A good clock should be easy to read. You should never spend more than a few seconds looking at one to determine the exact time and get on with whatever you’re doing. Nonetheless, it’s interesting to see the Author Clock go against this design philosophy. Created by Mechanical Design Labs, the whole point of this literary clock is to make you take your time reading it.

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You see, instead of using pointers or numbers, the Author Clock uses words. And not just any words: it provides passages taken directly from some of the world’s most famous literary authors and highlights the time in bold so that you can read it.

author clock

Telling the time this way is definitely more time-consuming, but that’s the whole point. Author Clock wants you to take a break when you read it! (So I wouldn’t recommend putting it on your work desk when you’re trying to meet those strict deadlines.)

Over two thousand quotes from authors of various centuries are used to tell each minute and hour, so you can be sure there will be a line from a book or two that will entice you to check it out. Backers of the Kickstarter campaign will even get a chance to submit some quotes from their favorite books to be added to the clock’s system!

author clock

The Author Clock comes in small and large variants (the former has a 4-inch diagonal display screen while the latter has a 7.5-inch display), but both are made from the same materials. Their housing sports white oak wood while the front is protected by a glass screen and a recycled plastic bezel. Both the small and large versions can stand on the provided brass base, but the large Author Clock can also be mounted on your wall.

author clock

Interacting with the Author Clock requires you to use the brass knob on the side. Not only can you set the time, but you can also change the text font to match your literary needs, invert the screen, toggle profanity-ridden quotes on or off, activate low power mode, and switch to a normal digital clock display.

Using the clock normally doesn’t drain too much of its battery life. You can use the small Author Clock for 3 weeks straight before needing to recharge it using a USB-C type charging cable, while the much larger clock requires a charge only once every two months.

author clock

It’s nice to see how many people appreciate good literature, seeing as the Author Clock has already overshot its US$20,000 goal. Currently, it stands at US$645,241, which is thirty times more than what the developers and producers asked for. Well, I guess people really do like to read… even if it puts them at a mild inconvenience!


Carlos wrestles gators, and by gators, we mean words. He also loves good design, good books, and good coffee.