Vulcain Cricket Questions
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  1. #1
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    Vulcain Cricket Questions

    I was happy to come upon this overlooked Vulcain for just a few dollars in a thrift today. I have looked through the Internet and eBay for equivalents and searched thru back threads on these Crickets ( there have been quite a few). But still have some questions. I don't seem to be able to find any that have Subdial seconds. Does that date this piece? Serial on back is S1511A. Also I'm not sure how to open the back. Looks like the back has 2 places for screwing off the back. This does turn but doesn't unscrew. Is it just snap off? Also once I get the back off does one need to be careful how it is put back on? Does it need to be positioned in a particular way? I'm assuming it's one one of those that winds the alarm in one direction and winds the timing in the other direction? The alarm does go off properly but the watch seems to be fully wound but is not running.(Hopefully just needs service). Thanks for any information on this model.
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  2. #2
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    Re: Vulcain Cricket Questions

    It's been awhile since I've opened one but I remember being confused until I realized it was a snap on back - don't take my word for it but look around for a spot for a case knife.
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  3. #3
    Member Dan S's Avatar
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    Re: Vulcain Cricket Questions

    I can't answer your questions, but that's a classic watch. Nice find Joe!
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    -- Dan (formerly known as @badbackdan)
    ------- @oldwatchdan on Instagram -------

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  5. #4
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    Re: Vulcain Cricket Questions

    I did find a similar example . Most Crickets have the crowns at hours 2 and 3 while my example and this other one have crowns at 2and4. Same S1511A on caseback. Caseback is snap off.
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  6. #5
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    Re: Vulcain Cricket Questions

    Nice watch

    I have a Revue Thommen Cricket. RT owned the Cricket patent in the 1990's before Vulcain got it back.

    Before you think it does not work, make sure it is wound up. One way of turning the crown winds the alarm and the other way winds the watch.

    I think on this case back it ether unscrews using the two biggest holes in the case back or it is a snap off case back.

    It does have to be put back the correct way as the alarm functions by a hammer tapping on a tab attached to the case back. The hammer is that piece of metal that is at the 7 o'clock side area of the watch(bottom left in the pic)

    Here is mine
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  7. #6
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    Re: Vulcain Cricket Questions

    Nice watch!

    To clarify matters: Vulcain are famous for their Cal. 120 that they used in their "Cricket" watches. The movement was also used by others, most notable Revue Thommen and then became the Cal. MSR S2 (sometimes MSR S23). When Vulcain went fairly well under, RT redesignated this movement the Cal. RT 80. RT later also used Adolf Schild Cals. AS 1930/1931 in their Crickets. The Cal. 120 is now made again by the revitalised Vulcain company and has reemerged as the Cal. V10.

    Apart from the well known Cal. 120, Vulcain also made some other wrist alarm movements for the "little Cricket". These were the Cal. 401 and 402, the latter having a date feature (that's the one you've got) and both have a subseconds display. There was also the Cal. 406 for the Cricket "Golden Voice", a very small ladies' wrist alarm with a particularly lovely sound since the alarm bell is made from solid gold. All Crickets have the "Exactomatic" balance staffs that gave them better accuracy in different positions.

    Hartmut RIchter
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  8. #7
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    Re: Vulcain Cricket Questions

    Hi there,

    Quote Originally Posted by Giotime View Post
    ...Looks like the back has 2 places for screwing off the back. This does turn but doesn't unscrew.
    It is a two-layer push back. The two gaps are to lift off the outer layer from the inner, if the space between both can't be cleaned anyhow else. If you turn it, You have the best chance to kill the back or the movement.

    Quote Originally Posted by Giotime View Post
    Also once I get the back off does one need to be careful how it is put back on?
    Yes inside the back is a bolt extending into the movement, on which the alarm hammer strikes. So if you turn the back, either this bolt breaks off, or the arbor of the hammer - which ever is weaker.

    Anyway, almost all important informations about this fairly rare model are presented here:
    bidfun-db Archive: Wrist Watches: 880: Gents Vulcain Cricket Calendar Manual Wind Alarm, ca. 1960
    And the movement data are given here:
    bidfun-db Archive: Watch Movements: Vulcain 401 Cricket Calendar

    Regard, Roland Ranfft
    SunnyOrange and Eeeb like this.

  9. #8
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    Re: Vulcain Cricket Questions

    A Vulcain update and some information. Roland and Harmut ( thank you ) helped me identify my Cricket as having a somewhat scarce Cal 402 movement. I then remembered that a couple years ago I had picked up Waltham alarm watch for a dollar at a yard sale . I dug it out and to my surprise found it to have a working Vulcain 402 inside ( minus a sub second hand ). I wouldn't know who else Vulcain may have farmed these movements out to. Hopefully I can use one of these for parts and get one of these serviced and working perfectly. Vulcain Crickets other claim to fame ( other than its unique alarm sound ) is that one was presented to each of the Presidents from Truman to Obama ( perhaps skipping "W") with Lyndon Johnson getting a Cricket Calendar similar to my model. Note- attached movement photo is not from my watches- internet photo. I'm reluctant to keep opening these pieces because I have to keep aligning the strike bar. Seems like these might be a pain to service.
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  10. #9
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    Re: Vulcain Cricket Questions

    Hi there,

    Quote Originally Posted by Giotime View Post
    ...Roland and Harmut ( thank you ) helped me identify my Cricket as having a somewhat scarce Cal 402 movement.
    You and Hartmut are right, and what I listed in my archive as Vulcain 401 is also a 402 (and I'll correct it right now).

    I browsed my paperwork, and in some catalogs actually both, 401 and 402 are listed, the 401 without, and the 402 with date. But I've never seen a sample of this calibre without date, and therefore it is likely not more than a catalog item which never reached the real world. However, I'll list both, because I can't deny the existence of the 401.

    Regards, Roland Ranfft

  11. #10
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    Re: Vulcain Cricket Questions

    I agree Roland- in my only mini research of these watches I have only seen this model with a date. In fact this model is called the Cricket Calendar.

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