Flip clocks are an interesting, albeit a lesser-loved piece of timekeeping nostalgia today. That’s a shame — the electromechanical technology inside predates even the earliest quartz wristwatches by decades and is perhaps best associated with the whispy, clacking noise of the flip boards (also called “Solari boards,” but more on that in a bit) that were once a mainstay in airports and train stations during the latter half of the 20th century. Sadly, most analog flip boards were phased out of American train stations last year, but you can keep the feeling and technology alive on your nightstand with these great vintage flip clocks.
Solari Cifra 2
Remigio Solari, whose family had been making clocks in Northern Italy since 1725, had one of the most profound yet lesser-known effects on travel and timekeeping when he came up with the idea for the electromechanical flip board in the late 1940s. The “Solari board” became the standard in train stations and airports, and though Solari’s work was most notably used in the commercial sector, it did produce some timepieces for the home like this Cifira 2. The seller states that this is completely new and never used (and thus untested, so keep that in mind) but it’s a great opportunity to own a rare piece in completely unused condition.
Braun Phase 1
Braun has made a variety of timepieces since the 1970s, but the Phase 1 was the company’s first (go figure). Released in 1971, it was the product of two of Braun’s brightest minds: Dietrich Lubs and Dieter Rams. And though Braun’s flip clock would be better refined in the Phase 2, the Phase 1 remains a valiant first attempt. This sample is on offer from Das Programm, an online museum and collector’s space for fans of vintage Braun products. No price is listed, so you’ll have to inquire, though a good indicator of price is this non-transparent version, also available for $233.
Copal was a Japanese manufacturer of flip clocks and made a number of different models during the ’60s and ’70s. And though this 225 is fairly simple (and lacking an alarm), it’s still a great piece of design. Best yet, it’s brand new and comes with the original box and owner’s manual. The seller claims the clock has been tested and is currently in running condition.
10 Best Analog Alarm Clocks
The case for ditching the smartphone alarm for dumb, simple analog. Read the Story