I love alarm watches, and you know that. I always say that a vintage watch collection isn’t complete without an alarm watch. Recently, I realized how many alarm watches I have and how different they are. If there were only one vintage alarm watch you could choose, which one would it be?

The competition is pretty tough as we’re comparing the incomparable here. How is that possible? Well, they are all alarm watches, but the Citizen is disguised as a diver, the Nivada as a GMT, the Vulcain as a dresser, and the Basis, well…I don’t even know how to categorize that one. Let’s dig deeper into each of them.

Citizen Alarm Date ALDS 52902-Y

Citizen Alarm Date ALDS 52902-Y

I have to say, we have more options to choose from when it comes to Citizen alarm watches. It was equally tempting to put the fluted-bezel Citizen Alarm Date ALDS 51301a-Y with a date magnifier and an enamel-like deep black dial at the top of this list. In the end, though, I opted for the ALDS 52902-Y diver. An alarm watch in a diver’s body is a hilarious combination that you don’t see every day. That’s why I decided to feature it first. It’s disruptive, unorthodox, and daring, and it looks badass.

Citizen Alarm Date ALDS 52902-Y

It’s all about that Citizen dive-watch design that we’d all be able to draw from memory, spiced up with an unexpected complication. Would you claim that this is not a über-weird combination? Well, it is, and that’s what makes it stand out. And boy, how wonderfully it wears! Put it on a NATO strap, another slap for traditionalists who could not imagine an alarm watch on such a material. Until you put it on your wrist, you won’t fully understand how great it wears and how versatile it is. I am voting for this one!

Vintage Vulcain Cricket alarm

Vulcain Cricket

Reality check: try strapping on the ultimate classic Vulcain Cricket for a few days. After spending a couple of days with the father of all alarm watches on my wrist, I am back on Earth. Look at those radium-lumed hands that stab directly into your heart. The diamond at 12 o’clock, the reflection of white and light gray circles, and the iconic blue alarm track marked in 10-minute intervals make the Cricket very individualistic. Not to mention, that thick Vulcain logo is one of the best logo designs I have ever seen on a vintage watch.

So I am hooked already, and I haven’t touched upon the most important element — the alarm movement. The crown that winds two barrels in two directions is something that any A. Schild alarm caliber can be jealous of. Simply put, the Vulcain 120 makes all other alarm calibers seem dull. We could discuss the fact that your watchmaker would prefer (and maybe recommend) you to go for the AS movement, but you are the one to decide. Wind it, let it shout (because that’s what all early Crickets do), and you will do what I will — cast a vote for the Cricket!

Nivada Grenchen Travelmaster alarm

Nivada Grenchen Travelmaster

Someone at Nivada followed common sense and asked himself, “When is it most important to have an alarm right by your side?” While traveling! And what if we combined it with GMT, which is another useful feature when traveling? Nivada — who was also responsible for another strong alarm contender, the Wanderer — embraced the idea fully and introduced the Travelmaster. Even though the Wanderer uses the legendary Vulcain 120 movement, I chose the Travelmaster powered by the A. Schild caliber 1568 for this contest. That’s because it has something that other alarm watches don’t.


When someone asks me about the Travelmaster, I always first recall the ring under the crystal that marks a positive or negative time difference for each particular city in hours. It might be tiny, but it’s an essential detail that allows you to read the time faster. Then consider the sleek and simple design with splashes of red accents here and there to make it a bit sharper. Ah, I think I am going to give my vote to the Travelmaster!

Basis Alarm Watch BFG 90

Basis Alarm Watch BFG 90

Just when you think the dilemma can’t be bigger, read the full story on this Basis alarm watch with a Baumgartner movement you’ve heard of before. Where to start? A rotating bezel is not something you would expect when it comes to alarm watches, but we have that covered with both the Citizen and the Nivada. Imagine, though, that you’re turning the entire crystal with it. And not just the crystal, mind you, but also a fixed hand attached to it that actually sets the alarm. My friend stopped by a week ago, and I don’t know why, but I showed him this watch. His mind was blown.

The Vulcain winds in both directions, and the Basis winds both barrels in a single direction. There are two holes in the dial with unusual tricolor discs. These indicate which barrel you are winding. It’s a real show, and do not forget to watch the video in that article. Notice also the unusual slider for deactivating the alarm and its fragile construction. The alarm’s sound is in line with the simple case construction, but this watch certainly offers a unique experience. If you want something special, then the Basis it is. Chrono24 is full of Crickets, but the Basis Alarm Watch BFG 90 is not an easy one to find. Does this rare bird deserve my vote too?

If I were forced to dismiss my entire collection of alarm watches, I honestly don’t know which one would be the last to go. Feel free to vote for your favorite below, and share in the comments which alarm watch you think would be the most interesting to buy or keep.

Edit (November 23rd, 21:40 CET): Due to technical issues, poll results were not properly calculated until now. If you voted between 15:30 and 21:40 CET, please recast your vote below. We apologize for the inconvenience.

#TBT The Best Vintage Alarm Watch