Vulcain Cricket
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Vulcain Cricket

Vulcain manages to fly mostly under than radar in the U.S., yet watches from the Swiss brand have been worn by everyone from American Presidents to Italian Alpinists. If you’ve never heard of the Cricket, class is now in session.

The first thing you need to know is that the Cricket was the world’s first wristwatch with a mechanical alarm. Vulcain introduced the Cricket to the world in 1947 at the famous Waldorf Astoria hotel in New York City, and it was a media sensation (in so much as much as any wristwatch can be).

The second thing that you need to know is that the Cricket is the watch with the strongest ties to the White House. It was photographed on the wrists of Truman, Eisenhower, Johnson and Nixon, and every president since then (with the exception of Bush “43”) has been gifted a Cricket. That’s a pretty cool history for a watch.

We're big fans of alarm watches, especially the Jaegar LeCoultre Memovox, but the Cricket was the first to make a working model, and as we all know vintage collectors love to own the first of anything. It also happens that when Vulcain designed this innovative watch, they nailed it on the first go-around. The Cricket wasn’t some delicate novelty; in fact, the watch accompanied the first expedition to reach the peak of K2, 28,250ft up in the Himalayas. Future advertisements would read “The teams of all these expeditions have expressed their satisfaction and admiration of the record performance of their Vulcain Cricket, testifying that their running was as faultless and the ringing of the alarm as distinct on the summit of K2 as in the damp jungle of Equatorial Africa.”

Pretty damned cool if you ask us.

While most Crickets were found in budget chrome or gold plated cases, this particular example comes in a full stainless steel case and features a beautiful patina across the dial and handset. If you're looking to add a a fun (and let's face it- practical) complication to your collection, the Vulcain Cricket is hard to beat.

Given the relatively complicated (pun intended) nature of this piece, a short primer on function is in order!

Winding: The Cricket movement has two independent barrels for the watch and alarm, which must be wound separately. First, ensure the crown is pushed all the way in. To wind the alarm, wind the crown upwards, towards 12:00 (as you would any manual wind piece). To wind the watch, wind the crown downwards, towards 6:00.

Set the time: To set the time, pull the crown out completely and rotate it downwards, towards 6:00. Note the time only sets going forward.

Setting the alarm: Depress the pusher at 2:00 completely. This will cause the crown to pop out- turn the crown upwards, towards 12:00 to move the alarm hand. Note that the time only sets going backward. Push the crown back down when finished. The alarm will now sound when the hour hand hits the alarm hand.

Disabling the alarm: press the pusher at 2:00 halfway down. The crown is now free to move in any direction and the alarm is disabled.

Details

Stainless steel case is approximately 34mm (excluding crowns). Manually-wound Vulcain 120 alarm movement. Circa 1960s.

Overall Condition: Stainless steel case is in good condition, with sharp bevels on the lugs and no signs of over-polishing. Case does have some signs of use and wear, including some corrosion on the case back. Dial is in excellent condition with a fine even patina throughout. Hands do have some signs of corrosion but are in otherwise good condition. Unsigned crown; unsigned case back.

Includes one 18mm Italian leather strap.

SKU: TT01041.

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