1947 Vulcain Cricket
The Vulcain Cricket is widely recognized as the timepiece that put alarm wristwatches on the map. Although Eterna made noise with the first alarm wristwatch in 1914, the Vulcain Cricket's voice was heard loud and clear with its superior volume, reliability and accuracy. The Cricket's story began in 1947 when watchmaker Robert Ditisheim introduced the timepiece. Ditisheim's observations of nature played a vital role in the development, however he also incorporated his education in engineering. Ditisheim's colleagues at Zurich ETH were in fact specialists in acoustics and metal alloys who would help him develop the ideal sound. The present example is amongst the earliest designs from the La Chaux de Fonds manufacturer, seen within prominent advertisements of the late 1940s through 50s.
The bold "Vulcain" typeface is amongst the most distinctive of dial brandings for the era. It is surrounded by radium filled hour markers within a tonal sector dial designed to give off a dynamic appearance at different angles. Naturally, the original radium filled hands are still intact. The outer blue decimal track allows for the wearer to accurately set the alarm hand for pressing matters throughout the day. In addition to being one of the iconic dial configurations, it is also the same model that was worn on the wrist by President Lyndon B. Johnson. The watch is powered by the venerable calibre 120 and produces a high pitched chirp when activated. At 34mm, it wears surprisingly large due to the thick lugs. With several marketing taglines and a rich history, the Cricket is much more than simply "The Watch of Presidents". It is perhaps one of the best values found within the iconic watches of the 20th Century. Serial 410140 President Truman was the first of three US Presidents that actively wore their Cricket (this serial number is 410821), the others being President Dwight D. Eisenhower and President Lyndon B. Johnson. Johnson was even such a fan of the Cricket that during his presidency he gave about 200 Cricket's away as presents. Vulcain itself kept up a tradition to present US Presidents with a Cricket, even going up until President Obama received one after his inauguration. The condition of the watch is superb throughout. The case is unpolished and remains very strong with light wear and scratches, as one would expect from a watch that is now seventy years old. The dial is also in excellent original condition with all original radium lume material present in the Arabic numerals and hands. The movement is timing accurately and the alarm function works with pleasing effect. (Copy written in collaboration with research from C. Dunne)
Case measurement: 34 mm
This item is final sale.