The Vulcain Aviator Cricket alarm watch is a variant of last year’s Vulcain Aviator Instrument that boasted a chronograph but lacked the alarm function. It’s a pretty significant feature for most watches, but for Vulcain, the alarm complication is more than just an additional function: it is the foundation of the brand’s longevity.
Vulcain was founded way back in 1858 and has been in continuous production ever since. The brand is recognized for having created the alarm function for wristwatches, which earned them favor with former United States president Harry S. Truman, who wore one of their watches and helped inspire the brand’s reputation as “the watch for presidents” – one of the few other brands who pursue that reputation is none other than Rolex.
The Vulcain Aviator Cricket case, which measures 42mm across and 14mm tall, is crafted from polished 316L Stainless Steel. It is a very manageable size for an aviation watch, a feat most likely achieved by the omission of a self-winding mechanism. Although Vulcain have exercised restraint with the case dimensions, they have not skimped on functionality. A 24hr world timer ring is operated by a screw-down crown at 4 o’clock. The Calibre Vulcain Cricket manufacture V-11 movement has a power reserve of 42 hours, date indicator (visible through a three-day window at 6 o’clock), and the famous alarm function, equipped with the ‘Exactomatic’ system that sounds for 20 seconds when actuated.
Interestingly, the Vulcain Aviator Cricket movement operates at 18,000vph, which is quite slow these days. Practically, this means the watch may take a little longer to recover from shocks and return the balance wheel to its optimum amplitude, resulting in slight timing error. That said, I have always thought a slow-swinging balance wheel is more attractive to look at. The Vulcain Aviator Cricket alarm watch allows you to do just that, thanks to a sapphire case back that reveals the movement and the stylized ‘V’ for Vulcain logo.
Additionally, a low train count could have been selected to conserve power, as higher operating frequencies drain a watch’s power reserve. The V-11 already features 2 barrels out of necessity – the alarm needs its own power source – and the movement designers might have dropped the vph in an attempt to reduce the strain on the mainsprings. That’s a decision I can’t really fault, given this watch’s primary complication is the alarm.
There are some nice touches with the decoration of this movement. The ratchet wheel is skeletonized and, to add a flash of color, the screws have been blued. The watch itself is available in two colorways: you can either have a black dial on a black leather strap that narrows from 22mm between the lugs to a comfortable 18mm at the S/S pin buckle, or a white dial with blue highlights on a tan strap.
Overall, this Vulcain Aviator Cricket is a smart aviation watch. Initially, I was not so taken by the amount of font sizes on the dial (the place names, 24hr markers, 12, 3, 9, and 6 versus the rest of the hour markers, the date numbers, and the branding), but after a while I warmed to it. The dial is, despite its myriad markings, quite legible and displayed behind a domed sapphire crystal. The crown is sympathetically styled so as to be more comfortable than the traditional onion crowns featured on old-fashioned pilot watches (apparently designed so pilots could grip the crown while wearing chunky gloves).
This continues a trend seen in their aviator chronograph released last year, and instantly gives the case a more modern silhouette. So, too, does the color-coded pusher at 2 o’clock, which is used to operate the alarm function. I really appreciate this asymmetric styling in the Vulcain Aviator Cricket, and like the way it is working its way into more of their flight-themed models.
The price for this Vulcain Aviator Cricket alarm watch will be $5,700. Both models are priced the same and the are available now. Although the model will not be limited, bear in mind that Vulcain do not produce crazy amounts of watches every year, so these may become quite sought after if this generation of the Cricket proves as popular as its ancestors have done. vulcain-watches.ch