Manufactured: 2009 – present
Designer: Steffen Schmelling
Bang & Olufsen Whimsy
In the dark days of a recession, which threatens the type of luxury brand that B&O epitomises, somebody has let the B&O designers produce a device which is simply a little piece of joy, made to lift one’s heart and bring a smile. This is the BeoTime. A visual and tactile delight, this is a clock in the shape of a flute, with the most central of the ‘keys’ being a control surface and three slightly smaller keys having LCD screens in them. It is beautifully made from a single piece of aluminium with the four keys on the top surface. Small plastic ribs at either end protect both the BeoTime and any surface it is put upon.
Functionally it is an alarm clock, either using its own alarm or activating a B&O audio or TV system – it has a single alarm time with no day or date functions and the ability to choose between either a 12 or 24 hour format. There is a sleep function as well and, if desired, the device can be used as remote for any B&O system with the ability to change source, channel and volume through a fairly intuitive set of controls. Once again we have a B&O product for which a manual is relatively superfluous.
The control surface is a square, slightly upwardly curved, piece of aluminium with a central square button. The only other controls are an end plunger to activate the alarm feature and a motion sensor which is automatic and makes sure the display is always the correct way up.
The displays lateral to the control surface are slightly smaller with an aluminium frame surrounding the small LCD screens. These have a white/blue back-light which is activated by tapping the BeoTime. The first screen shows either the status of the alarm, giving a time and source, or acts as an indicator of the function you are using by being a navigation panel. The displays are a simple monochrome design but clear with a very pleasant scrolling action. A definite case of less being more.
The second and third screens are the time panels with the first being hours and the second minutes. These double up as displays when using the BeoTime as a remote or when using the more complex functions.
Is this a ground breaking product? No. There are better clocks and better remote controls, but I cannot think of either a remote or a clock that has the jovial charm shown by the BeoTime.
This would make an ideal gift for either a loved one or a friend, with or without a B&O system. For those without, it shows the best in design and ergonomics to a new audience which could only encourage further purchases.