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This ridiculous clock has shape-shifting 3D digits

Published Dec 29th, 2016 6:48PM EST
cool clocks for sale
Image: ETCH

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You might think that by this point in humanity’s existence we’ve exhausted every possible style, configuration, and design of the modern clock, but you’d be dead wrong. Leave it to the Swiss to invent one of the most interesting — and insanely expensive — timekeeping concepts ever imagined. It’s called the ETCH clock, and at first glance you might not even realize it’s a clock. 

ETCH is designed to look like a perfectly square, flat surface, at least when it’s not in use. When telling the time, ETCH transforms, creating three dimensional digits that sink into the surface as though they were — wait for it — etched right into the material. The material that makes up the face of the clock is a flexible elastomer that is pulled inward to produce the etched effect but returns to a pristine flat appearance when released.

The clock has two different modes of time-telling, and can be set to either flash the current time every 30 seconds indefinitely, or to display the time only when the clock actually senses your presence. It does so with a sound detector, and if it hears ambient noise it’ll assume you’re nearby and do its job.

ETCH syncs with a companion app on iOS and Android to pull the correct time and toggle between modes, but before you worry about any of that you’re going to need to actually find a way to buy one. Currently, the only stores that stock the clock are in Europe and a single location in Connecticut. Once you find one, you’ll need to throw down a cool 1,400 Swiss Francs — about $1,360 USD —for the privilege of owning one.