This Elegant, Analog Alarm Clock Wakes You With Water

But don’t worry, it won’t just splash you in the face.

“We are surrounded by products, products we sometimes don’t even like. One of these products is usually an alarm clock. Some of us would love to just smash it straight against the next wall every morning. Therefore, my intention was just to suggest another method of waking up–with a product that you love too much to smash against the next wall.”


That’s Vera Wiedermann. And when I read the basic philosophy behind her Dreamtime alarm clock, I was a total convert. I never want to use an electronic alarm to wake up again because, seriously, why have all of us been starting our day with an experience we hate?

Her solution is basically a big, hanging balancing scale. At night, you fill it with water proportionate to how long you’d like to sleep, and it slowly drips from one cup to another. Much like sand in an hourglass, it keeps time through a trickle, until it hits a critical tipping point. The weight shifts and a bell will ring gently to wake you up.

Part of the appeal is the alarm, and part is the ritual. “You somehow tell your body: It’s time to go to bed,” writes Wiedermann. Rather than programming an alarm on your iPhone each night during Letterman’s monologue, you fill a container of water and carefully prep the mechanism to wake you. And, not to worry, it will actually wake you.

“My first time with the Dreamtime, I didn’t let me sleep very deeply, mostly because I didn’t trust it to really wake me up,” writes Wiedermann. “But from the first morning, my doubts were gone. And after some days of training (the most difficult part is filling the right amount of water into the bowl), it woke me up as I expected.”

Simple waterlines could designate the water volume per each hour of sleep, of course, but there is one ever-so-tiny stipulation about Dreamtime that Weidermann hasn’t quite come to terms with yet.

“Well, honestly, I would have liked something like a snooze,” she admits.

About the author

Mark Wilson is a senior writer at Fast Company. He started, a simple way to give back every day.