Bedroom clocks

Sweet dreams are your respite from the day's stress—so a bedside clock should be discreetly elegant yet spirited enough to rouse you gently and thoroughly when morning comes. 

From top left to right:
  1. An old-fashioned bell ringer is encased in a block of Lucite—a nifty mix of vintage and modern. McCollin Bryan, $248.
  2. This neat, super-legible little tool lights up at night. BAI, $28.
  3. A square, silver-finish molded plastic digital is self-setting. Philippe Starck for Oregon Scientific, $63.
  4. It not only tells time but charges your iPod and wakes you up painlessly to the tunes you love. Fashionation, $40.
  5. Double-time alarm has an easy-to-read face inside, a tiny "museum watch" dial on the cover. Movado Collection, $80.
  6. A limited edition black-and-white clock, inspired by a backgammon board, is as chic as a Turner Classic movie. Cartier, $1,300.

Eyeglasses, Versace. Lamp, Aero. Chair and bedside table, Baker. Carafe, Nicole Farhi Home. Glass, Riedel. Boxes, Barbara Barry Realized by Henredon.
Kitchen clocks

Breakfast Time
Those crucial minutes between taking a shower and leaving for work tend to go unnaturally fast—which is why you need a bright, cheerful clock to keep you and your family perking along. 

Clockwise, from top:
  1. The “asterisk” clock, by pioneering modernist George Nelson (who hung out with the likes of Isamu Noguchi and Buckminster Fuller), is like a punctuation mark for your wall. George Nelson for Vitra, $265.
  2. There's nothing cutesy about this pared-down cuckoo clock. Artificial, $433.
  3. This black disk with a big red 6 has a playful irony that we could all use during rush hour. Oliver Hemming, $128.
  4. The pleasantly retro orange clock is small, so it eats up less wall space. Infinity Instruments, $35.
  5. This rainbow digital can also be wall-mounted to keep counters free. Brookstone, $25.
  6. Do-it-yourself kit includes multicolor self-adhesive cubes you can stick up in any order you please. Karlsson, $79.
  7. This buttery circle will melt even the morning-phobic. Alessi, $134.

Cup and saucer, Apilco Tuileries. French press, Bonjour. Juice glass and bowl, Nicole Farhi Home.
Work clocks

Work Time
What you want is clarity, information, and nice, clean lines—which doesn't rule out innovative shapes or juicy color. A playfully designed timepiece can actually make a task feel less onerous. 

Clockwise, from top
  1. The sunflower clock was originally designed by George Nelson in 1958; its open construction lets the wall color show through. George Nelson, $965.
  2. Gold-plated and extravagant, this is an instant heirloom. Jaeger-LeCoultre.
  3. Get the temperature and barometric pressure along with the time. Ralph Lauren Home.
  4. Reward yourself for a promotion with an upscale brass swing clock. Tiffany & Co., $725.
  5. Sleek 1948 design (also by George Nelson) puts time on a pedestal. George Nelson, $365.
  6. For music with your coffee break, try a vintage-looking clock-radio. Tivoli Audio, $200.
  7. Oversize jumbled numbers on an orange square might counteract 4 o'clock slump. Dario Serio for Nava Milano, $98.

Jewel box with travel tray, Smythson of Bond Street. Desk blotter and pen, Graphic Image.
Travel clocks

Travel Time
You won't miss the plane if you ask the front desk for a wake-up call, but a computerized voice can be kind of chilly. Make a hotel room more homey with a personal alarm (insist on one that's adorable and super-lightweight). 

Clockwise, from top:
  1. A sophisticated embossed calfskin case (slides opens, clicks closed) has the clock tucked neatly inside. Asprey, $700.
  2. This leather case comes in groovy colors like apple green and Caribbean blue. Baekgaard, $44.
  3. A red face isn't a bit embarrassing on this stylish circular clock. Links of London, $195.
  4. An exquisitely thin timepiece—from a company known for jewelry—folds up to matchbook size. Verdura, $225.
  5. Clever, unfussy design and happy colors are the trademarks of the innovative travel-accessory purveyors who offer this model. BAI, $25. 
Luggage, Globe-Trotter. Jewel box with travel tray, Smythson of Bond Street.