Watches can do plenty more than simply tell the time — some display calendar information, while others record elapsed minutes or show the phases of the moon. One particularly quirky (though useful) complication even features a built-in mechanical alarm.
Such mechanical alarm watches were once relatively plentiful. (Hell, the watch historically gifted to presidents of the United States is a mechanical alarm watch, the Vulcain Cricket.) Now, however, these quirky relics are (understandably) few and far between. They're relatively complex to manufacture and have kinda been outdone by the Apple Watch.
Even so, a mechanical alarm is a fascinating complication. Here are some favorites that are still being manufactured today.
The classic alarm watch, worn by several U.S. presidents. This modern version features a classy black dial and date display at 6 o'clock, as well as Vulcain's push-button system: it used to activate or stop the alarm, and to put the watch into setting mode.
Oris's lineup of tool watches includes some somewhat unusual complications such as alarms, depth gauges and altimeters. This alarm watch fits within the brand's pilot's watch line, offering utility in a super tough package with a military-inspired aesthetic.
Recalling a vintage model from the later 20th century, Tudor's Heritage Advisor is a rugged beast of an alarm watch featuring an in-house movement (Cal. T401), a 42mm steel case, a matching steel bracelet and 100m of water resistance. While not a "diving" alarm, it's nice to know you can get this one wet and beat it up a bit.
JLC's Memovox remains one of the most elegant alarm watches ever developed, and thankfully, the brand still makes it. It's got a 40mm case, a dual-crown design, and a gorgeous silver dial that's sure to turn heads. An inner rotating portion of the dial lets you know what time the alarm is set for.
Patek Philippe's "Travel Time" is perfect for the well-to-do jet setter: it includes a 24-hour alarm as well as dual time zones and a day/night indicator. You might want to think twice before actually traveling with one, however, unless you have an armed guard.