Isn't that what the APA/Altitude Preselector Alerter is for?? Why bother putting important info on the yoke in tiny digits when you have an APA with the autopilot? You put it in twice?
It was discovered that if you have any kind of transient electrical power interruption or transfer, the numbers you had set in the altitude preselector either blanked or (worse still) changed to something you hadn't set. This happened a few times on B.737-400s in an airline I used to work for, resulting in a few altitude busts until the problem was identified. Guys got used to setting the cleared level on the control wheel counters as a back up in case the preselector window went U/S. In the outfit I'm with now however, we set the MSA (minimum safety altitude) on the control wheel during climb and decent for awareness during those critical periods. I suppose it just goes to show, they can be used for all kinds of things?