A buzz for presidents: Cutting-edge alarm wristwatches

Inspiring the minds of white collar workers in the post-war era, the notable first alarm watches served a crucial purpose for people for on the move.
Dwight D. Eisenhower, Mamie Eisenhower, Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Philip and Canadian Prime Minister John Diefenbaker and his wife attend the opening of the St. Lawrence Seaway, 26th June 1959. (Photo by Express Newspapers/Getty Images)

A mine of alerts, whatever recreation or chore you need a reminder for, the smartphone has you covered. So normal are these modified alarm functions, it’s no longer deemed cutting-edge. But turn the clock back to 1947, and the rattling sound of the mechanical wristwatch alarm performed by the Vulcain Cricket really was groundbreaking. The first successful mass-produced alarm wristwatch, they became popular with US Presidents: Harry S. Truman, Dwight D. Eisenhower and Lyndon B. Johnson all patrons of the model.

Not technically the first alarm watch, it stands out as the first – as its complex functionality didn’t suffer any flaws, unlike the alarm timepieces before it. To ensure that the alarm function would be loud enough, Vulcain opted to use a double caseback system to guarantee that the alarm would resonate properly without affecting and adding excessive thickness to the timepiece.


Freddie Anderson


June 2022


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