The eccentric ways modern designers are telling the time

This peculiar collection of timepieces makes the hours fly by.

Lash Clock

Designers from around the world are utilising their creativity to reimagine one of humanity's oldest creations, the traditional clock design. Check out this list of weird and wonderful alternatives to the regular modes of telling time.

There Is Something in the Air by Patrick Palcic

There Is Something In The Air

This copper clock by German designer Patrick Palcic releases fragrance as a way of communicating the time. Called Es Liegt was in Der Luft – or There Is Something in the Air – the timepiece was presented at this year's IMM Cologne. Made up of a slowly turning copper face, the clock features 12 small holes for each hour that are punctured around the perimeter. Each hour is assigned a different fragrance and a drop of this essence is released at hourly intervals. As perfume trickles down the copper face - which is heated at the centre - it begins to warm up, causing the scent to evaporate and float through the air.

Ferrolic by Zelf Koelman


Created by Dutch designer Zelf Koelman, this clock spells out the time using a magnetic ferrofluid that is controlled by a set of electromagnets. Consisting of a rectangular framed screen that contains the liquid within, the ferrofluid is attracted to wherever the magnetism is strongest and then form the clock numbers on the display screen. "Its unique dynamics are the visual result of the black fluid continuously finding balance between gravity, magnetic fields and its own van der Waals forces," Koelman explains.

Lash Clock by Bina Baitel

Lash Clock

Currently on show at the museum complex of Grand-Hornu in Belgium as part of the ‘Telling Time’ exhibition, this unique timepiece by multidisciplinary French artist Bina Baitel takes numbers, clock hands, and ticking sounds out of the equation. Appearing static at first, closer inspection reveals a constant pulsing that could be best described as ‘an eyelash with a heartbeat.’ The gaps that are created by the pulsating fibres mark every second, while hours are made distinct by a slightly wider gap created by these eyelash-like strings.

ETCH by 42Foundry


Made from an aluminium frame and a stretchable and flexible surface of elastomer, ETCH presents the time via 3D numbers digitally engraved in its membrane. Made by Switzerland-based company 42Foundry, it lends a physical presence to the time. ETCH also features an accompanying app that lets you choose between two ways of displaying the time: ‘sync & go’, which displays the time every 30 seconds, and ‘sync & sensor’, which shows time every 30 seconds but only in response to an ambient sound or noise.

STORY by Flyte


STORY by Flyte is a levitating timepiece that orbits around a wooden base, counting down the hours, minutes or even years – depending on your preference. A metaphor for the planet and its rotation around the sun, STORY aims to alter our perspective on how we experience time by encouraging users to measure time at the intervals of their choice rather than in bursts of five minutes or half an hour. Employing the company’s magnetic levitation technology to make the ball float in mid-air, STORY can also be used simply as a 12 hour clock, with a backlit digital display to show the exact time.

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