Besides the Chinese astronomical clock of Su Song in 1088 mentioned above, in Europe there were the clocks constructed by Richard of Wallingford in St Albans by 1336, and by Giovanni de Dondi in Padua from 1348 to 1364. They no longer exist, but detailed descriptions of their design and construction survive, and modern reproductions have been made. They illustrate how quickly the theory of the mechanical clock had been translated into practical constructions, and also that one of the many impulses to their development had been the desire of astronomers to investigate celestial phenomena.
Islamic civilization is credited with further advancing the accuracy of clocks with elaborate engineering. In 797 (or possibly 801), the Abbasid caliph of Baghdad, Harun al-Rashid, presented Charlemagne with an Asian Elephant named Abul-Abbas together with a "particularly elaborate example" of a water clock. Pope Sylvester II introduced clocks to northern and western Europe around 1000AD
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.
If you’re looking for a calmer start to your day, you might want to try the Wake-Up Light. It gradually gets you up and out of bed with a colored sunrise simulation and a selection of nature-inspired sounds, so that you can start the day feeling refreshed and energized—as if you had woken up naturally. For anyone who finds it particularly hard to get out of bed when it’s cold and dark out, this alarm clock makes those winter mornings that little bit easier. It also comes with a nighttime dimming feature so that you can make sure you’re getting your best night’s rest.
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.)