Switzerland is known for many things, chief among them its fine watches, its excellent railway system and its picturesque mountains. So it was fitting for more reasons than one that we grabbed a Mondaine EVO Alarm ($475) to take along on a recent hiking trip in the Alps. Mondaine has long been known for its watch dials, which take their inspiration from the iconic clocks that keep the time in all Swiss railway stations. That clock design, with its black-on-white face and an oversized red sweep hand that culminates in a prominent flag, leaves little excuse to the hapless passenger who is a few seconds late as the Inter-City Express pulls away from the platform. Right. On. Time.
The Mondaine EVO Alarm lends an aural reminder to the visual that it’s high time to get to the station. A precise Ronda quartz movement drives the blocky hands around the stark and legible dial (white on black this time) and adds an idiot-proof alarm function. Pull the crown out to first position, set the small alarm hand to your desired time and then pop out the alarm button to activate it. When the time comes, a double caseback that creates a resonance chamber ensures the beeping is startling enough to wake you and send you on your way. Push the alarm button in to silence it. There is no snooze function, so make sure you get up.
The EVO Alarm came in handy on our trip, keeping us on time for the 12:40 from Zurich to Grindelwald and waking us from jetlagged stupor for sunrise photo calls in the mountains. The durable 40mm steel case with its 3-bar water resistance easily survived an all-day rain on the trail and still looked good in the Bierstube afterwards.