droplet clock

Water is a miracle molecule that supports all life on earth. In ancient times water was used to tell time, a practice still used today. Bedol, an innovative company, took historical practices a step further and literally made a clock that works using water.

how water clock works

The clock is a simple galvanic cell. These cells generate their power using a submerged cathode and anode in electrolytic solution. More simply put, a positive metal like copper and a negative metal like zinc are submerged in a solution containing electrolytes. Water in the solution allows the electrolytes to transfer between the two metals, generating power.

In concept, a clock that runs on nothing but water sounds like a great idea; keeping people from using and tossing out AAA batteries. Marketed as being eco-friendly some controversy is surrounding the actual “green-ness” of the product.

•    No batteries, and no need for external power.
•    Clock body is non-PVC plastic and recyclable.
•    Runs on a small volume of water.

•    Longevity is uncertain.
•    Maintenance is required.
•    Display doesn’t light up.

filling water clock

A recyclable clock that never needs batteries and is self-powered using water is definitely an eco-friendly idea. However what stops this clock from really being green is the uncertainty of how long it will work. Some owner’s claim that the clock lasted years, others say they had problems after only a few months.

This uncertainty in longevity can be due to improper care, water quality, maintenance or simply a good idea but bad design. Websites like how stuff works say that natural lemon juice needs to be added to the tap water. There is no solid consensus on how much to add and no mention by Bedol that lemon juice is needed. At the end of the day having to replace the clock after so short a lifetime may not cancel out the evil of using batteries.

squirt water clock

Bedol has a wide variety of water powered clock designs from wall mounts to table toppers. The newest addition seen above is the squirt. It sells for $26 on Bedol’s website but is also available on amazon and eBay. The other clock designs can range in price from $20 to $90. In the end, the water powered clock from Bedol is a great idea but may be one that needs refinement.

related: more green gadgets featured by The Alternative Consumer