Whilst many manufacturers have desperately striven to be associated with fame and power few have such a natural link as Vulcain. Most brands become known due to clever marketing, celebrity endorsement or happenstance whereas Vulcain is a bit different. A company that used its technological advancement to get themselves on the wrists of the 20th centuries most influential leaders. Arguably the Vulcain Cricket is the true watch of presidents.
Vulcain was founded in La Chauz-de-Fonds in 1858 and quickly made a name for itself as a producer of grand complications. From 1889 they were already winning awards at the World Fair, winning in Paris, Chicago and Barcelona. This is due to their commitment to innovation as they pioneered new technologies constantly. Whilst Vulcain created many unique mechanisms none are as associated with the brand as much as the alarm complication.
The alarm complication not only went on to be used in many iconic watches such as the JLC Memovox but more importantly was seen as very useful by many, including the traveling businessman. This saw Vulcain sales soar as it was expected of those in sales to travel further and further and spend more nights in hotels. Up until the release of the Vulcain Cricket in 1947, travelling sales people would take two time pieces, a wrist watch and a travel clock. With the Vulcain Cricket you could condense your travel clock and wrist watch into one and save on bulk.
Another group, admittedly a smaller and more exclusive group, that took a shine to the Cricket was US presidents. Starting with Harry S Truman who assumed the office following FDRs death in April of 1945 and continuing right to the modern age the presidents have been linked to the Cricket. Perhaps the alarm function helped them to organise their day, maybe it is purely a coincide that a couple of them liked the watch and then a tradition was made. It is difficult to say for certain but the link is undeniable.
Truman received his Cricket in 1953 from the White House News Photographers Association on his last day before leaving the oval office. The phrase, “One More Please” on the case back, a phrase often used during presidential photoshoots. Trumans successor, Eisenhower, was known for wearing multiple watches, including a Rolex Datejust but before taking office he was frequently seen in a Cricket. LBJ was a keen fan of the Cricket giving away over two hundred during his time in office and his own Cricket was specially made with his signature on the dial.
Whilst the affection for the Cricket dimmed in the 70s during the quartz crisis it never truly went away. Reagan was gifted a Cricket during a trip to Finland before meeting with his Soviet counterparts. Even modern presidents have been gifted the Cricket, both Obama and Trump have been presented with the watch and with Biden being such an avid watch collector he will surely get one before his time in the oval office comes to an end.
At time of writing Vulcain doesn’t produce any Crickets although they have announced a smaller 36mm version is somewhere on the horizon. You can still buy Crickets on the second hand market and their price is very variable. Still very attainable and considerably less than other grail watches such as the Submariner, Royal Oak or Patek Phillipe.
We currently have a Vulcain Cricket available for sale from our shop. It is a full set solid rose gold example from 2016, measuring 42mm across and with a see-through case back to appreciate the impressive movement. For more information just click the picture below.