What's so great about numbers anyway? And why is it that the circular form seems so sought after? After all, the Qlocktwo from Biegert & Funk proves beyond reasonable doubt that it's cool to be square and words are what matter most. The familiar rounded clock face is abandoned in favor of a stylish and elegant, cornered design where illuminated letters spell out the time at set intervals. It's time-signal receiver ensures this quartz-driven timepiece is always accurate and its interchangeable faces offer numerous color coordination options.

The Qlocktwo advises the passing of time using only words, in much the same way as you would in conversation: "It is five past twelve" or "It is quarter to two" and so on. It does this by illuminating appropriate combinations of the 110 brilliant white LEDs behind the letter matrix on the clock front to spell out the wording of the current time.

For the controlling types there are four manual brightness modes to help set the mood. There's an automatic setting, too, which uses a sensor to control the unit's brightness depending on the amount of light in its surrounding environment.

The display updates at five minute intervals but those wishing a slightly more detailed account of how many moments are being lost can watch for dots appearing at each corner to signal the passing minutes in-between typographical changes.

Watching the seconds fly by is also possible at the press of a button (see video at the end). A pleasant feature is the purist mode where the introductory "It is ... " will only be displayed on the hour and on the half hour.

Inside the machine

At the core of this beautiful creation is a quartz-driven system which synchronizes with the DCF-77 central European time signal, a longwave time transmission emanating from the Frankfurt area of Germany with a range of about 2000km and set to Central European Time. So for a good part of Europe it'll stay accurate.

The system, which consumes less than 2W, is encased in a solid wooden body and topped with a synthetic (acrylic) glass front with polished edges. It benefits from automatic summer/winter daylight saving adjustment and at about 4kg (8.8lb) and measuring 450mm by 450mm by 20mm (17.7 x 17.7 x 7.8 inches) it'll look just as stunning on a wall as on its acrylic stands.

Settings are altered via four small buttons on the back which can be reached without the need to take the clock from the wall.

Getting your hands on one

A special mention must be made of the product website. The Flash representation of the Qlocktwo coded into the page synchronizes with your computer's clock to show the current time in Qlocktwo format - which is a nice touch! It's a pity that this animation is not available as a desktop widget, it would no doubt prove very popular.

The Qlocktwo was released in the second quarter of 2009 and has already picked up a FORM#09 design award by German Crafts Association for its innovative design and functionality. Each clock is hand-made in Germany and comes in six different colors (black ice tea, cherry cake, vanilla sugar, frozen blackberry, lime juice, light caramel) and in three languages (English, German or French).

It can be yours for the recently reduced price of €885 (about USD$1266 - excluding shipping, although all purchases need to be made in Euros). And don't worry if you change the decor of your home after you've purchased one of these beauties as interchangeable magnetic front panels made from either synthetic glass or solid stainless steel can be purchased separately (prices start at €95 or USD$136) and placed over the top of your base color.

iPhone and iPod Touch owners can enjoy the simple beauty of the Qlocktwo clock by purchasing an application on Apple's iTunes store which will not only give your friends something to envy but also works out much, much cheaper than buying the actual clock.

Watch the video demonstration below (in German with English subs) at your own risk, once you've seen it in action - you'll want one:

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