder if it's almost too gentle. What about folks who could sleep through an air raid? Would something like this actually work?

Industrial Facility's Sam Hecht says it's plenty effective, though getting the vibrator right wasn't easy and involved multiple prototypes and lots of self-experimentation: "I would use it during the day to remind me of things, and also at night, to wake me up," he says. "The first vibration prototypes were too subtle. They worked during the day, but not enough to wake me up. So we increased the motor speed, but this was too jarring. The engineers also calculated that the stronger the vibration, the [shorter] the battery life. So we introduced a pulsation — a kind of on/off sequence of vibrations. I used the prototype while traveling to wake me up without waking my partner, to remind me when to go to the airline gate, etc. It worked very well."

[Analarm — a combo of "analog" and "alarm" — eschews complex electronic components in favor of a simple analog interface. To set the alarm, you adjust the knob at the top of the watch face and lift the alert button.]

Analarm is available on Industrial Facility's Web shop, Retail Facility, for 195 pounds, which converts to about $300 — a bargain compared with couples counseling! Buy it here.

[Images courtesy of Industrial Facility]

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2 Comments

  • Davey143

    a bit primative - we entered the digital age about 20 years ago.. tiny little vibration technology is featured in all cellphones... why the need for this cumbersome looking watch?