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As we’ve mentioned before, navigating the sometimes shadowy underworld of vintage watches requires the guidance of a trustworthy watch guy.

This time he sent us sniffing down the path of a Jaeger LeCoultre Alarm Watch, a fine specimen of pre-digital craftsman ship—and one of the more unusual models we’ve ever had on our wrist.

Allow us to elaborate…

When you think of a wristwatch alarm, you usually think of the 80s, rubber and high-pitch beeping. This, on the other hand, could easily be confused for a vintage Patek Philippe. When setting the alarm, the center of the dial actually spins like combination lock. (See the black triangle pointing to noon; that’s the alarm time). The resulting sound could best described as a tiny school bell.

Even more unusual is the “bumper automatic” movement, which uses springs to keep ticking. The constant bouncing is slight and almost unnoticeable when you first put in on your wrist, but any sudden hand movements will make a noticeable warble as the movement bounces around within the case. With any other watch, it would mean disaster, but here the springs protect the movement from damage like a bumper (hence, the term), It’s a feeling you don’t get from any other timepiece, and a nice trophy for anyone collecting curiosities.

If that includes you, drop us a line and we’ll let our watch guy know.

—N.B.

CONTRIBUTORS

  • Najib Benouar