The clock that just won’t move fast enough is a mandatory opening scene in any high school sitcom, but it’s also the inspiration behind the Albert Clock, designed by product designer Axel Schindlbeck and consultant Fred Mauclere, who together run the design studio MNTNT. “The concept of the clock was just the idea of ‘How do I compensate the boredom of school, when you’re watching the clock and its just the time passing by?'” says Schindlbeck. Their clever—and brutal—solution is a digital clock that displays mathematical problems that need to be solved in order to know the time.
Schindlbeck and Mauclere developed the idea for the clock last year and were surprised by the immediate enthusiasm they received. Before they had even developed a prototype, they were invited to present the clock at the 2015 Milan Furniture Fair, and their Kickstarter has already raised double their goal with still a week left to go. Schindlbeck says that this popularity can be attributed to it’s simplicity. “What works really well is that we’re not talking about a very complicated object. And still, it’s something that nobody ever thought of before.”
In addition to altering its function, Schindlbeck also wanted to give the basic digital clock a redesign. To begin with, he and Mauclere swapped out the traditional alphanumeric display for a cleaner more rounded customized version that’s easier to read. The exterior of the clock is made by hand and painted with multiple layers of high quality matt lacquer. The circuit board inside the clock was hand-scribed by Mauclere.
Because of this attention to details, Albert is a pretty pricey clock. (On their Kickstarter page, they predict it will come in at about $270.) But the duo is already thinking of ways to deploy the concept on a smaller, more cost-effective scale. “We want to make a smaller version, deploy more mobile support,” like smartwatches, says Schindlbeck. “We want to bring it to where it makes the most sense: into schools.”