Sunday, October 30, 2011

It's time for a new timer

The other day I was shopping at Galeria Kaufhof (a German department store), browsing through the kitchen section for shiny red appliances when I came across a most curious gadget: a kitchen timer by Zassenhaus. The bright enamel housing and the clean design of the face was enough to draw me in, but what really sealed the deal for me was the fact that this timer uses no batteries at all.

The picture on the packaging is for a 60-minute timer with a slightly different face, but the innards are probably identical with the model I bought.

The way it works is you turn the polished metal ring clockwise until the red hand reaches the 55-minute mark. Then turn it back (counterclockwise) to your desired length of time. The winding action creates enough tension in an embedded spring to set off a loud metal bell for about 4 to 5 seconds once the time is up. The sound reminds me of the old-fashioned school bells I used to hear as a child whenever school was out.

Don't they look like candy?

These delightful little things come in many bright enamel colors as well as stainless steel, and their size (about a handwidth) is practical as well. You will need a metal surface such as a refrigerator door to place it on, since it only attaches with a magnet on its back.

Now the cons: you have to use both hands as the magnet is not quite strong enough to hold the body in place while you wind up the timer. Also, if you happen to be two rooms away and have the doors between you and the timer closed, you might not hear the bell, although I've personally found the length and volume to be sufficient for normal everyday use in my household. And finally, if you need a timer that can handle times above an hour, this may not be the one for you.

Overall I am absolutely delighted with this purchase and have ended up buying a half a dozen as presents for friends and family.

The manufacturer, Zassenhaus, is a German company most famous for its spice and coffee mills, which they have been producing since the mid-19th century. So far I have only found these timers on German retail sites, with the exception of one Australian company which imports kitchen accessories from Europe.

Zassenhaus product page:

From the German Amazon site:

From Chef's Greatest, an Australian kitchen products retailer:


  1. I bought a red one here at the Sur La Table store in Santa Monica, California a few weeks ago. It is a simple and effective kitchen tool that is used every day. Batteries not needed, thank you very much! Highly recmmendef.

    1. Glad to hear you're as pleased with it as I am. I still use mine regularly while cooking or doing other household chores.


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