It was a landmark piece of news at the start of autumn: Vulcain Cricket was making a comeback. After some strange years during which the brand was both present and absent, Vulcain a clean slate and a fresh start. All this with the help of Guillaume Laidet, whose work includes Nivada Grenchen, and by focusing on his icon: the Cricket. A must-have release that we absolutely had to test!
Vulcain Cricket: the watch for presidents
It was a Swiss manufacture that was founded in 1858 in La Chaux-de-Fonds by the Ditisheim brothers. In 1947, after five years of research and development, Vulcain released the the first wristwatch with a functional alarm.. Its striking mechanism, almost identical to that of a cricket, was inspired by it. It was thanks to a friend of the founding family, French physicist Paul Langevin, that the the vibrating hammer was reinforced with an elastic membrane in order to amplify the ringing, which had been the biggest problem until then. Vulcan then encountered a worldwide success and businessmen couldn’t do without it. At the end ofHarry S. Trumanthe White House press photographers gave him a Vulcan Cricket. His successor, Dwight D. Eisenhower already owned one at the time of his inauguration. The brand jumped at the chance and launched an advertising campaign entitled “The Watch of Presidents”. His Vice-President, Richard Nixonwas offered one by the National Association of Watch and Clock Manufacturers, before becoming President himself in 1969. John F. Kenny was not a fan, but on his death became its Vice-President, Lyndon B. Johnsonwas offered one, which he held in high esteem. What followed was more gloomy, as the watch market was turned upside down by the quartz crisis. After four American presidents, the Vulcain Cricket fell into oblivion. One man, however, Keijo Paajanen, a Finnish jeweler and friend of the son of Vulcain’s creator, managed to offer one to several presidents during their visits to Helsinki: Ronald Reagan, George Bush, Bill Clinton, Jimmy Carter, Barack Obama and even Joe Biden. His nickname is well deserved!
We got our hands on the version measuring 39mm diameter. In our opinion, the ideal size for almost any wrist. Between its long, slender lugs, bringing the total length to 48.1mm, and its thickness of 12.8mm (13.2mm with our ruler), it brings a handsome presence to the wrist and a retro charm thanks to the curvature of its double-domed sapphire crystal and that of its case middle. The case is fully satin-finished for a dazzling, dressy look, logical for a city watch prized by businessmen of the last century. Then there’s a push-button at 2 o’clock dedicated to the alarm function – which we’ll talk about later – and a traditional crown. One of the most noteworthy details is the solid caseback, featuring four small openings acting as a sounding board for the alarm function, not to mention the aesthetic appeal. Vulcain also offers a transparent back.
The Cricket collection is offered on two types of dials: Classique with painted Arabic numerals and Tradition alternating between painted and unpainted Arabic numerals. applique indexes and Arabic numerals. The dial we have in hand is that of the Tradition 39mm Black” model” a semi-matt black background with satin-finish hour-markers surrounded by a not a timer scale, but dedicated to the alarm function. Each hour is divided into 10-minute increments, allowing the alarm to be set to the nearest 10 minutes. The dauphine-type hour and minute hands are facetted, playing with the light, and accompanied by a fine second hand with a leaf-shaped counterweight. The fourth arrowhead hand is used to set the alarm by pointing to the hour and then to the desired minute range. Everything remains faithful to the original models, offering discreet legibility.
Movement & alarm function
This Vulcain Cricket is powered by a manufacture caliber named Vulcan V-10a hand-wound mechanical movement that would have deserved to have its case back opened so that it could have its own photo, given the effort put into its finishing and the presence of the hammer. This movement oscillates at 18,800 vibrations per hour and offers 52 hours of power reservewhich is quite comfortable. It is also equipped with a double barrel one for keeping time and the other for the alarm function. Thus, double winding is necessary for the watch to function optimally: in the in the opposite direction to a traditional crown to wind the watch, then clockwise for the alarm. To set the alarm, simply presspress the push-button, then turn the crown in a clockwise direction, which will move the fourth hand backwards. point to the desired hour and minute range. When the alarm goes off, twice a day, as the scale is 12 hours, the watch will chime/vibrate for approximately 20 seconds – you can stop the ringing at any time by pressing the push-button. And to set the time, nothing unusual: just make sure you push the crown all the way in to disengage the alarm pusher.
When it comes to bracelets, the brand offers several options ranging from calfskin and alligator leather. In the photos, you’ll see alligator-embossed calf leather. An option that will give you greater flexibility while saving you €300. Her slightly fitted cut with a width of 20mm between horns then 18mm to the buckle, the most standard size. Note, however, that the 36mm version of the Cricket measures 18mm to the lug. Last but not least, the loop is extremely well executedwith a classically modern design and finishes alternating between polishing, sandblasting and brushing, not to mention the superb “V” echoing the brand’s logo. However, it doesn’t seem to be cut from the same cloth, so let’s hope it holds up over time.
Our opinion on this Vulcain watch
This is a watch with a undeniable charm and a almost unique function. Few brands can boast of offering this striking complication. These include Jaeger-LeCoultre’s exorbitantly priced Memovox, and others that have done so in the past, such as Omega, Titus and Bulova. But none of them has this extensive history and punctuated by such illustrious characters. The Cricket is a simple-looking watch that reveals its character in the detailsA mechanical watch that will delight collectors looking for a complication timepiece. In any case, given the performance and with a price starting at €3,600Vulcain hits hard!
Vulcain Cricket Tradition 39mm Black Watch / Features
- Case : 316L stainless steel / Polished finish
- Width : 39mm
- Length : 48.1mm
- Thickness : 12.8mm
- Lug spacing : 20mm
- Photoluminescence : No
- Glass type : Double dome sapphire crystal
- Case back : Solid screwed
- Movement: Mechanical
- Caliber : Cricket Manufacture V-10
- Complication : Alarm
- Power reserve : 52 hours
- Bracelet : Black alligator
- Buckle: Buckle
- Water resistance : 5 ATM / 50 meters
- Limited Edition: No
- Warranty : 2 years