A Gradient Clock Designed To Take The Edge Off Time

Relax, you’ve got all day.

In 2011, the filmmaker and designer Scott Thrift launched The Present, a heady, rainbow-hued clock that tells time by seasons, completing a full rotation once every 365 days. Though conceptualized as an art project, The Present proved a popular–and profitable–consumer product: it sold 1,000 units on Kickstarter (raising three times the amount of its goal) and has sold around 2,000 more clocks through MoMA’s Design Store, where it is still stocked.


Now, Thrift is widening his product range with Today, an equally beautiful clock that rotates on a 24-hour cycle. Like its predecessor, Today ditches the conventional method of dividing time into tiny, anxiety-inducing seconds for a more fluid, meditative perception of time. The difference? This one can actually be used to keep time throughout the day.

“Living with The Present has opened my mind to the fact that time– just like anything in the natural world–is a spectrum,” says Thrift. On one end, there’s the annual clock that stretches time into an elastic, uninterrupted flow that changes as languidly as the seasons. At the other end, there’s the wristwatch that ticks off your day into arbitrary seconds. Today lands somewhere in the middle: the clock hand rotates around a cloud-like horizon line depicting dawn and dusk, with noon on top and midnight on the bottom.

The clock is designed for a new generation of worker, Thrift says. “It’s for people who have careers that are less about how many widgets you can make in an hour and more about longer term thinking and being creative,” he says. Yes, you’ll still need your wristwatch to make it to meetings on time–but Today serves as a gentle reminder of the bigger picture. After all, as Annie Dillard wrote in The Writing Life, how we spend our days is how we spend our lives.

The Kickstarter launches today. Early backers can buy a five-inch desk clock for $88, an 11-inch wall clock for $118, or a steel and glass 11-inch wall clock for $158.

Photos: Kenneth Bachor


About the author

Meg Miller is an associate editor at Co.Design covering art, technology, and design.