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Vulcain: History-150 years of Watchmaking Passion

by Timepiece Atelier on July 7th, 2021

Millions of timepieces have been created by mankind and they all tell a story. The standard conspiracies in these timepieces feature the marvelous narratives of trials and triumphs that accompany its wearer through millstones. Over the years, Vulcain’s reputation was grounded in mechanical alarm watches as well as the President's watch that have become a representation for their brand.

Founded in 1858 by Maurice Ditisheim, the “Comptoir des montres Vulcain” developed rapidly to become an international reference, while remaining an essentially family business.

A talented watchmaker, Maurice Ditisheim distinguished himself in crafting complicated watches such as “La Vallee de l'Arve '', a pocket-watch produced in the 1980s for the Chinese market. The latter featured minute repeater functions, grand and small strike and perpetual calendar, clothed in a “grand feu” enameled gold case set with pearls.

Horological masterpieces by Vulcain were honored by numerous awards at international exhibitions in La Chaux-de-Fonds (1881), Paris (1890), Chicago (1893), Geneva (1896) and Barcelona (1929).

The year 1947 will remain a significant milestone in watchmaking history. That was the year the first truly functional mechanical alarm wristwatch was presented by Vulcain. It was equipped with what was to become the legendary Cricket Calibre, known to make sounds similar that mimic a cricket. For the first time, watchmakers and scientists had succeeded in creating a mechanical alarm wristwatch powerful enough to actually wake up its owner. The revolutionary watch was an immediate success. The cricket appealed to the public as well as to statesmen including Harry Truman, Dwight Eisenhower, Richard Nixon and Lyndon Johnson, earning it a nickname that has survived to this day: “The President Watch”. It also accompanied the greatest mountaineering and-oceanic expeditions of this era.

The manufacturer Vulcain was reborn in Le Locle, Switzerland, in 2002, fired by the noble ambition of revising and opening up whole new vistas for the legendary Cricket Calibre.

In 2005, Vulcain set the crowning touch to its quest for excellence by presenting a world premiere in the world of Haute Horlogerie. The imperial gong model is the first ever tourbillon alarm wristwatch, fitted with Vulcain Calibre V-30. Vulcain thus chose to incorporate an alarm calibre, featuring distinctive technical characteristics inspired by the Cricket Calibre, with the most prestigious of complications, the tourbillon regulator, as well as a double barrel and 130-power reserve. An impressive feat of miniaturization. Crafted in the true spirit of Haute Horlogerie and equipped with cathedral chime worthy of the finest minute repeater mechanisms, the imperial gong model asserts itself as the noblest of alarm watches.

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