Introducing ... the "Pill Clock"

Floating around the auction sites you'll occasionally happen upon a strange little pill - The Target FC1000 Flip Clock with alarm and radio. The clock was manufactured for Target in China and apparently sold in the US and France (the two languages on the clock) around 2009-2010. Apparently not a huge hit back then, for modern flip clock fans, it remains a very interesting clock regardless.

Appearance:The case of the clock is white, with the tuner and volume dials offering some silver accents. The face of the clock is green and covered by a clear acrylic, rounded plate. The large black number tiles are highly visible and illuminated by two LEDs. The clock reviewed is of the 24 hours ("Military Time") type (more common in consumer products in Europe). The clock runs on DC power supplied by either 3 AA batteries or with the AC adapter included with the clock.

Measures: In inches, the clock measures 3 3/4 in H X 9 9/16 in W and 3 1/2 in D (9.6cm X 24.2cm x 8.8cm)

Features: The clock is jam packed with buttons, switches and dials and initially can seem daunting to operate. Buttons on the top of the clock include the large "Snooze" button, the radio on/off, a sleep mode selector, and the alarm on/off selector. Turning the clock around, you'll find switches for choosing whether to wake to beep alarm or radio, the AM/FM slide switch, and a switch to select 30, 60 or 90 minutes of sleep mode (that is, the time to play the radio before automatically shutting off. Somewhat of a noisy flipper, the clock does boast large, easy-to-read flip digits which are illuminated by two LEDs. However, it seems these work only for a short time after pressing the snooze button.

Interesting Details:The design of the dials for radio station tuning and volume are located on the left side of the clock (when facing the clock) and are very unique - the dials encircle the body of the clock and smoothly rotate, with a viewing window in the dial showing the selection. The radio tunes in AM and FM equally well. The quality of the radio sound is functional, but not in any way for entertainment of the modern listener.

The alarm sound, though described as a "buzzer" on the selector switch, actually presents as an annoying beeping sound. The alarm is rather insistent that you wake, as it will increase in intensity (beep frequency) if you do not hit the "Snooze" button or turn off the alarm. Setting the alarm is challenging, due to the unusual selector. The clock must be set for both AM and PM. So to wake at 6am, you'll rotate the selector dial on the right until the numbers 6 and 18 appear. In smaller numbers to the right you'll see 00, 15, 30, and 45. You will approximate the time to wake by moving the dial until the time lines up appropriately. I suppose this should not matter, as when you do wake in the morning, you'll likely turn the alarm button off (so that the clock will not again alarm in the afternoon). Still .... strange design.

More Quirks: When changing to the next hour, (for example, 5:59am to 6am) the clock will first flip the minutes from :59 to :00, then pause. For a full 12 seconds, it appears you have gone back in time to 5am, until suddenly (and rather loudly) the hour flaps to 6am. Twelve seconds is enough time for a poor soul to wake, look at the time and presume another hour of sleep was to come.

Summary: A great clock for the collector who wants it all. But additionally, a wonderful little piece to actually use functionally, or to give as a gift, to just about anyone. The clocks show up infrequently on the internet (try eBay or Etsy) but if you're patient, you should be able to pick up one eBay for a reasonable price (last one as of the writing of this article went for $20.00 plus $9.00 shipping). Overall, a very good example of a "modern" flip clock that functions well and with such a unique appearance, will definitely be a conversation piece.

Additional Images


Video:The video below basically contains the information above, but will allow you to hear the alarm and radio (as well as to view the unusual flipping to the next hour). Please excuse the little, tongue-in-cheek with the presenter acting like a studio audience were present.

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