CleverClocks: The Art of Time Keeping


“I can’t choose!” I cried in desperation. It was Sunday, the last day of the Contemporary Arts and Crafts Market in Santa Monica. I had been  standing in front of Cleverclocks’ booth for a good 45 minutes, examining about 20 wall and desk clocks, trying to picture how each would look around the furniture of our small apartment unit, analyzing each of their specs, weighing the pros and cons, racking my brains to determine which one I should get. “That’s very good to know,” the guy manning the booth said, pleased and amused at his bewildered customer. “I think that was the whole intention when these clocks were designed.”

The first batch of Cleverclocks were produced in London in 1984; they later found their way to Oakland, California. The genius behind these clocks is an Englishman named Douglas Chalk, whose beginnings as an artisan watchmaker is an interesting story altogether.

Contrary to the clocks we’ve grown accustomed to, these clocks are not built to be ergonomic.  They are meant to attract, stimulate, and generate curiosity. The designs are edgy, featuring graphical and geometrical patterns to depict the seamless ebb and flow of time. But what’s more interesting about these clocks is that they are handcrafted to perfection, manipulating everyday materials such as metal, wood and plastic and molding them into something extraordinary.

As much as they are unique and eye-catching, some of the clocks’ designs make telling the time a challenge. Who has time for brain teasing when you’re already running late?! But then again, if you’re clever enough, you’ll figure it out.

If you’re wondering if these clocks are worth a fortune, well, it depends. If you’re the type of person who shells out thousands of dollars for a 4″ x 4″ abstract painting, then I think it’s worth your penny’s worth. I’m the stingiest person alive yet this is what I got for my creative corner:

Triangle

*Clockwork House is at 6702 San Pablo Avenue, Oakland, CA.

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One thought on “CleverClocks: The Art of Time Keeping

  1. I just went to Clever Clocks today. Douglas and Eva were very kind and hospitable, showing me where they worked and what kind of things they do. I ended up staying for an hour and a half talking to them, and leaving with my very beautiful 9″ table clock in the arrow design. Great people, great business!

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