Millions of words have been devoted to Dieter Rams’ iconic hardware designs, but nothing stands as a testament to the timeliness of his creations like a 45-year-old digital alarm clock being resurrected and updated to give your smartphone a functional and stylish place to rest and recharge overnight.
The Braun DN40 wasn’t the first digital alarm clock, but it was arguably the first that didn’t look like a technological relic by today’s standards. Its sleek and simple design, a hallmark of Braun’s products, angled the LCD display slightly back, while the buttons on the back used to set the time and alarm all feature distinct shapes so they can be operated without actually having to look at them. Features that should have been standardised on all bedside alarm clocks.
For a while, smartphones meant that bedside alarm clocks were an antiquated and redundant concept, freeing up space on our bedside tables. But then the ‘convenience’ of wireless charging arrived, and we once again had to make room for a big chunk of electronics to plop our phones on at night. That’s where the Braun BC21 enters the picture.
Inspired by the classic DN40, the BC21 features a similarly slanted LCD display on the front (updated with a light sensor that automatically dims or brightens the glowing digits so they’re always easy on the eyes), a beeping alarm that gradually gets louder the longer you ignore it, and a touch-sensitive snooze button on the top that requires minimal effort to activate.
Behind the display is a 10-watt Qi-compatible wireless charging pad covered in non-slip silicone so that whatever you place on it before bed — be it a smartphone, earbuds, or headphones — are still there and fully charged in the morning no matter how much stuff you knock over during a night of fitful sleep. The only downside to Dieter Ram’s legacy is that not only are classic Braun electronics hard to find and pricey when you do, but modern Braun electronics aren’t exactly cheap either, and the BC21 is a hefty $185 — even more expensive than the overpriced Apple MagSafe Duo Charger.