In atomic clocks the controller is an evacuated microwave cavity attached to a microwave oscillator controlled by a microprocessor. A thin gas of caesium atoms is released into the cavity where they are exposed to microwaves. A laser measures how many atoms have absorbed the microwaves, and an electronic feedback control system called a phase-locked loop tunes the microwave oscillator until it is at the frequency that causes the atoms to vibrate and absorb the microwaves. Then the microwave signal is divided by digital counters to become the clock signal.[72]
Water clocks, also known as clepsydrae (sg: clepsydra), along with the sundials, are possibly the oldest time-measuring instruments, with the only exceptions being the vertical gnomon and the day counting tally stick.[9] Given their great antiquity, where and when they first existed is not known and perhaps unknowable. The bowl-shaped outflow is the simplest form of a water clock and is known to have existed in Babylon and in Egypt around the 16th century BC. Other regions of the world, including India and China, also have early evidence of water clocks, but the earliest dates are less certain. Some authors, however, write about water clocks appearing as early as 4000 BC in these regions of the world.[10]
About 1581 Galileo noticed the characteristic timekeeping property of the pendulum. The Dutch astronomer and physicist Christiaan Huygens was responsible for the practical application of the pendulum as a time controller in clocks from 1656 onward. Huygens’s invention brought about a great increase in the importance and extent of clock making. Clocks, weight-driven and with short pendulums, were encased in wood and made to hang on the wall, but these new eight-day wall clocks had very heavy weights, and many fell off weak plaster walls and were destroyed. The next step was to extend the case to the floor, and the grandfather clock was born. In 1670 the long, or seconds, pendulum was introduced by English clock makers with the anchor escapement.
A brushed and polished brass finish gives this metal carriage alarm clock its enduring style. The decorative handle, turned brass button feet, and polished brass-tone columns at the corners add to the clock's stately presence. Beneath a glass crystal, the brushed brass-tone dial features circular, diamond-cut numeral ring, black Roman numerals, black hour and minute hands, and brass second and alarm hands.

Special features beyond simply keeping time can be either practical or decorative. Often found in the kitchen or other busy room, some digital clocks can show readings of the indoor or outdoor temperature, display the date, and have the capacity to set an alarm or timer. A swinging pendulum is most commonly found on fancier wood and metal clocks, though some novelty styles also feature a pendulum.

Here at the Strategist, we like to think of ourselves as crazy (in the good way) about the stuff we buy (like pillows), but as much as we’d like to, we can’t try everything. Which is why we have People’s Choice, in which we find the best-reviewed (that’s four-to-five-star reviews and lots of ‘em) products and single out the most convincing. While we’ve tried to find the nicest-sounding alarm clocks and ended up with picks for the best alarm clock and a voice-controlled alarm clock, we wanted to see what other ways to wake up were out there. So we found the best alarm clocks on Amazon, according to hyperenthusiastic reviewers. (Note that reviews have been edited for length and clarity.)