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daff62
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The Vulcain Cricket

on Sat Mar 04 2017, 00:10
I thought I would try and do a bit of a write up on the Vulcain Cricket alarm wrist watch.

While alarms had been incorporated into pocket watches this was the first operational alarm in a wrist watch.

Robert Ditisheim of Vulcain had been working on a number of prototypes in the early 1940s but the recurring problem was the sound volume which was far too low. The French scientist Paul Langevin visited his workshops and advised him to be inspired by nature giving the example of the cricket which is small but can easily be heard.

Working on that principle the calibre 120 movement was developed and finally introduced in 1947 with the watch being called the Vulcain Cricket.

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The difficulty of sound volume had been resolved by the hammer in the movement striking against a peg which was attached to the inner case back.

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The case itself is double bottomed to enhance the resonance of the strike and also shows the various patents on the case back..

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It proved very successful and was worn by Presidents Truman, Eisenhower, Nixon and Johnson which earned it the nickname of "The Presidents Watch". Subsequent Presidents have been given the watch right up to President Obama.

The watch is equipped with two barrels, one for the alarm and the other for the time. Here is a picture of the movement. The striking hammer can be seen at around the 8 o'clock position.

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It has a rather complicated, well to me that is, way of working which I invariably forget.  Rolling Eyes

With the crown fully in winding clockwise winds the time and anti clockwise the alarm. To set the time the crown has to be fully out and turned clockwise only.

To set the alarm the pusher at 2 o'clock has to be fully pushed in which triggers the crown coming out to the first position. Turning the crown anti clockwise only, allows the alarm hand to be moved to the desired time.

Once this is done & to activate the alarm the crown has to be fully pushed in. When the alarm starts to strike it can be stopped by pushing in the pusher.

Over the years I have compared the alarm on the Vulcain Cricket to other alarm watches and it is definitely the loudest. affraid

If anyone else has any watches with alarms whether mechanical or Quartz it would be interesting to see some pictures and your feelings about the volume and effectiveness of the alarm.  Very Happy
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SeikoJohn
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Re: The Vulcain Cricket

on Sat Mar 04 2017, 16:06
What a cracking write up thank you for sharing it . I will say that is a smart looking watch and the movement looks to be in immaculate condition .

When does your presidency start then ? you own the watch so that must qualify you for the job

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“A man with one watch knows what time it is; a man with two watches is never quite sure.” - Lee Segall
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daff62
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Re: The Vulcain Cricket

on Sat Mar 04 2017, 17:28
Thanks John.

I'm not really presidential material but will still keep wearing the watch. lol!
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Elwood
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Re: The Vulcain Cricket

on Sun Mar 05 2017, 02:21
Great topic to chose and well written too.
I've got a couple of alarm watch watches and have always had a bit of a thing for them.

When I was a teenager I was given a relatives old Seiko Bellmatic. It's had some hard knocks over the years and other than two services it had little go wrong with it. A great piece of engineering in my opinions and a really sturdy, durable, accurate watch. I love the coffin link bracelet too. The alarm itself is ok, though nothing more, unlikely to wake you.
 

I also have this gem - a Hallmark Alarm watch which is basically the same as a Vulcain Cricket watch with a different branding. It is a real classic, and considering its age, it is just about big enough to wear without looking on the small side. I have sometimes set off the alarm by accident, which to me is it's only major downside.  Especially because its major plus point as an alarm is how loud it is. Unless you have heard the thing you really have no idea of the volume this watch gives off. I set it off at work once and I had colleagues on the other side of the office wonder what on earth was going on! They are both fantastic watches though.
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daff62
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Re: The Vulcain Cricket

on Sun Mar 05 2017, 12:06
@Elwood wrote:Great topic to chose and well written too.
I've got a couple of alarm watch watches and have always had a bit of a thing for them.

When I was a teenager I was given a relatives old Seiko Bellmatic. It's had some hard knocks over the years and other than two services it had little go wrong with it. A great piece of engineering in my opinions and a really sturdy, durable, accurate watch. I love the coffin link bracelet too. The alarm itself is ok, though nothing more, unlikely to wake you.
 

I also have this gem - a Hallmark Alarm watch which is basically the same as a Vulcain Cricket watch with a different branding. It is a real classic, and considering its age, it is just about big enough to wear without looking on the small side. I have sometimes set off the alarm by accident, which to me is it's only major downside.  Especially because its major plus point as an alarm is how loud it is. Unless you have heard the thing you really have no idea of the volume this watch gives off. I set it off at work once and I had colleagues on the other side of the office wonder what on earth was going on! They are both fantastic watches though.

Thank you.

I do like Seiko Bellmatics and your looks very smart. It's also nice that it belonged to someone in your family. The Hallmark is stunning , I saw this image online from the 1950s for Hallmark watches.

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The alarm is startling to put it mildly. I was standing in a packed bus once, heavy coat & gloves, bags of messages etc and the alarm went off. Took what seemed to be an age to switch it off. Embarassed
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