Swiss luxury watch brand Vulcain revives the dynamic 1950s with the launch of the 50s Presidents’ Watch – a classic model echoing both the legend of the Cricket alarm movement and the mark it made on history by propelling Vulcain Cricket watches to the rank of “The Presidents’ Watch”. Inspired by a 1950s Vulcain model, the 50s Presidents’ Watch houses the new Vulcain self-winding movement, Calibre V-21.
It was in 1947 that American president Harry Truman presented before Congress his “doctrine” intended to “protect free peoples from the advance of communism”. On June 5th of that year, he outlined the “European Recovery Program”, generally known as the Marshall Plan, which devoted over 13 billion dollars to the reconstruction of 16 European countries. That same year in the United States, albeit in a completely different register, Charlie Parker headed a quintet composed of Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillepsie, Curly Russer and Max Roach.
And meanwhile, across the Atlantic in Switzerland’s Neuchâtel Jura region, Vulcain’s engineers and master-watchmakers were busy attempting to resolve an equation comprising a number of hitherto unknown factors: how could one miniaturise a striking mechanism enough to house it within a wristwatch while ensuring it emits a noise loud enough to be genuinely functional? None had succeeded in doing so until Vulcain presented the Cricket alarm calibre in 1947.
Vulcain’s Cricket alarm calibre gained a worldwide reputation thanks to the huge breakthrough it represented. The movement was sufficiently innovative to equip a number of Vulcain wristwatches that were found on the wrists of some of the world’s most powerful men. Successive American presidents succumbed in turn to its charms, to the extent that the Vulcain alarm watch simply became known as “The Presidents’ Watch”.
A Fifties spirit expressed through a contemporary model: such was the intention behind the creation of the new 50s Presidents’ Watch collection by Vulcain – an alarm watch inspired by a model from the Fifties, while meeting the highest modern standards. Elegant, understated and imbued with a classicism that betrays its origins, the 42 mm-diameter case available in 18K rose gold and steel versions is water-resistant to 50 metres. With its slender case middle, its alternating polished and satin-brushed surfaces and its subtly designed lugs, the 50s Presidents’ Watch makes a perfect fit on every wrist. In a manner characteristic of the timepieces of the era, the dial with its slightly cambered circumference features applied hour-markers and Arabic numerals, as well as Dauphine hands with a decidedly Fifties look.
The 50s Presidents’ Watch is also fitted with a cambered sapphire crystal and a sapphire crystal caseback adorned with the stylised “V” for Vulcain. The dial comes in a choice of anthracite or silvered colours for the rose gold model, and in silvered, anthracite or smoky grey for the steel version. The Louisiana alligator leather strap is fitted with a rose gold buckle on the 18K rose gold version or a folding clasp with safety pushpiece for the steel version.
At the heart of this new model that so powerfully revives the legend beats the new self-winding Cricket V-21 alarm movement. Developed on the basis of the legendary Cricket Calibre V-10, stemming from over 60 years of evolution and fine-tuning, the self-winding Calibre V-21 is a 12-lignes (12’’’) movement fitted with two barrels – one to deliver the energy required for the hours, minutes and seconds functions, and the other to power the alarm function which sounds for a full 20 seconds. It has a balance oscillating at 18,000 vibrations per hour and a 42-hour power reserve.
Comprising a total of 257 parts, it features unidirectional winding by means of an oscillating weight fitted with a ceramic ball-bearing mechanism. A worthy heir to the famous Cricket alarm calibre that has been shaping the Vulcain legend since 1947, the Cricket V-21 movement drives displays of the hours, minutes, central seconds and date – and of course the alarm function on which the reputation of Vulcain watches has been built for over 60 years and which made a significant contribution to making them “The Presidents’ Watch.”