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The Domino Clock and a note on impractical design

Watches and clocks that obfuscate the time confound me. Why sacrifice an object’s primary purpose for the sake of whimsy? I don’t own any watches with numberless faces or clocks that try to reinvent the simple, straightforward and long-established system of telling time. This has always been my point of view, but lately I’ve been weakening. It all started when I saw this watch at the MoMA store, and though I’m still not sure if the time shown in the picture is 10:05 or 10:10 or maybe even past 11, I love it.

And now there’s this, the even more confounding Domino Clock from Carbon Design Group. Reading the time should be an instantaneous action, but I have to pause at each domino to count the dots. The design, however, is so clever I can’t help but be won over. The dots are articulated, and flip back and forth between white and black depending on the hour or minute. And, as they communicate wirelessly they can hang on the wall or stand free. Maybe it’s just me, but can anyone actually read it quickly enough for it to actually be useful? That’s not to stay it’s not a great design, but if I had one I’d still need a regular clock.