“ Brand: Zeon / Type: Clocks „
Waking up in the mornings is hard to do. I personally would prefer the Wallace and Gromit method of a conveyor belt system connected to a series of chutes leading to relevant rooms in the morning with mechanized robot arms washing, clothing and feeding me without me barely having to open my eyes, but alas technology has not caught up yet so alarm clocks seem the more traditional route to take. Knowing of my love for cats I was gifted a rather fun looking red antiquated style clock (well by today's standards - we are after all living in a digital age) with a circular clock face, twin bells and little legs to keep it propped up. The centrepiece in the clock face is a hard-core looking long haired cat dressed up as a cowboy (The Cowboy Kitty) - I think the intended look was for one of cuteness, but there is a malevolent look in this cat's eyes that pierce into your very soul and seem to say "I know your deepest, darkest secrets and I will use them against you...probably to wake you up in the mornings in ways you cannot imagine"...scary! The individual hour numbers are fairly big and easy to read in a wacky font, but there are no individual minute markers in between so you have to have a bit of a guess as to what the exact time is.
This clock requires 3xAA batteries which for such a small item seems rather excessive, but in actual fact as a standalone clock you only need to have one battery slotted in but if you want to use it additionally as an alarm you will need all three so you can decide how frivolous you are with your batteries depending on what you want from this clock. I have been using this clock now for more than 8 months and it is still going strong so no complaints in this department. Setting the time and alarm is achieved with a few easy twizzles of some knobs on the back. On the left is the knob which will operate the first hands of the clock which can move in either direction so if you shoot too far you can pull it back with little effort, likewise for the knob on the right to move a small red hand which indicates the alarm. These knobs are a little bit on the small size encased in small niches I'm assuming to avoid accidental twizzling thus can be a little fiddly to operate, so are probably best suited to thin fingers. The alarm itself is a little tricky to set with complete precision given the absence of minute markers so you're left guessing a bit, although I suppose if they had been present they would actually have indicated 12 minutes past every hour which is an odd way to keep time, so could explain their nonexistence. You can also test that the alarm is working by pressing the Monitor button on the back which gives out a stilted meow if it is functioning within normal parameters.
I'm not entirely convinced by the actual time keeping capabilities of this clock though. It seems to vary from being on the slow side to the fast side and I'm constantly having to nudge it back or forwards a little to keep it in line with the proper time which is not ideal, and it seems to be worse affected if you are fiddling with the alarm, so if just used purely as a clock it is actually pretty synchronised with the current time, but once you bring the alarm functionality into play it seems to go a bit haywire. Also, the second hand does make a pretty loud ticking noise, not too bad during the day with lots of background noise to blot it out, but in the quiet of night this does anything but lull you to sleep and is really quite annoying. So, bearing this in mind, the real question is how well does this clock work as an alarm? Well, first of all, assuming you've remembered to set the switch at the back to the on position, this clock will sound its alarm at roughly the time you specified, but when I've experimented it seems to be about half an hour earlier than I set it, so assuming all of these clocks are like that and mine isn't just faulty for some reason you will have to adjust accordingly.
Secondly, if you were expecting an old fashioned bell ringing sound that this style of alarm clock used to produce, think again. What you actually get is a really loud (definitely loud enough to wake up other nearby occupants of a house even with doors shut), fairly pleasant, yet pitiful meow for a few seconds followed by what can be only described as the screeching of a deranged and demonic beast recently escaped from the bowels of hell for about 5 seconds on a repeating loop, but for how long if left to its own devices I'm not actually sure. I decided to test this and it ran for about 8 minutes straight until I couldn't take it anymore and turned it off before suicide seemed a reasonable option, so again I don't know if that is a design fault with my specific clock or if they are all supposed to be that way. Also, even though logically the alarm time should have passed, if you switch the alarm back on it just picks up from where it left off which is just painful. It seems you have to fiddle with the alarm to reset it so on a daily basis this would just become a chore. Also, your only option is to switch this alarm off, and I'd advise you do that as fast as possible, so there is no snooze option which I find crucial in the mornings.
At first when I heard the alarm tone I found it totally unexpected and hilarious which makes this clock a great novelty present, but now I really cannot begin to describe how bone-chillingly horrendous this sound is - I'm not sure if I were to hear that sound every morning infiltrating my semi-conscious thoughts I'd be able to function as a normal human being ever again as my mind would experience an extremely violent Pavlovian response to the feline species I once loved which would be a real shame. So yes, I think I can say this clock certainly does work as an alarm to get you up in the mornings (once you've worked out how to set it to your desired time) as the visceral need to turn it off would be overwhelming, though I cannot say for sure it won't cause psychological damage. Sadly, I have been unable to continue using the clock in this vein as the annoying ticking and extremely disturbing alarm are two things I simply cannot bear so this clock has been relegated to downstairs as an ornamental piece purely for time keeping purposes only and never again shall the shrill cries of a possessed demon kitty reverberate through my house.
So, I think this clock is brilliantly quirky making it a fun novelty present for cat lovers or people that proclaim difficulty in getting up in the mornings but as a functioning item I have to question both the alarm and the time-keeping elements which seem to me to be the most important parts of this clock and the need for three batteries, albeit with a good life, is excessive and can only increase expenses. I think setting the alarm accurately is too tricky, and the actual alarm itself is too harsh to be used on a regular basis, but if you need something extra to get you up in the mornings and these two problems are a non-issue for you then by all means go for it. There is a big range of these Wacky Wakers if cats aren't your thing including a pig, a cow, a cockerel, a frog, a blue-tit to name just a few so if violent screeching doesn't appeal there is probably a sound out there that does. At Amazon they retail at a maximum price of £13.99 which isn't too bad either for an alarm clock so all in all I'd say these are great for a bit of fun if you are not predisposed to psychological trauma, but a conventional digital alarm clock may serve you better if accurate time keeping is essential.