Oregon Scientific BAR339DP

A chic projecting digital clock that also displays the weather

Image: Hugh Threlfall

I think it’s fair to say that I am not principally known as an interior designer. And yet for the past 15 years or more, one of my discoveries has become a key visual feature of the Technopolis household and has won the approbation of countless visitors – who I don’t believe were being ironic.

It was back in the salad days of Tony Blair that I received a sample of an Oregon Scientific digital clock that projected the time onto a wall or ceiling in big orange numbers in a retro-cool futuristic font. The clock was designed for bedrooms, but the projector was so bright that it worked even in daylight in our reasonably well-lit living room. The only problem was that the layout of the room dictated that the projected numbers hit the sweet spot on the wall at an odd, oblique angle, resulting in the digits appearing tilted. But this slant lent a jaunty look that we liked immediately.

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A few years later, the display began to deteriorate and we replaced it with a new, even better Oregon. But recently that too failed and so I ordered another updated model. When it arrived, though, it was flimsy and had no power at all. Endless Googling for potent projector clocks led nowhere, other than to this Oregon device, which is sold more as a projecting weather station – not what we wanted.

However, it actually does the trick very well – and having the outdoor temperature on the wall along with the time and a vaguely accurate barometric-pressure-based weather forecast turns out to be a bit of a bonus. We’ve already come to rely on a quick temperature check before going out and wonder what we ever did without it – the mark of a great gadget. The clock gets its weather data from a remote unit, which needs to be kept outside, but it connects wirelessly and is no bother.

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The sole complaint is that Oregon has replaced the retro font with a smaller, more modern one, so the display isn’t as stylish as with its predecessor. But, as Mick Jagger so rightly sings, you can’t always get what you want.

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