Vulcain Cricket: A Review of the Iconic President’s Watch
The term “President’s Watch” is one that carries a lot of weight and meaning. It has been debated for ages, with watch fans disagreeing on what qualifies as a President’s watch, whether there is a true President’s watch, and if so, which timepiece has the honour of being named as such. Some have argued that the gold Rolex Day-Date should be considered the President’s watch, as it was famously associated with former U.S. President Lyndon Johnson.
Many, however, disagree with this view. To them, the iconic Vulcain Cricket is far more deserving of the nickname “President’s Watch” than the all-gold Rolex piece. This is because the Vulcain Cricket has graced the wrists of numerous U.S. Heads of State, ever since former President Harry Truman was spotted wearing this alarm wristwatch during his term in office. It is a stunning piece that has been given to many US Presidents as a special post-Presidency gift for their inaugurations.
If your curiosity is piqued, read on to find out more about the Vulcain Cricket, its history, specifications, and everything it has to offer.
Brief History of Vulcain Cricket
In 1947, Vulcain officially launched the Cricket watch, which is known as one of the first alarm wristwatches of its kind. While it was not the first alarm watch available in the market, the Vulcain Cricket was notable for being the loudest amongst its competitors.
Vulcain’s Research and Development team spent five years before they finally released this practical, highly functional alarm watch. It was designed with a separate caseback, which enabled the watch to deliver a loud, clear ringing sound for its alarm function, much like the chirp of a cricket. Since it was first released, the Vulcain Cricket has been the brand’s major flagship watch.
As we mentioned, the Vulcain Cricket is also famous for being the “President’s Watch”. A Vulcain Cricket has been gifted to many Presidents of the United States, starting with Harry Truman back in 1953, all the way up to Barack Obama and Donald Trump. The White House News Photographers Association was the body that gave the 14K yellow-gold Vulcain Cricket watch to Harry Truman the night before he left his office.
At present, there are several modern iterations of the well-received Cricket watch. While the older variants are equipped with an original hand-winding movement, the newer models are fully furnished with handy automatic calibres. Vintage pieces also came in smaller, slender 34mm case sizes, whereas the modern Vulcain Cricket watches have been updated to a case diameter of 42mm.
Up Close with the Vulcain Cricket
Over the years, there have been a number of different Vulcain Cricket models released by the company. Each timepiece shows off different specifications, but each one delivers the same functions, with a rather unified design. Today, we will be taking a look at the outstanding features of the Vulcain Cricket Ref. 160151.326L, a striking blue-dial dress watch.
Case, Bezel, and Caseback
The Vulcain Cricket Ref. 160151.326L boasts a very elegant, quintessential style with lasting appeal. It comes in a 42mm stainless steel case mantled with a fixed stainless steel bezel, which protects the watch face from impacts and scratches. Also attached to the case are bevelled, straight lugs that add to the watch’s sleek, traditional appearance. The case, lugs, and bezel are all brightly polished, giving the Vulcain Cricket a clean, lustrous look that simply shines under the light.
On the right side of the case, you can find an unguarded, stout crown. This crown comes with grooved edges, which provide the wearer with a better grip, so they can grasp and turn the crown more easily. The top of the crown is embellished with a simple, waffle-like cross-hatch design, bolstering the Vulcain Cricket’s sophisticated look. Positioned above the crown, at 2 o’clock, is a single pusher. Shaped like a capstan, this pusher shows off the same smooth, polished finish as the rest of the case.
Flipping the Vulcain Cricket over, you can find an exhibition-style sapphire caseback. It gives you a clear and unhindered view of the watch’s inner mechanisms, allowing you to admire the beauty of the movement inside. A stainless steel bar is affixed across the top of the caseback, shaped like a stylised “V” to represent the brand’s name. Aside from that, the rim of the caseback is also engraved with information on the Vulcain Cricket, including the watch’s model number, its depth rating, and the fact that it is manufactured in Switzerland.
Both the Vulcain Cricket’s caseback and crown are firmly screwed down, which keeps the watch’s insides safe from any external damage like dust or moisture. This guarantees the Vulcain Cricket a water resistance capacity of 50 metres, which is fairly standard for a dress watch like this. It enables the Vulcain Cricket to survive any splashes or showers without any problem at all.
One highly underrated feature of the Vulcain Cricket Ref. 160151.326L is its dial. This Vulcain Cricket is easily one of the most exquisite blue-dial watches in the market, with its dial bearing a gorgeous, shimmering sunray finish. A luxurious, scratch-resistant sapphire crystal is used to protect this dial from any damage while also giving wearers a legible view of the watch face.
As a dress watch, the Vulcain Cricket also follows a rather simple layout. It comprises bevelled dauphine hands in a clean silver tone, slim applique stick indices, and a subtle minute track on the rim of the dial. At 3, 9, and 12 o’clock, you can also find Arabic numeral hour markers in shining silver. A rectangular date window is located at 6 o’clock, with black text and white background, allowing it to stand out more clearly against the darker dial.
This timepiece is equipped with a sweeping central seconds hand. This seconds hand comes with a fletching-style counterweight, adding to the watch’s refined look. In addition, the Vulcain Cricket also has an extra handset with a triangular tip, which functions as the alarm time. We will discuss how this alarm time hand operates in greater detail in the following section.
Aside from being a lovely dress watch, the Vulcain Cricket is also known for being one of the loudest, most effective alarm wristwatches in the industry. The Vulcain Cricket Ref. 160151.326L, of course, has inherited this feature.
This Vulcain Cricket model comes with two barrels. The first barrel provides power to the watch’s escapement, driving the movement of the watch’s calibre and enabling it to tick. The second barrel, on the other hand, delivers energy for the watch’s alarm function. In order to power these two barrels, you have to rotate the crown clockwise for one barrel and counter-clockwise for the other barrel while in position 0.
When it comes to actually setting the alarm, you have to first activate the pusher at 2 o’clock, which allows you to pull the crown out to intermediate position 1. You have to be careful with this next part because winding the crown clockwise and anti-clockwise has different effects. Winding the crown in a clockwise direction winds the watch itself while turning it in an anti-clockwise direction allows you to adjust the hour and minute hands and set the alarm.
Once you have wound the hands to the desired alarm time, simply push the crown back into position 0, and the alarm is armed. If you want to stop the alarm from ringing, simply press the pusher at 2 o’clock just once. This causes the crown to move back to position 1, enabling you to quickly reset the alarm.
One testament to Vulcain’s superb watchmaking expertise is the fact that it crafts and manufactures each Vulcain watch entirely on its own. This means that all movements used by Vulcain are developed in-house, and this applies to the calibre powering the Vulcain Cricket Ref. 160151.326L, too.
The Vulcain Cricket Ref. 160151.326L, specifically, is driven by a first-class Vulcain Calibre V-11. This mechanical hand-wound movement beats at 18,000 vibrations per hour (2.5Hz). Held together by 30 jewels, it delivers a solid power reserve of 42 hours.
Vulcain offers the Vulcain Cricket Ref. 160151.326L with a supple alligator leather strap in black, which completes the timepiece’s quintessential dress watch look. This handsome watch strap is made out of premium leather with a grain texture and delivers a luxurious tactile feel against your wrist. Attached to it is a steel pin buckle, which ensures that the strap stays securely fastened to your wrist.
The Vulcain Cricket Ref. 160151.326L is undeniably a top-tier dress watch, which manages to offer practical features and a long heritage to boot. Whether you are looking for an everyday timekeeper that can wake you up in time for work or something that would make for a great conversation starter at your next dinner party, the Vulcain Cricket Ref. 160151.326L offers you everything you need.
Given this, it is not a surprise that this lavish President’s watch retails at a fairly exorbitant price of $5,480 USD.
The Vulcain Cricket is a high-calibre timepiece, fitted with an incredibly useful alarm that is perfect for everyday use. Having graced the wrists of numerous U.S. Presidents, it is no surprise that this alarm wristwatch is easily on par with some of the most popular names in horology, particularly the gold Rolex Day-Date watch. With such a rich legacy, handy practical functions, and an absolutely exquisite dress watch design, you can bet that the Vulcain Cricket is worth every dollar you spend on it.
Images are credited to TheWatchCompany.com unless otherwise stated.
Featured image courtesy of Wayt2J on Forum.chronomag.cz.
Searching for another classic watch to add to your growing collection? Spare some time to read our article about the classy Timex Waterbury.