They’re not as sexy as tourbillons or as impressively complicated as perpetual calendars, but mechanical alarm watches may possess one of the more useful complications for a weary traveler or an overworked executive who might need a little reminder about that big board meeting. In a way, it’s curious that more watch brands haven’t embraced them. Here are five worth noting.
The Blancpain Villeret Réveil GMT, part of the brand’s classically styled Villeret collection, features a mechanical alarm as well as a second-time-zone indication. A subdial at 3 o’clock, with 12 hour markers and two hands, displays the time programmed for the alarm, which is set via a push-piece at 8 o’clock, which engages a column wheel. An “On/Off” indicator at 1 o’clock shows the wearer at a glance whether or not the alarm is activated. The alarm’s chime is produced by a hammer striking a gong. The watch’s GMT function uses a center-mounted, blued serpentine hand (a Blancpain hallmark) to indicate the time in a second time zone on a 24-hour scale.
The movement is Blancpain’s manufacture Caliber 1240H, a self-winding movement with a silicon balance spring and a power reserve of 45 hours. As in other Blancpain watches with alarm functions, the movement is equipped with two barrels — one for supplying energy to the movement, the other to store energy for the alarm’s striking mechanism. Caliber 1240H’s automatic winding system winds them both simultaneously. Prices for the Blancpain Villeret Réveil GMT — available in steel or rose gold, on either a leather strap or Milanese bracelet — range from $24,700 to $55,700. Click here for more details.
With the Breguet Marine Royale 5847 — part of its boutique-only Les Exclusifs de Breguet collection — the Swiss watch brand founded by watchmaking pioneer Abraham-Louis Breguet has created not only a distinctive sport-luxury timepiece with a mechanical alarm, but one that could actually prove useful for divers. The alarm function incorporated into this watch’s automatic movement is designed to work underwater, to a depth of 300 meters, meaning it can be set to remind a diver when his air is running low and it’s time to resurface. Despite this practical “tool watch” complication, the Marine Royale 5847 is still seriously elegant and emphatically Breguet: the chocolate-toned dial (which matches the textured rubber strap) has a hand-engraved rose engine pattern, and the case, along with its unidirectional rotating bezel, is made of 18k rose gold. The watch has a date window at 6 o’clock, a power-reserve indicator at 10 o’clock, and an “alarm on” indicator at 12 o’clock. The Breguet Marine Royale 5847 retails for $46,300.