Heathkit just rolled out another offering in their lineup, the Most Reliable Clock GC-1006 kit, which is described as an entry level kit suitable for those with no prior kit building experience. It looks very much like the GC-1005, a 30 year old kit offered by Heathkit decades ago and still in use by many of the builders who put one together back then.
The clock has been completely redesigned inside with new components since many of the old components are no longer available. The clock also has a nice battery feature so power outages won't restart the display at 12:00 until you reset everything. You can even run it offline for weeks before you have to plug in.
The display dims in the dark, controls are easy to understand and the alarm itself is a peaceful warble that gets you up with a smile instead of one of those obnoxious buzzers. It looks like the clock does exactly what it's supposed to do, keep time with an easy to read display, easy to set controls and you get a nice kit building experience in the process. It's about the simplest way possible to see if kit building and electronics is for you and you get a nice looking commercial quality alarm when you're done.
With an AM radio and this clock covering the basics, it will be interesting to see what more complex kits they have in mind for the future.
But, who are these guys?
One cautionary note: Although the kits described in the two articles we've written seem interesting, the company itself is a mystery. The new owners behind it refuse to identify themselves and justify their veil of secrecy by saying they would rather focus on building kits instead of press releases. That isn't really an either/or choice. People like to know who they're doing business with and there's no reason it would take away from their focus on putting out great kits. The company could be the rock solid and legitimate company they portray themselves to be and there are a whole lot of us that want that to be true, but operating the way they are, it just seems odd. Time will tell.