The Vulcain Aviator Series
Since they were first founded in 1858, Vulcain have been responsible some of the most sought after watch series in the world.
In 1947, the brand invented the world’s first wristwatch equipped with a genuinely operational alarm function, a move that would spell the start of years of innovation and position the Swiss watchmaker firmly into the history books.
It wasn’t until the 1950's when Vulcain watches were offered to the pilots of Swiss national airline Swissair, that their profile in the world of aviation really lifted off.
It comes as no surprise then that Vulcain decided to dedicate a fully-fledged collection to these knights of the sky. Dubbed, the “Aviator” range.
The Aviator Instrument Chronograph collection comprises of six designs – equipped with a polished case for the “classic” range and a brushed case for the “sports” range.
The elegance of this chronograph, with its refined sophisticated finishes, displays a concern for detail that highlights its classic style with contemporary function.
Playing on contrasting effects, the Arabic numerals are enhanced with Superluminova, while the push pieces attenuate features from the hands or dial.
The case also features alternating polished and brushed finishes.
Equipped with hour and minute hands, a date window at 6 o’clock, a chronograph sweep-seconds hand, as well as 30-minute and 12-hour counters at 3 and 6 o’clock respectively, this timepiece springs a surprise at 9 o’clock.
In a nod to aviation, it features a seconds counter reminiscent of the “Alarm Flag” appearing on radio altimeter cockpit instruments. Reinforcing the dynamic design of this model, the oscillating weight has been has been worked to provide just a glimpse of the movement.
So popular were the original pilots watches, it wasn’t uncommon for Vulcain to receive letters from the pilots in praise of the watches they were using.
The original pilots watches eventually found their way across the Atlantic, winding up on the wrists of high-ranking US Navy personnel such as Commander Richard F who famously wrote the following sentiment.
It reads “my small friend and I have managed to survive most everything together… I am reluctant to let the ordinary jeweller touch it”.
This is testament not only to the reliability of the watch, but also to the bond formed between man and machine.
The Vulcain Aviator Cricket GMT is a variant of the Aviator Instrument that we have looked at, with a significant difference - The inclusion of the celebrated cricket alarm function.
The cricket alarm complication in this watch represents far more than just an additional function. It is the signature of the Vulcain brand.
The case feels restrained and compact, but does not compromise functionality.
A screw-down crown operates a 24hr world timer ring at 4 o'clock. The Calibre Vulcain Cricket V-11 movement has a power reserve of 42 hours, date indicator, and of course the famous alarm function that sounds for 20 seconds when actuated.
Page and Cooper’s own Jonathan spoke to Thibaut Sacre, International Sales Manager for Vulcain to find out a little bit more about where the name for the cricket alarm function came from.
The watch itself is available in two colour combinations. You can have a black dial on a black leather strap that narrows from 22mm between the lugs to a comfortable 18mm, or a white dial with blue highlights on a tan strap.
Of course, we do stock a whole range of straps and bracelets to make your new watch your own.
With such a great reputation, it is only natural that Vulcain still continues to develop this unique calibre, thereby perpetuating the modern history of the brand 70 years after the launch of this exceptional calibre.
It is worth noting that Vulcain do not mass-produce these watches, so may become quite sought after - if this generation of the Cricket proves as popular as its now legendary ancestors.