The Etch is a Morphing Digital Clock Sculpture

The Etch Clock is unlike any Swiss clock we’ve ever seen, a tabletop or wall-mountable digital clock designed to mimic an “etched in stone” effect using an elastic membrane with an undisclosed patent pending technology engineered to produce an engraved or embossed fonts/digits effect on demand.

The 24-second teaser video shows an almost unconvincing, CGI-like effect while in use, but the designers at 42foundry claim they’ve effectively figured out how to turn a non-display surface into the semblance of a digital clock, likely utilizing micro-pumps to suck or push out air to create a vacuum in the form of numerals or letters. No detail whether the display is limited to the center of the 40 x 40 cm coated aluminium frame, or whether the Etch is capable of display across its “dark Peacock” display face beyond four numerals.


Like nearly every product today, the Etch Clock has an accompanying app, one designed to let users pick from two display modes: “Sync & Go” displays time automatically every 30 seconds; “Sync & Sensor” displays time every 30 seconds, but only in the presence of sound picked up by an internal sensor.




We can imagine this being further developed beyond a single clock and combined into “tiles” (imagine this type of technology incorporated into showers for a waterproof tile wall display). But considering a single Etch Clock will set you back $1,300, this remains a cool conversation piece for a demographic more concerned with time than money.

Gregory Han is a Senior Editor at Design Milk. A Los Angeles native with a profound love and curiosity for design, hiking, tide pools, and road trips, a selection of his adventures and musings can be found at