I’m currently testing out Nokia’s Steel HR hybrid smartwatch (more on that to come), and amongst its litany of features, it has an alarm that vibrates against your wrist to wake you up. So far it has been pretty effective and a pleasant replacement for my regular smartphone alarm. It did get me thinking, though: this is far from the first alarm wristwatch. Back in the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s, the mechanical alarm watch was far more common than it is today and one of the more useful complications of its era. Ironically they’re less sought after now than GMTs, chronographs, etc., and as such you can find solid options from vaunted brands at reasonable prices.
What we like: Rolex was never one to experiment too much with complications, so the Tudor Advisor is about the closest you’ll get to a Rolex alarm watch. It uses a Rolex Oyster case and packs a Tudor movement (outsourced from Adolph Schild). The white dial has developed a nice, spotty patina and the red-tipped alarm hand adds a subtle pop of color. We’re also big fans of the old-school Tudor flower logo.
From the seller: Case is in very good condition overall with moderate signs of use and wear. Dial is in very good condition with some signs of age.
Vulcain Cricket “Oversized”
What we like: At 38mm, this Vulcain would’ve been massive for its time, but it’s just about the perfect size for modern wearers. The yellow gold case conceals a hand-wound movement from Vulcain, and the dial has a nice “waffle” texture that you just don’t find on modern watches.
From the seller: Scarce oversized Vulcain Cricket manual wind alarm circa 1950’s. Features a massive 38 X 46mm case with prominent lugs and heavy snap on back with slots for transmitting sound of alarm. Very pleasing original textured waffle silver dial with applied gold numbers and geometric indexes and oversized tapered gilt hands.
What we like: Along with Vulcain, Jaeger-LeCoultre was one of the early pioneers of the alarm wristwatch. This model features a hand-winding movement, and instead of an extra hand the watch’s alarm setting is indicated by a rotating disk at the center of the dial. At 37mm, it too was fairly big for its era, but it is pretty much the perfect size today.
From the seller: Black dial with red sub dial and double stick hour markers; date and alarm. Black leather strap. pre-owned with box. Inscription on case back.