The No-Phone Nomad Clock Thing

I’ve wanted a very specific kind of clock for years now, but haven’t been able to find it.

It’s a combination of a clock, alarm clock, and countdown timer.

Like a phone?

The issue is that I don’t like using my phone as an alarm clock.

Waking up to my phone makes it too easy to start my day checking notifications, emails, etc.

Not how I want to start my day.

Using the phone as a focus timer or meditation timer has the same issue. The moment I go to set the timer, I get tempted by the phone’s infinite distractions.

A regular old alarm clock then.

I would, but I travel a lot and pack extremely light. Most alarm clocks take up far too much space in my luggage to be worth it, so I just compromise and use the phone.

The ideal device would be as small and thin as possible, just big enough for a screen, buttons, and battery.

How about a smartwatch?

The size and capabilities are good, but a few dealbreakers:

  1. Still has notifications and all those distractions I want to avoid
  2. Overly complicated for what I need
  3. Terrible battery life

Maybe a basic little alarm clock from Amazon?

Sadly, these never have all the functionality I’m looking for in one bundle.

They either have an alarm clock, or a countdown timer, but rarely both.

Setting the time is an exercise in patience.

They have the “Hour” and “Minute” buttons that leave you either pressing the button 40 times while the beeping annoys everyone around you, or holding it down and waiting… waiting… waiting…

And don’t you dare overshoot your target or you’re going for another loop!

A physical rotating dial, like a standard watch crown, is the ideal input. Fast, precise, reversible, and intuitive.

The screen needs to light up, but not in a blinding ray of white light. It should have a dim yellow light.

And a good old iPod-style toggle to lock it and prevent accidental button presses when it’s stuffed in your luggage.

Too good to be true?

I’ve scoured Amazon for such a device, and I’ve found devices that are close to this, but which are too big for minimalist travel.

I’m pretty sure the exact thing I’m looking for isn’t available online. I wish it was, because I’d buy it in a heartbeat.

I have an Arduino kit, so maybe I can make it myself.

I’m going to Japan soon, and I’m pretty sure if I can find a small, well-designed, highly specific gadget anywhere in the world, Japan is where I’ll find it.

The hunt goes on.

I might send a newsletter sometime.