Design Moment: Braun travel alarm, 1975

Braun was the go-to brand when it came to alarm clocks in the 1970s and 1980s

Before smartphones put the humble alarm clock on the road to obsolescence, Braun was the go-to brand for anyone interested in affordable design for their wake-up call.

It was in its clock-making heyday in the 1970s and 1980s, at the time when Dieter Rams (b. 1932) was head of design and Dietrich Lubs (b. 1938) a senior designer. In 1975, they collaborated on a compact alarm clock – it fits comfortably in the palm of your hand – and for industrial design students who now study it for its perfect simplicity, it is a realised vision of Rams’s influential 10 principles of good design.

In it he stresses simplicity in design, that a product should be understandable, unobtrusive, honest, long-lasting and thorough down to the last detail.

Monochrome colourway

The AB 20/20 tb clock is easy to read with its monochrome colourway – the white time markings on the black face are indicated by white minute and hour arms. There’s a cheery yellow second hand and the green tip on a black hand indicates the alarm time.


When they realised that their AB 20/20 clock would make a perfect travel alarm clock they added a flip-down cover with a dual purpose – it is printed with a graphic of worldwide time zones and when flipped up it prevents the buttons to be pressed when in transit.