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5 Best Watches with Mechanical Alarms in 2024

5 Best Watches with Mechanical Alarms in 2024

Although an alarmis common in electric devices, a mechanical alarm watch still holds a fascinating complication. Find more here!
Apr 22, 2024

Having a mechanical alarm watch might not be as technologically advanced as in smartwatches. Yet, the wonder and art of sophistication are other awards for the watchmaking industry

An alarm function might not be as complex as other watch complications, such as tourbillons or moonphase. Many other electronic devices also have this function but sometimes we just want to have a reminder on our wrist driven by integrated gears and spirals. 

As a geek of any inventions made in the watchmaking industry, I personally took the mechanical alarm watches as one of the fascinating creations. Among endless options we have for reminding our activities or simply a morning call, watchmakers are willing to provide another taste for the enthusiasts. This is why a mechanical alarm watch stands out among the watch community. 

For people who admire the intricate craftsmanship inside a mechanical timepiece, an alarm function will be something to be wondered about and looked into. In this article, I’ve compiled some of the best mechanical alarm watches that also exude style and attractive looks.

Table of Contents

The History of Mechanical Alarm Watch

Nowadays, a mechanical alarm watch is considered rare as not many manufacturers make it in production. However, there is a period when an alarm watch was booming in the community. It was in the late 1940s when many famous figures, such as presidents wore a timepiece with an alarm function. 

The history itself started in 1914 when the Swiss watch industry launched its first mechanical alarm watch. Unfortunately, the plan didn’t go as intended as people still prefer pocket watches instead of a wristwatch with an alarm function. It took almost several decades for a mechanical alarm watch to get recognition. 

The Cricket by Vulcain debuted in 1947 that featured a chiming sound as an alarm tone. Many former presidents used the watch including Presidents Lyndon Johnson, Nixon, Truman, and Eisenhower. That exposure has elevated the alarm watch into high popularity and, thus, the Cricket was known as “The President’s Watch.” 

Not so long after that recognition, other brands followed the path, starting with the Jaeger-LeCoultre which released its mechanical alarm watch in 1949. The Swiss manufacturers also continued to improve and innovate their alarm watches. History set a new milestone in 1959 when Jaeger-LeCoultre introduced the first automatic alarm watch. 

A Well-known Vintage Edition of Mechanical Alarm Watch

During all the milestones of mechanical alarm watches, there are some vintage editions that still give much value at the present time. Those are ones considered a legacy of the era of its type. Some of them are the Omega Seamaster Memomatic and Tudor Advisor Alarm. 

The Seamaster is the first alarm watch that features an automatic wound alarm function. Meanwhile, all the previous models need a manual winding via the crown or an additional alarm crown. In addition to that, the watch possesses a unique charm that the wearer could set an alarm to the exact minute using a turntable mechanism.

As for the Tudor, the Advisor Alarm was the first alarm watch in its production. The watch features a modified AS (Adolph Schild) movement with 17 jewels. The alarm mechanism worked by a hammer struck a pin attached to the side of the caseback. 

That innovation was a great achievement for Tudor to continue the journey. There are several reissues of the model that pay tribute to the Tudor Advisor Alarm. However, the production is now discontinued.

Read also: 8 Rare Vintage Military Watch Recommendations for Veterans

5 Best Mechanical Alarm Watches

As for now, many watch brands make a reissue for their mechanical alarm watch vintage collection. Below are some of the best mechanical alarm watches for you who look for a modern timepiece with a vintage charm inside.  

1. Breguet Marine Alarme Musicale

As the name mentions, the Breguet Marine consists of a marine package illustrated through its design. It was also built to fulfill the needs of the Navy army or the French Royal Navy for the exact answer. The watch was first introduced in 2019 with a titanium case measured at 40mm. That makes the watch appears boldly while also being lightweight.

Breguet Marine Alarme Musicale – Source: Breguet
Breguet Marine Alarme Musicale - Source: Breguet

The alarm sub-dial has been well-placed at 3 o’clock. It blends well with the other element and creates an elegant appearance along with the other sub-dial and big Roman numeral hour markers. There are three buttons on the side of the watch (at 2, 4, and 8 o’clock). 

The pushbutton at 8 o’clock is used to operate the alarm. Meanwhile, the other two barrels function as the one that provides energy for the self-winding Caliber 519F/1 movement and one for the alarm’s striking mechanism.

2. Patek Philippe Grand Complications Alarm Ref. 5520P

I personally consider the one produced by Patek Philippe as the best mechanical alarm watch on my list. The four pushers and crown on the watch do say something about how robust the watch is. That numbers are the indication of the watch complications that feature a day/night indicator, a 24-hour alarm, and a dual time zone.

Patek Philippe Grand Complications Alarm Ref. 5520P – Source: Patek Philippe
Patek Philippe Grand Complications Alarm Ref. 5520P - Source: Patek Philippe

As you can expect from this luxury watch brand, every element is well-finish in high quality. The watch would be a good companion for a traveler. As for the alarm, it makes an interesting whirring sound as if a splendid orchestra bell. Some say that the sound is resemblance to a minute repeater rather than an alarm bell.

See also: The Reputable Holy Trinity Watches in the World of Horology

3. Oris Big Crown ProPilot Alarm Limited Edition

You might not expect a mechanical alarm watch under Oris’ collection. Yet, this watch brand has been known for making watches with quite unique complications. That includes an alarm function, altimeters, and depth gauges. As for this edition, Oris intentionally made it in a limited edition. 

Oris Big Crown ProPilot Alarm Limited Edition – Source: Oris
Oris Big Crown ProPilot Alarm Limited Edition - Source: Oris

Fits within Oris’ pilot watches collection, the watch also features common characteristics needed by a pilot, such as large markers, big crowns, and high legibility. You can spot the alarm function through a yellow-tipped central hand. It points to the inner ring that indicates the 12-hour alarm.

The wearer can use the crown between 2 and 3 o’clock to set and adjust the alarm function. Meanwhile, the other crown is used to wind and operate the watch. This alarm function can be adjusted in 10-minute increments. 

4. Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Control Memovox

Jaeger Lecoultre made some reissue products to pay tribute to its first mechanical alarm watch. As part of the old days, the watch indeed has an aesthetic beauty that not every timepiece has. The blue sunburst dial gives a charm to the overall appearance. At the center of it is the inner dial that can rotate to control the alarm function.

Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Control Memovox – Source: Jaeger-LeCoultre
Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Control Memovox - Source: Jaeger-LeCoultre

At the heart of the watch is a reliable Swiss automatic self-winding that runs at 28,800 vph. The two crowns protruding at the side of the watch serve two different functions. One at 2 o’clock controls the winding mechanism and alarm function while the other at 4 o’clock for regular functions.

See also: Homage Watches: an Art of Classic Vintage or a Lazy Ripoff?

5. Vulcain Cricket

Being the predecessor makes Vulcain one of the best mechanical alarm watches. After a long journey, Vulcain announced that the company is back as a brand. That also leads to the reissue and modern interpretation of new Crickets. It is also supported by the fact that the manufacturer of Cricket movement with alarm function still exists.

Vulcain Cricket – Source: Vulcain
Vulcain Cricket - Source: Vulcain

Vulcain also offers a new and fresh look for the new collection, especially on the dial. Yet, you can still feel the retro charm in the watch from its rounded surface, pointy lugs, box-shaped sapphire crystal, angled and thin bezel, and others. As for the alarm, it can be adjusted by operating a pusher at 2 o’clock. 

Final Thought

In the end, we can see how mechanical alarm watches are still perceived today. Despite its common function that can be found in other devices, the alarm in a timepiece still has a fascinating charm in the watch community. In addition to that, the rarity of the watch that is limited in production brings this watch to be more sought after. Even many are equipped with luxury timepieces making the watch worth more than you expected.

You might also like: The Alluring Charm of Sounds within the Chiming Watches

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