A Tale of Three Clocks
I have had this Braun travel alarm (#1 in the photo - Type 4 768 AB30sl) for 30 years, and it has always worked great. The back falls off and battery rolls out if it falls - which it has done many times - but it hasn't broken yet, and I started putting a rubber band around it to keep the back on better. It has a quiet tick-per-second movement like most of the electric analog clocks of its era. There's snooze bar/light at the top front and the alarm on/off bar across the top back. Alarm starts out on the quiet side and gets louder ("crescendo alarm") which is what I need because I always wake up at the first cheep and don't want it to screech at me. Not too big, not too small. Classic design, works great, and the only time it failed me was when it went missing for a few months (thanks, daughter who shall not be named). During the Dark Time when it was missing, I went on a search for its replacement.
The first thing I found is that this clock is no longer being manufactured. Braun has a number of clocks listed on Amazon, but none of them have the same feature set. And after reading far too many reviews, it sure seems like the current crop of Brauns don't have the same build quality as the old ones. Bummer.
So I kept looking and determined that I likely couldn't get a perfect match for the Braun, but I could get a clock that would satisfy my needs. First candidate that I bought was the Marathon CL030053BK
(center clock in the pic). This is an awesome clock and I really like it a lot! Smooth movement that is completely quiet, not too bright light that comes on when the sensor says it is dark enough. It also has enough mass that it feels extremely sturdy and won't move around due to non slip bars on the bottom. It doesn't have a crescendo alarm, but the volume is fine - not too loud. (Might not work well for heavy sleepers, but then nothing does.) It has the perfect time/alarm set mechanism - a recessed area in back with one stem, normally it changes the alarm time but you can pull it out to reset the time. The only problem with this clock is its size - it's just a bit too big to be really portable. (I am keeping it because it's a great clock - in fact I bought one for my daughter to replace the clock I took back.
I tested a few other clocks on my journey as well, none memorable or satisfactory, but I eventually ended up settling on the silver clock - the LaCrosse 60.1013.54
. It is much closer to the Braun's size and weight, it's easy to turn on the light when desired and easy to turn the alarm on or off or visibly see or feel its current state. The movement is smooth and silent. Again, not a crescendo alarm, but it's still ok. Its one down side would the alarm and time set mechanism - this clock uses small dials on the back of the clock, not an unusual arrangement, but the dials actually stick out past the flat back of the clock, so if I pop it in my pocket or suitcase, I can't guarantee that action won't reset the time! I tested taping the dials, but that prevents the time from keeping up.
If they had just recessed the dials a little...
Anyway, still looking for the perfect replacement. I would really like to see Marathon put out a 2/3 size replica of their clock, that would be awesome!