Slideshow= 15 photos to see that watch from every angle
The alarm of the Vulcain Cricket, with its Fifties-inspired look – 'The Watch For Presidents', takes us back to a time now gone, a time when electronic beeps were uncommon.
An era during which everything started going faster and faster, and every single moment counted...
The sound of the Vulcain Cricket was its pounding heart.
But is it still able to wake us up these days?
There's no doubt about that from a technical point of view!
Half a century hasn't done any harm to its presence, and it sure knows how to catch your ear, even with a noisy background, as it harmoniously unites sound to wrist vibration – even the folding clasp gets to vibrate every now and then!
Aesthetically speaking, although the current edition answers today's demand of a nice and big 42-mm diameter, the cambered sapphire crystal shall thrill every nostalgic watch-lover.
It sometimes distorts what you see, depending on your viewing angle, just like with the old days' Plexiglas.
Truly delightful for any vintage enthusiast!
Time-honored manufacturing for the three parts of the case (back, case middle and bezel), alternating brushed finishing on the sides with polished finishing on the bezel and back.
They thus contribute to this elegant, stylish line – just as much as the beveled lugs do.
The overall thickness though is a little over-present, as it reminds you of the watch being on the wrist when moving your arms.
The thin crown, with its squared cross finishing, as well as the alarm function's push button, manufactured as if it were a chronograph from the days of old, contribute to this nostalgic gimmick feel.
The dial's color, with its sunray surface finishing, stands somewhere between smoky gray (according to Vulcain) and khaki, depending on the surrounding light.
Its applied markers, efficiently sized, along with the flatted Dauphine hands, really help in reading the time easily.
Straightforward alarm mechanism
And when comes the time of waking up, the arrow-shaped hand and the specific white graduation on the dial's rim enable a rather accurate positioning of the alarm's triggering time – an accuracy of more or less two to three minutes, actually!
Setting the alarm is very simple.
- first of all you must rig the second barrel with the crown – 25 rotations will have it ringing for a little over 20 seconds.
- next, you position the alarm hand on the desired trigger time, once again using the crown, released by pushing twice on the push button.
- if the crown is entirely pressed down, then the alarm function is on. Once it is triggered when reaching chosen time, pushing the push-piece will make it stop, bringing the crown back to an intermediate position.
When not using the push button, the crown operates in a traditional way when setting the hour and minutes.
The quick setting of date is done easily, by using a push-piece concealed within the case middle, a little before 10 o'clock (the small tool for doing this is provided with the watch).
Yet it's unfortunate the time change starts around 21:00, and is not instant...
On the movement side
The signature Vulcain Cricket automatic calibre, that can be seen in its V-21 version across a crystal sapphire back, is very decently finished: Côtes de Genève, surface finishing, sunray finishing and blued screws (but unfortunately this doesn't apply to the slit).
Its frequency that beats a cadence of 18,000 vibrations per hour, along with its small diametre, perfectly show its being directly connected with Vulcain's historical, paramount calibre: yet another reason to rejoice.
There's a lot of information available on the rotor, including a reference to the mysterious Exactomatic function.
It turns out to be a unique engineering of the balance's pivot, purposed to equalize vertical angle error: greater accuracy guaranteed!
We still can wonder whether the stylized metal “V” (for Vulcain), which adorns the sapphire crystal caseback looming over it all, hasn't weighted a little too much on the final thickness...
With such ambivalence, fully enjoying the sapphire back seems to be the right thing to do: it enables to identify the mechanism of the alarm function along with its frenzied movements when the alarm rings!
For that matter, it is quite unusual seeing an alarm clock function at work.
Actually, manufacturers mostly use a full back for better sound diffusion.
A truly delightful and very distinct Vulcain characteristic.
A mechanical alarm function, being less precise than any existing electronic alarm, makes absolutely no sense nowadays.
However, with Vulcain enjoying its huge historical legitimacy to take us back to a time when the only actual electronic beeps belonged to Sputnik – and not to John Doe, nor even to the President of the United-States – there's nothing left but genuine enthrallment...
- a useful and entertaining function
- very consistent as a whole, with a true neovintage touch
- the view on the movement, when the alarm function is at work
- the way the date has been dealt with its white background not matching the dial
- the date change that starts as early as 21:00
- case is slightly too thick for a dressy watch of this kind
- journalist's wrist size = 17,5 cm