While very few Manufactures can lay claim to a century and a half of horological passion, this venerable age is being celebrated at Vulcain to the sound of innovation, energy and fine workmanship. The limited editions released to mark the occasion are complemented by the emergence of resolutely sporting new collections. Setting the crowning touch to this important jubilee, Vulcain publishes a book providing a wealth of information and retracing its 150 years of history.
1858 – 2008
A century and a half of watchmaking passion, as well as 150 years of creation, innovation and expertise patiently acquired and now devoted to defending the demanding values of Haute Horlogerie. Founded in 1858, the workshop of the Ditisheim brothers – which was to give rise to the Vulcain brand – immediately earned itself an enviable reputation through its complication watches, which received awards at several World Fairs. Almost a century later, Vulcain launched the first ever mechanical alarm movement, which soon achieved worldwide fame. The legendary Cricket calibre took flight before finding its place in the history books as “The Presidents’ Watch”. American heads of state Dwight Eisenhower, Richard Nixon and Lyndon Johnson all wore a Vulcain on their wrist, a fact that earned the brand its prestigious reputation. But the technical qualities of Vulcain watches also appealed to explorers and adventurers. From the 1950s onwards, the brand in Le Locle was to partner famous mountaineering and maritime expeditions.
To retrace this rich and fascinating history, the Manufacture is publishing a 144-page book that looks back over the key stages and the main events that have forged the destiny of the company over a century and a half. Each chapter also opens with a nod to the artistic creations of the period in question, shedding light on the constant interaction between aesthetics and industry.
The firm has also decided to celebrate this important milestone by top-flight creations such as the Vulcain Anniversary Heart. Epitomising the know-how cultivated by the Manufacture, its craftsmen have developed a new alarm calibre, code-named V-18. Specially anthracite coated and displaying meticulous finishing, it thereby complies with the stringent codes of Haute Horlogerie. The Vulcain Anniversary Heart model is issued in limited editions of 150 in rose gold and 450 in steel.
Eager to toast this anniversary in delightful feminine company, Vulcain looked to China for inspiration in creating the Vulcanova “Butterfly Lovers”. Enthralled by the legend bearing the same name, the oriental alter ego of the Romeo and Juliet story, the Manufacture has crafted a mother-of-pearl dial featuring two colourful butterflies. Available in three limited versions of 150 each, the Vulcanova “Butterfly Lovers” models beat to the steady cadence of a mechanical self-winding movement.
Action, sport and ocean depths
2008 is also a dynamic and sporting year for Vulcain. The sophisticated and powerful new Vulcain Cricket GMT X-TREME conveys the brand’s renewed ambitions in the field of sport and exploration. Water-resistant to 100 metres, the generous 44 mm-diameter case is made of black titanium and steel or titanium and 18-carat rose gold. An ideal resonance chamber to diffuse the sound emitted by the alarm of the anthracite-coated Cricket Calibre V-16.The sporting spirit of the Vulcain Cricket GMT X-TREME model is also expressed by a new notched bezel in steel or rose gold, and by vulcanised rubber or water-resistant leather strap.
Vulcain also pursues its underwater explorations this year by presenting the Vulcain Cricket DIVER X-TREME. Model. A complete measuring instrument, this new timepiece features a bidirectional rotating bezel adjustable by means of a screw-locked crown. Powered by Cricket Calibre V-10, the Vulcain Cricket DIVER X.TREME is available in titanium/steel or in titanium/18-carat rose gold versions.
The warmth of the dragon
Encouraged by a determination to ensure the survival of the specific crafts inherent to Haute Horlogerie, Vulcain has made a point since its revival of producing limited-edition models featuring finely enamelled dials. This year, a five-clawed dragon adorns the face of the Vulcain Aviator GMT “The Dragon” limited edition. Crafted with meticulous care using the cloisonné enamel technique, this dial is produced in a limited, numbered series of 30 and is framed by an 18-carat rose gold case.