New Toy: La Crosse 513-1211 Clock

I recently bought a couple of these La Crosse 513-1211 clocks  – one for my living area, one for my sleeping area – because, well, I have this clock-lust thing going on. I get an inordinate amount of satisfaction from a clock that tells me the right time.  Not some approximation; I mean the exact time.  Sure, the solution is a synchronized atomic clock, but the expense!  the maintenance hassle!  and they’re not exactly off-the-shelf at Amazon (yes, I’ve looked).  The next-best compromise is a clock which does the synchronization alone – every night, with the NIST broadcast time server (WWVB) in Fort Collins, Colorado.  My wristwatch does that (Casio Wave Ceptor DataBank 150) and it has given me much satisfaction.

I’ll give it this: setup was easy-peasy, and, well, these giant clocks do work.  The one in the living area synchs nightly, but the one in the sleeping area can sometimes get spotty, probably due its facing the wrong way (North, as opposed to West or East, in the direction of the tower).  The temperature readout is also accurate, and I’ve confirmed that by way of an independent measure (OK, I used a digital cooking thermometer in a glass of standing water).  The viewing angle is about what you’d expect, but without a tritium backlight it’s only good if the ambient light level is enough to read a book.  Of course, with a tritium backlight I’d want a sturdier case, and sadly the case of the clock is amazingly cheap-o for something so hideously expensive.  It’s made of easily smashable plastic, the battery contacts are standard, and everything about the build quality says the engineers were tasked with keeping the BoM low.

Oh, and it comes with an alarm function.  For a large, wall-mounted clock this seems superfluous, although it does have cheap-o little swing-out legs for standing it upright.  At any rate, with all the buttons on the back, I imagine silencing the alarm in the morning would be – challenging.

Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is*?  Why, yes.  Yes, I do.

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