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Vulcain Company Under New Ownership

Vulcain Company Under New Ownership Watch Industry News

Swiss watch brand Vulcain announced today that they have been acquired by new corporate owners. Little is yet known about the unnamed group except that it is from Luxembourg and already involved in luxury watches. By no means the first time for the brand to change hands since its origin in 1858, the message is that we should expect Vulcain to be reenergized and "reawakened" with new financial support and corporate direction.

Vulcain Company Under New Ownership Watch Industry News

Vulcain continues to make really nice and interesting watches, but they could have arguably done more to grab watch enthusiasts' attention with novel offerings. They are another brand that has become synonymous with a single well-known collection, the Vulcain "Cricket" alarm watch. And, thanks to the brand successfully placing it on the wrists of several US presidents, as many readers surely know, it has become known also as the Presidents' watch (hands-on from 2011 with the Vulcain 50s Presidents' watches here).

Vulcain Company Under New Ownership Watch Industry News

Calibre Vulcain Cricket Manufacture V-10 Movement

The iconic (I feel ok to use that term here) alarm watches are clearly the brand's strength, so we can perhaps expect fresh new takes on the line, along with redoubled marketing efforts. But there is no reason to think that the brand couldn't redefine itself to stand out for more than the Cricket watch, just as Jean-Claude Biver has promised to break Zenith out of its El Primero-centric funk. What exactly that would look like for Vulcain is impossible to guess, but Vulcain makes many of its own movements placed in watches with handsome and distinctive designs. It would not be hard to imagine more modern sport watches with the brand's established DNA, even though they already have those such as in the eye-rollingly named X-Treme collection.

Vulcain Company Under New Ownership Watch Industry News

Vulcain has had its ups and downs and was almost killed by the quartz crisis. For a while, the Vulcain name disappeared from watch dials and its famous alarm movements were found in then sister brand Revue Thommen's watches. But after the bankruptcy of its group, the company was acquired in 2001 and relaunched, moving from La Chaux-de-Fonds to Le Locle, Switzerland. Today, the brand marks another chance at a new beginning and to harness its strengths to stand out in a crowded and competitive industry.

About the Author

Zen Love is a watch enthusiast originally from Philadelphia, PA, USA, but has been living abroad in Asia for many years, and is currently based in Bangkok, Thailand. Zen (yes, it's his real name) enjoys the outdoors, learning languages, and wearing watches of all kinds. He also wears many hats at aBlogtoWatch, including News Editor. Wrist size: 6.5" (17cm).

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  • Mikita

    Luxembourg? CVC Capital Partners, same as Breitling? It’d be amusing if Vulcain appear under same roof with Breitling 🙂 Anyway – good news, finally somebody bought them. I was worried that Vulcain could cease to exist.

    • Sheez Gagoo

      Isn’t CVC British?

    • William & Falcon

      Luxembourg, eh? Could be looking at TAG Vulcain or perhaps Biver Private Holdings.

      • Sheez Gagoo

        It`s “Manufacture Anonymo”.

  • I like Vulcain and would entertain owning a watch from them. What can I say…I like underdogs (or underfalcons as they are all the rage lately).

    • William & Falcon

      Ja, die unterfalken im Zeitgeist!

      • “Zeitgeist” would be a good name for a pet falcon.

        • Kuroji

          No, you have to call it Doctor Falcon.

      • Gokart Mozart

        Personally, as nice as the Falcon is I would rather have the Ferrari 400 convertible he tooled around in when he wasn’t flying or being a pussy cat.

        Best thing about the program and my favourite ferrari, the normal fixed head one that is.

      • Kuroji

        They are all up in your time ghosts.

  • Mikita

    Didn’t know that Revue Thommen are their sister brand. I’ve never ever seen one RT in the wild…

    • IG

      You can’t see them in the wild, they are domesticated.

      • Mikita

        Or endangered..

        • IG

          Or decimated…

    • Sheez Gagoo

      I did! I know some watchmakers from there. There was even some boring broadcast on Swiss TV.

      • Mikita

        I remember I’ve heard of them some 5-6 years ago, but since then they seemed to be sleeping. I checked their catalogue and I think that nothing changed actually.

  • egznyc

    Harry S. Truman was one of those presidents. Though he had some great qualities as a leader and human being, that is not enough of a reason to wear the brand. Yet there is undeniable appeal in those mid-century Cricket alarm dials.

  • SuperStrapper

    Was actually giving hard consideration to a v10 watch less than 2 weeks ago, and I still might buy it.
    Interested to learn more about this.

    • Gokart Mozart

      Bite the bullet, they are great watches. I would love one.

      Alarm is probably my most favourite complication.

      • Sheez Gagoo

        This is my favourite alarm: First, it`s a nice looking UN (not often the case) and second, you can set the alarm to the minute.

        • Gokart Mozart

          I like this too although it is a bit too big for my wrist not to mention pricy for the wallet.

          I do like the Blancpain and Breguet alarms as well, but the first one I would buy is a Vulcain.

          The one on the dive Vulcain is probably the loudest i have heard by a long way compared to the Tudors, JLC Mevovox, Oris and standard Vulcains.

  • IG

    All hail the Luxembourgian saviours of one of the last hand-wound alarm movements!

    • Indeed, but Leo’s a TAG ambassador.

      • Gokart Mozart

        I am available as a Vulcain ambassdor.

        I am willing do single wrist and double wrist a la the late great Hysek Senior.

        • I think I would make a great Bremont ambassador. I drone on endlessly for a living, I can do a fairly passable British accent and I’ve told at least three women in bars that I am a pilot.

          • Mr. Snrub

            You sound overqualified tbh.

          • DanW94

            Any experience crashing a plane into an empty field?

          • My own, or someone else’s? There was that one drunken night with a box of roman candles that got out of control.

          • Mikita

            Holy Brothers may get worried you will take over the brand one day..

  • Gokart Mozart

    Potentially very good news. Hopefully, they don’t start by pushing prices up or cheapening the brand, or pushing it up towards higher end.

    It would help if ABTW, Hodinkee etc, feature these types of smaller struggling, or independent brands rather than splashing acres of virtual print, on things like Apple nike rubber straps, or a change of font on a Rolex date wheel etc.

    ABTW etc should give more time and effort to these types of brands, rather than those that every body and their dog (or falcon) know about, even when they are not into watches.

    I could easily name 20 brands that are not mentioned in this blog except flletingly or in the comments section. Ariel and co probably 50 easy.

    Champion these. There is no point championing watches and rectifying the problems the industry face if all you are going to have are the same old, same old, Tag, Rolex, Rado, Breitling etc or if they have more money, PP, AP JLC etc on everybodys wrist.

    These smaller and less well known brands are where most of the value for money and individuality of watches come from.

    • Marius

      You’re making a very sensible argument. Nevertheless, there are a few practical problems.

      1. I’m not sure if most ABTW writers know about these brands. For instance, yesterday, Ariel Adams was arguing that there aren’t many nice dress watches for under $15,000, when in fact, there is a fairly large number of interesting dress watches in this price range.

      2. Small brands have a small/inexistent marketing budget. This means that they can`t afford to invite watch bloggers at various events, and on various trips/factory visits/product launches. For instance, why do you think that brands such as Bremont, Tag Heuer, or Hublot get such a positive coverage? Also, why do you think that watch blogs never explain who paid for the travelling expenses & accommodation.

      3. Famous & well-known brands attract a large number of readers, and are very easy for the watch bloggers to cover. It’s much easier to take the easy way and write about the “latest” Rolex, Tag, Apple, or Bremont, than put in some effort and cover a small & unknown quality brand.

      4. Important brands such as Tudor, Rolex, or Tag advertise heavily on watch blogs. As a result, bloggers have the incentive to cover these brands even more, so as to increase their ads revenue.

      • Gokart Mozart

        I know, I thought about a few of those things, but my main point is the principle. My issue is based on most of these blogs, Moncochrome, World tempus, Hodinkee etc not just ABTW and do not want to single them out it is just that ABTW has the best comments section by a long way.

        If the these Watch blogs do not make an effort then they should stop complaining so much about the issues, and the same old same old watches the companies bring out all the time. The last few basel and richemeont shows these websites complain generally about the quality of the new products coming out is quite poor. But all we ever see are the same brands.

        What about the several hundred brands we don’t really hear about from basel. OK the bloggers they may not get commission or the paid trips to switzerland or little islands or whatever but if they are there why not tell us about these brands. Take an extra person or 2 with you to look at these brands if you don’t have the time

        Hell, subsidise me by paying the show tickets and lending me a camera and I will pay for flights and arrange my own accommodation and take a week off work and if you want to give me one of those nice Eterna Kon Tiki’s I will not disrespect you by saying no. Ariel i am serious about that.

        They need to broaden the average persons mind. Even here it is a bit too mainstream at times, only then will you start making a change to the vintage inspired, dive or pilots watch that make up almost every other article.

      • I keep reading your point on how we watch bloggers are ignorant, virtually illiterate dudes that only wag our tails when big watch companies give us their abundant money. It must be because of my brain being such shite that I keep forgetting the name of your blog. That in which you write those excellent articles full of independent opinions and thorough reviews of even the most minute elements of the calibers, as displayed in your World Press Photo Award-Winning photographs. Could you please say it again? I will more than happily subscribe to your newsletter.

        Brands pay for the trips to their factories. Oooooh you knew it, didn’t you. We are soo being bribed! Tell everybody how this should be: WE should ask YOU which companies we should visit. Then WE should pay to visit them so we bring YOU the information YOU deserve and for which YOU have paid… zilch! Right? Like when your company tells you to go visit a client and then write a report and YOU pay for all that, don’t you.

        Richemont covers some of the cost of spending a week in Geneva, Baselworld covers ZERO cost of being in Basel for nine days. And yet everyday you get several articles and a Vlog by James Stacey, free of charge. But yeah, we are so worthless at what we do. We do not fucking deserve you do we. And mind you I am not talking on behalf of ABTW, because it is just the same for me and my own lil shitty watch-blog in Spanish.

        When I go to the brand section of ABTW and look at the amount of companies that have been covered throughout the history of this blog I can’t help but wonder how Ariel found the time to write so much about so many. And yet that is not enough. Famous and well-known brands attract a large number of readers. That’s because a large number of readers actually like those brands. Duh. But they must be ignored because that is so mainstream isn’t it.

        But let’s check the Armand Nicolet post again. When you -once again- said that Ariel has no clue about watches and you mentioned a list of 16 brands… all of them were well known, famous brands! Not one single small brand in the list. Fancy that! Now why would that be Marius? Could it be, perhaps, that you actually read enough about those brands enough to even know their prices?

        Yes, we all write about popular brands because hey, we all like them. But we also write about less popular, zero-advertising-money companies. Personally in my own web I write about brands that, being popular, have no distribution in Spain (Moser would be one, for instance). You think it is because they give me money on the side, or they take me to their factory? Well, no and no. It is only because I like their watches.

        I say no to a number of brands that invite me to events, or that are ready to send me their watches to review. I’m positive that happens with Ariel ten times more than with me. At the same time all of us would love to review more watches from small, independent companies if we got them on our hands to be reviewed (and are interesting enough).

        So please, next time you are going to say something about somebody else please get off your high horse and be a little more respectful. And don’t forget to tell me the name of your blog.

        • Marius

          Your argument omits a few aspects.

          1. You keep arguing that watch blogs bring the information free of charge. Well, who’s stopping you from creating a pay-to-read system? If watch blogs create such great content, then they should charge a fee for that. Why don’t they do it? I’m certainly not the one stopping you.

          2. You make a big deal out of the fact that I don’t have a watch blog. So what? The fact that I don’t have a watch blog doesn’t automatically mean that watch blogs are perfect, and that I don’t have the right to criticize them. Are you a professional watchmaker? If not, then how dare you criticize a watch.

          3. You argue that in the Armand Nicolet article I cited 16 brands, and that all of them are famous. That’s not entirely correct. I cited those brands to show that, unlike Ariel Adams claimed that there are few interesting dress watches for under $15,000, in reality there are quite a few nice watches in that price range. The fact that they are famous or not was not the point. The point was to show that there are many nice dress watches available for under $15,000. And, not all of them are well-known. For instance, I cited Nomos, Glashutte Original, Moser, or Jacquet Droz, which are all relatively small brands.

          4. Watch blogs rarely/if ever specify who covered the travelling expenses & accommodation costs. This is a fact. Please show me a few articles published on important blogs that clearly explain how those expenses were covered.

          5. Most articles found on watch blogs are simply copy/paste of press releases, written in a very positive and upbeat manner. Show me a few critical articles in which watch bloggers express even a mild criticism. Take a look at most articles covering Bremont, Hublot, Tag Heuer, etc.

          • You don’t criticize, you insult.

            Oh so you don’t have a blog?? Dammit, I thought you did! I thought you were that brave guy publicly telling the companies how it is and then coming here to defend the same arguments. Ok so you only show your face here. Well not even that.

            And now those are not well known brands for the watch aficionado. Oook. And please, don’t say you meant “for the public in general” because then almost your whole list would be “not well-known”.

            No blog, even your most sacred ones, ever say who covered the travelling expenses because it is so stupidly obvious nobody considered it necessary. Ok so there are minds like yours that couldn’t figure it out. Well, now you know. So now drop it, it’s old already.

            I’ve read criticism everywhere on this blog (never on the articles written by those you consider the only people that know about watches though). What I’ve never read is an absolute bashing of the watches reviewed, simply because in general terms all of us follow the common rule of “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it”. Yes, you don’t follow it; we know.

            However Ariel has written a lot about what he thinks the industry is not doing well. You think that helps the case of getting lots of advertising money from the watch companies? Actually it does not. Surely he’d be better off not saying a word. But you know what? It doesn’t matter anyway because you in particular do not like that either, and are always ready to call Ariel names when he publishes those articles.

            So yeah, whatever. I’m done.

          • SuperStrapper

            You’re feeding a troll. Nothing but insults but of course he doesn’t have the talent, knowledge, connections or knowhow to actually do anything himself. Let him wallow in his own crapulence, it’s exactly what he wants.

          • True that.

          • Sheez Gagoo

            You take credits from a toad calling others “cocksuckers”, “cuntlips” and many other similar words on this blog. This crappy toadturd is the definition of a troll. Nothing else but scum himself, calling others trolls. A fucking troll coward.

          • Word Merchant

            I’ve lost the thread here. Who are you talking about now? Marius, Santiago or SuperStrapper?

            (Honest question, I am not feeding anyone.)

          • Sheez Gagoo


          • Simonh

            Well done, I totally agree.

          • Mikita

            I think you take it very personal, being a watch blogger yourself. I can understand that. However, this is Internet, and it is full of sh* and great knowledge as well. The comments of Marius may sound a bit harsh to you, but honestly they almost always have some great rational kernel. You may disagree with the form of his comments, but it is hard to argue that he provokes some thoughtful discussions. Moreover, sometimes his comments greatly enhance the information from the articles; well, maybe because he isn’t a blogger 🙂
            I think this is true that the blogs we know cover some brands such as Bremont, Hublot or TAG Heuer, mostly due to their marketing presence, which goes far far ahead of their watchmaking talent. And please, let us not lie to ourselves that these brands are so extensively covered because of popularity of these watches. No, this isn’t true. Omega, Rolex and Seiko – yes, are very popular mass manufacturers, so I totally understand why there are so many articles on their watches. But Bremont, Hublot, (modern) TAG Heuer are simply pumped up with marketing, and watch bloggers help them generate false image of extreme advances in watchmaking and crazy popularity.
            To sum up – I enjoy reading your comments and comments of Marius as well. I think he brings MUCH more sense and interesting discusiions that many others commenting simply “Cool” “Great” “Meh” etc (no offense here).

          • Marius

            I’m sorry, but your arguments aren’t terribly logical.

            You keep repeating the Armand Nicolet argument. The discussion wasn’t about small brands vs big brands. The discussion was about the fact that there are plenty of nice dress watches available for under $15,000. The fact that these brands are small, big, German, or Swiss is irrelevant. Re-read the discussion and you will see that nobody talks about small brands vs famous ones. It’s simply a discussion about what dress watches one could find for under $15,000.

            “Ok so you only show your face here. Well not even that.”

            That fact that you put your first name next to a photo is meaningless. What matters is the quality of your comments/articles. For instance, Walt Odets and Carlos Perez wrote extremely interesting and well-written articles. Have you seen pictures of them? Do you know who they are in real life? That’s not important as long as their articles are great. If a watch blogger writes crappy articles, he can put his entire family album online, and it wouldn’t matter.

            “No blog, even your most sacred ones, ever say who covered the travelling expenses because it is so stupidly obvious nobody considered it necessary.”

            Really, it`s so stupidly obvious? For instance, last year ABTW visited the Bremont workshops in England. Could you please tell me who paid for what. I would be extremely curious to find out. Also, could you please tell me if watch brands have sent ABTW free watches, and who these brands are.

            “What I’ve never read is an absolute bashing of the watches reviewed, simply because in general terms all of us follow the common rule of “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it”.

            Well, if the article contains only nice & positive things, then that article is pretty much an advertorial, isn’t it? And, I never argued that watch blogs should bash watches; I argued that they should be critical. There is a huge difference between bashing and being critical. Being critical means looking at aspects such as the fit & finish of the case & dial, the quality of the caliber vs price range, etc. I have never heard a watch blog say “Well, this ETA caliber is reliable, but it’s also a pedestrian caliber considering that the watch costs $8,000.”

            “However Ariel has written a lot about what he thinks the industry is not doing well. You think that helps the case of getting lots of advertising money from the watch companies? ”

            The “State of the industry” articles that Ariel Adams wrote have a very vague and general language, and examples are never given. Show me a few articles where AA gives concrete examples of brands misinforming their customers, exaggerating facts, or producing mediocre watches.

            Lastly, I don’t know who you are, and I don’t your blog. However, my impression is that you are extremely hyped-up for having this blog. You should relax, and take it easy. It’s not like being a watch blogger is a humanity-altering profession.

          • Timestandsstill

            I believe Ariels assertion was that there weren’t a lot of nice dress watches for WAY under $15k

            Anyone who reads this blog regularly knows there are many around $15k or above 9-10k

            You seems to continually cite mostly the same half dozen “usual suspects” that are “prestige” brands when criticizing 90% of the others watches reviewed here but not everyone wants a PP, VC, JLC or ALC.

            I have been reading this blog for almost 9 years and have seen a lot of (sometimes “between the lines) critical reviews by Ariel

            And it seems only 2-3 years ago you had been making some very ill informed and rather naive posts yourself …. I will congratulate you however at having upped your game somewhat since then

          • Marius

            I am pleased to read that you find my comments opinionated. I am proud to have you among my fairly large (and ever increasing) group of fans.

            Nevertheless, why would I start a watch blog? I find it funny how some people believe that if one likes watches, one has to automatically start his/her own watch blog. There are much more interesting ways of getting involved with horology than starting a watch blog/YouTube channel. Taking into consideration my financial resources, the most appropriate idea for me would be to start my own watch manufacture.

          • Timestandsstill

            Can’t wait to see your first sponsored post here! It’s bound to be warmly received! ?

        • Right on Santiago!

        • Phil leavell

          You’ll have to excuse marius because he’s all that and a bag of chips. He’s so far above us. I bet you he uses Greg poopon mustard

    • Sheez Gagoo

      Vulcain has been bought by “Manufacture Anonimo”. A crappy Panerai spin off brand. So it`s a spin off of a crappy brand, that bought Vulcain. What do you expect from them? They have no financial power, no market power, no power at all. I think the will fade more into oblivion than Perrelet, Jean d`eve or their sister brand Revue Thommen.

      • Mikita

        I don’t think Anonimo are that bad. I’ve read some material, maybe even here, and their manufacture seemed very descent.

        • Sheez Gagoo

          These days, you need marketing power. There`s none. Vulcain is a great manufacture as well, look at the movement. Just not enough
          these days.

          • Mikita

            True. People know Rolex, Omega, Seiko and maybe Hublot. And dgaf about anything else 🙂

          • I think you can do smart marketing without a huge budget 🙂 Look at CHR.WARD in their early steps. Good design/good value, good return policy and that’s it.

          • Sheez Gagoo

            I really wanted to hate you. You annoyed the hell out of me during our Breitling war. You pissed me off so bad and I considered you as a stupid blabbermouth with absolutely no horological knowlege, a mouth bigger than the brain, we say here, but I have to admit, I was maybe wrong. I have to give you this one. Marketing power is not only a question of financial ressources but a question of reativity. I haven`t thought of Chr. Ward as an example, more of Moser and their apple imitation and Romain Jerome with their Nintendo stuff. Cheers.

      • The original Anonimo (i.e. made by the ex Panerai people in Firenze) are great watches with plenty of character — I am looking to get s second ‘nimo. The “new” Swiss-owned Anonimo is a mixed bag and feels a little too safe. Although they do have some nice designs, I doubt they have the marketing capital to revive Vulcain. Still, with baby steps and a niche market approach everything is possible!

        Also I’d like to add that the original Anonimo never considered themselves “manufacture”. I believe they called themselves case makers.

  • The Aviator Alarm has been on my grail list for a long time. I realize they don’t offer this particular iteration anymore, but half the fun is in the pursuit.

    Yes, I stole this image from ABTW:

  • I thought Anonimo owners had acquired it?

  • Yan Fin

    Sincerely hope that Vulcain will survive as brand and as manufacturer.

  • PR

    I have a soft spot for the brand. I hope they can turn it around and launch some good quality watches. They just need to stay away from low end generic watches and stick to making just what they are famous for and not bother with anything else. Lets hope we dont see another Sellita 3 hander for 3 grand from Vulcain like what JR did only to end up in the grey market bin in a few months for 70-80% off