Vulcain Watches

Founded in 1858 by the Ditisheim brothers, Vulcain watches were one of the most innovative brands of its time and of the 20th century. It won awards at the world’s fairs and is credited with inventing the first-ever mechanical alarm movement. Called the Cricket, the alarm watch has made history books as the “President’s watch” since so many American presidents owned and wore one, including Dwight D. Eisenhower, Harry Trumann, Richard Nixon, and Lyndon Johnson. Today, the Vulcain collections include the 50S alarm watches, the Prestige collection, the First Lady line for women, and more, but it is always the alarm function that captures the hearts of collectors.

History of Vulcain

Vulcain is a Swiss watch manufacturer with a rich history dating back to 1858. The company was founded in La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland, by the Ditisheim family, initially specializing in pocket watches before venturing into wristwatches. One of its most significant innovations was the invention of the alarm complication for wristwatches, which made Vulcain watches popular with American presidents, earning the brand its reputation as “The Watch for Presidents.”

The Cricket Nautical, a diver’s watch, and the 50’s President collection are among the notable timepieces produced by Vulcain. In 1988, the company came under new ownership, ensuring its legacy and innovative watchmaking continued. Vulcain’s commitment to historical heritage and unique know-how has allowed it to maintain a prominent role within the international watchmaking landscape. Despite its historical significance and high-quality manufacture movements, Vulcain watches are priced relatively attractively.

The Origin of the Name Vulcain

The name “Vulcain” derives from the Latin “Vulcānus,” which is of Etruscan origin. In ancient Roman mythology, Vulcan (Vulcānus) was the god of fire, including the fire of volcanoes, metalworking, and the forge. The name is associated with strength, leadership, and a pioneering spirit. 

The Vulcain Cricket Watch

The Vulcain Cricket watch, introduced in 1947, is renowned for being the world’s first alarm wristwatch. Its distinctive feature is the mechanical alarm system, which produces a loud and clear sound resembling the chirping of a cricket. This unique timepiece gained prominence due to its association with the White House, earning the reputation as “The Watch of Presidents.” President Harry S. Truman was presented with a 14k gold version of the Vulcain Cricket, initiating its historical connection with the U.S. presidency. Subsequently, the Cricket was worn by several other U.S. presidents, including Lyndon B. Johnson, Dwight D. Eisenhower, and Richard Nixon, further solidifying its status as a timepiece of choice for world leaders. The Cricket’s historical significance and its association with prominent political figures have contributed to its iconic status in the world of horology.

Who Owns Vulcain?

Vulcain, the Swiss watch brand, was acquired by Luxembourg-based investment group Promobe Sa in 2017. The new ownership has brought a revival of the brand, particularly with the reintroduction of the Cricket line of watches, which has historical significance as “The Watch of Presidents.” The company’s commitment to its historical heritage and unique know-how has been continued under this new ownership, ensuring the preservation of its prominent role within the international watchmaking landscape.

Fun Fact

Guillaume Laidet, a young French entrepreneur, played a significant role in the revival of the historical watch brand Vulcain. Laidet, known for his expertise in resurrecting forgotten watches and brands, was instrumental in bringing Vulcain back to the forefront of the watch industry. His efforts in reawakening sleeping giants in the watch world, including Vulcain, have contributed to the brand’s resurgence. Laidet’s passion for horology and his entrepreneurial spirit have been pivotal in reintroducing iconic timepieces and heritage brands to a new generation of watch enthusiasts, adding a modern touch to the rich legacy of these revered names in the industry.