Back in 1953, the president of the White House News Photographers Association presented President Harry S. Truman with the gift of a mechanical wrist watch. This very special time piece not only told the time, but offered the unique function of a mechanical alarm. One that buzzed loud enough to wake you up when you needed (which the Secret Service sometimes mistook for a possible bomb). This watch was a Vulcain Cricket.
This gift started a trend with US Presidents, each receiving a Vulcain Cricket as a gift. Dwight D. Eisenhower had wore a Cricket prior to becoming President, and loved the brand immensely. Lyndon B. Johnson was also an avid fan of Vulcain. He adored the brand enough to gift over 200 Crickets and even personally write Vulcain to share how much he appreciated the watch and its function.
While much of the presidential fame gained for the Cricket came after 1953, this incredible technology was actually developed in 1947. It was the first true functioning mechanical alarm in a wrist watch, which was a truly difficult task back then (and still is today). Prior to the Cricket, Vulcain had already established themselves as a high quality and precision brand, but this put them over the top.
The original Vulcain 50’s Presidents watch has now been re-introduced, bearing the same classic deign, but modified with today’s technology. The new larger size has a scratch resistant domed sapphire crystal with dual anti-reflective coating, compared to the old, this is a huge improvement. The new also has an in house Vulcain V-21 automatic movement, whereas the old was manual wind.
The V-21 was introduced in 2009. It has 23 jewels, 257 parts, self-winding with ceramic bearings for the rotor, patented Exactomic System for the incabloc shock absorber, 2 barrels (one for time keeping and one for the alarm), 18,000 beats per hour, 42 hour power reserve and a mechanical alarm that will last up to 20 seconds. The in house caliber is made in Le Locle Switzerland and decorated beautifully (Geneva Striping, perlage, blue screws, ect) . This makes for a lot of watch!
The mechanics are phenomenal in these pieces, but to be honest, the looks are what grabs the attention. Near everyone who comes in our store rave how beautiful they are, not even knowing how great the movement is or even about the alarm. The combination of brushed and high polish (which is very impressive quality) makes the attention to detail obvious. The dome crystal and sunburst dial give the watch a lot of depth and clear legibility. The applied Arabic numerals are also high polished and look great. Even the butterfly deployment clasp is beautifully decorated with perlage and very well constructed. A perfect compliment to the black gator strap.
The alarm function is the most fun part of the watch. It actually works fairly simple too. Turn the crown upwards (clockwise) to wind the alarm spring, turn the crown down (counter clockwise) to wind the time keeping spring. To set the alarm, push the upper right button which pops the crown out. Then turn the crown until you reached your desired alarm time. Push the crown back in and it’s set. To set the time pull the crown out all the way and adjust accordingly, to set the date, use the quick set pusher on the left side of the case. Once the alarm goes off you can push the top right button to stop the alarm. The alarm is loudest on closed case backs, but even the exhibition back on the 50’s Presidents is enough to easily wake you. Please check out the video below to see how it performs.
Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed. As always, please let me know if I can be any help. Please check out below to see the full collection of pictures.
Joe @ AZFT