Among the historic Swiss watch brands, Vulcain is probably the one most intrinsically associated with one specific complication: a recognizable mechanical alarm called Cricket that was featured in every single one of the timepieces in its contemporary collection until 2011, when the Le Locle-based Manufacture disclosed a range of classically styled chronographs and automatic timepieces that didn't include the iconic function. Three years later, Vulcain goes a bit further in product diversification – introducing at Baselworld an aviation-inspired chronograph, a new ladies’ watch, a tourbillon, as well as a handcraft-inspired limited edition.

 

A Baselworld : le stand de 500 m2 répartis sur plusieurs niveaux est situé dans le prestigieux Hall 1.1.

At Baselworld: the 500m2 split-level booth is located in the prestigious Hall 1.1 © Vulcain

 

The Cricket still is the flagship model in the classic 50s Presidents’ line and the sportier Nautical range, but the strategy is now aimed at a broader audience under the aegis of the Excellence Holding SA, a group that owns luxury boutique chain Les Ambassadeurs as well as Jaermann & Stübi (a niche brand specialized in golf-dedicated mechanical functions). Jaermann & Stübi shares a part of the imposing 500m2 split-level booth that Vulcain inaugurated last year at Baselworld’s prestigious Hall 1.1 – after a 33-year absence from the fair’s official premises and having spent the last dozen years in a show room at the adjacent Ramada Hotel.

A Tourbillon

Both the Excellence Holding and Vulcain’s management wish to propel the brand to new heights and the first route is that of diversification. This year’s new releases confirm that goal, starting with a 42mm pink gold Tourbillon watch issued in a 25-piece limited series and featuring an appealing semi-skeletonized satin-finish dial with mirror-polished angles, power reserve indication and retrograde date. The 264-component hand-wound Calibre V-62 boasts two barrels for a 5-day power reserve and a stunning charcoal grey-coat finish to better contrast with the semi-skeletonized dial. The tourbillon bridge, representing a stylized “V” for Vulcain, draws immediate attention.

 

Le tourbillon Vulcain affiche un style technique avec ses finitions gris anthracite et son cadran demi-squeletté.

The Vulcain Tourbillon exudes technicity through its charcoal grey-coat finish and semi-skeletonized dial © Vulcain

 

In the women’s department, there’s a completely new collection christened First Lady – a legacy from the 1920s, when the Manufacture produced various ladies’ models, but also a wink to the 50s Presidents’ line and the brand’s historic ties with US presidents.

First Lady and the Oval Room

Vulcain became famous worldwide for having its timepieces on the wrist of iconic statesmen such as Harry S. Truman, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Lyndon B. Johnson and Richard Nixon (hence the moniker “The Watch of Presidents” or “The Presidents’ watch”); from now on, any present or future First Lady at the White House or any other home will also be able to wear a feminine Vulcain.

 

Bureau ovale : la First Lady fait parfaitement écho à la collection 50s Presidents’

Oval Room: the First Lady is a perfect match for the 50s Presidents’ © Vulcain

 

There are six references in the trendy First Lady range, all of them powered by the automatic Calibre V-61 and featuring a refined 37.6mm oval case (another nod, this time to the Oval Room?). The broad range comprises versions in steel on a mother of pearl dial; steel on a mother-of-pearl dial with gem-set hour-markers (39 diamonds totalling 0.056 carats); steel on a mother of pearl dial and set bezel with 58 TW VS diamonds totalling 0.88 carats; pink gold on a mother-of-pearl dial with pink hour-markers set with 39 diamonds totalling 0.056 carats; and pink gold set with 82 TW VS diamonds totalling 1.07 carats on a mother-of-pearl dial bearing hour-markers set with 39 diamonds totalling 0.056 carats. A precious collection that would cause the envy of any First Lady!

A new range taking off

Another completely new product unveiled at Baselworld is the Aviator Instrument Chronograph, combining military spirit and sporty inspiration with an interesting dial display.

 

Trois exemples de la nouvelle montre Aviator Instrument Chronograph : versions noire, argentée et bleue

A trio from the new Aviator Instrument Chronograph: black, silver and blue versions © Vulcain

 

Boasting a 44.6mm steel case and two different types of pushers, the Aviator Instrument Chronograph is powered by an automatic Calibre V-59 and is available in six different dial colours (charcoal grey, blue, chocolate, silver, black and off-white).

Symbol of Wisdom

Finally, the dynamism and ambition of the Le Locle-based Manufacture can also be found on the two new limited edition 50s Presidents’ watches featuring the mythological Pegasus on a Grand Feu Cloisonné dial. To salute the opening of the brand’s first boutique in Beijing and honour Asia at the same time, Vulcain is introducing the 50s Presidents’ Pegasus “In The Sky” and Pegasus “On The Mountain”: it is after all the Year of the Horse.

 

Les montres Pégase de la collection 50s Presidents’ produites en édition limitée avec leurs cadrans en émail cloisonné : « In The Sky » et « On The Mountain »

The spectacular Grand Feu Cloisonné dials of both limited edition 50s Presidents’ Pegasus watches: “In The Sky” and “On The Mountain” © Vulcain

 

Each exclusive Pegasus model is individually numbered and limited to 18 pieces; the 42mm pink gold case offers a prestigious contrast to the artistry shown on the dial through the Cloisonné procedure of outlining the design and the exquisite Grand Feu enamelling technique based on five layers of enamel to create a lively three-dimensional sense of depth. Both represent the ideal combination between artistic crafts and watchmaking technique, with the self-winding Manufacture Calibre Cricket V-20 embodying Vulcain’s long tradition and expertise in acoustic complications/mechanical alarms.

 

Manufacturé dans les locaux du Locle, le calibre à réveil Cricket est une spécialité Vulcain déclinée en de multiples versions

Manufactured in-house at the Le Locle premises, the Cricket alarm calibre is a Vulcain specialty available in several versions © Vulcain

 

Vulcain was named after the god of fire in Roman mythology; Pegasus is an iconic creature associated with wisdom, knowledge and inspiration – the Manufacture expects that very same symbolism to guide its present activities and shape a new era.

 

Trois versions du dernier Aviator Instrument Chronograph : cadrans gris, blanc cassé et chocolat

The remaining three versions of the new Aviator Instrument Chronograph: charcoal grey, off white and chocolate dials © Vulcain