In mechanical clocks, the power source is typically either a weight suspended from a cord or chain wrapped around a pulley, sprocket or drum; or a spiral spring called a mainspring. Mechanical clocks must be wound periodically, usually by turning a knob or key or by pulling on the free end of the chain, to store energy in the weight or spring to keep the clock running.
The word horologia (from the Greek ὥρα, hour, and λέγειν, to tell) was used to describe early mechanical clocks, but the use of this word (still used in several Romance languages)  for all timekeepers conceals the true nature of the mechanisms. For example, there is a record that in 1176 Sens Cathedral installed a ‘horologe’ but the mechanism used is unknown. According to Jocelin of Brakelond, in 1198 during a fire at the abbey of St Edmundsbury (now Bury St Edmunds), the monks 'ran to the clock' to fetch water, indicating that their water clock had a reservoir large enough to help extinguish the occasional fire. The word clock (from the Celtic words clocca and clogan, both meaning "bell"), which gradually supersedes "horologe", suggests that it was the sound of bells which also characterized the prototype mechanical clocks that appeared during the 13th century in Europe.
Seriously, projection clocks are awesome. Apart from the obvious design perks, you get high-speed USB charging for your phone or tablet overnight. (By the way, we recommend setting multiple alarms no matter what clock you buy, you heavy sleeper, you.) The large LED display of Electrohome EAAC475 is sure to wake you up if the reflection of the projection and the sound doesn’t. You can set this up without worry—power failure doesn’t stand a chance. The lithium-ion battery that’s included in this model acts as a backup power reserve, so you’re never caught with your guard down.
The timekeeping element of a quartz clock consists of a ring of quartz about 2.5 inches (63.5 mm) in diameter, suspended by threads and enclosed in a heat-insulated chamber. Electrodes are attached to the surfaces of the ring and connected to an electrical circuit in such a manner as to sustain oscillations. Since the frequency of vibration, 100,000-hertz, is too high for convenient time measurement, it is reduced by a process known as frequency division or demultiplication and applied to a synchronous motor connected to a clock dial through mechanical gearing. If a 100,000 hertz frequency, for example, is subjected to a combined electrical and mechanical gearing reduction of 6,000,000 to 1, then the second hand of the synchronous clock will make exactly one rotation in 60 seconds. The vibrations are so regular that the maximum error of an observatory quartz-crystal clock is only a few ten-thousandths of a second per day, equivalent to an error of one second every 10 years.
Designed to fit anywhere in your home, the Amazon Echo Spot uses voice recognition to let you see weather forecasts, read music lyrics, listen to Audible audiobooks, and more — and it’s all hands-free. Just ask Alexa to snooze the alarm. You can even ask Alexa to control the smart home devices in your house, including lights, locks, cameras, and thermostats. Need to make a phone call and don’t want to walk across the room to your phone? Ask the Spot to make phone calls or video calls to family and friends. As you can see, the Spot has much more in common with the Echo Dot than with a traditional alarm clock, although you’ll still get the time and a sleep mode. For more, read our full review.
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.)