Within the timepiece's stately case is a 157 part Vulcain Cricket V-18, with a 15-20 second alarm complication. The alarm function is activated utilizing the top crown, and the distinctive alarm hand is located on the partially skeletonized dial, revealing portions of the moving gear trains that power the hands. With many skeletonized watches the readability of the hands is compromised by the constant movement; however, on this watch the beveled hour index markers are raised and the minute markers are located on the edge of the dial. The 42 mm wide case is attached to a Louisiana crocodile leather strap affixed with a buckle and deployment clasp.
The watch presented to President Obama will have a specially engraved case back. The watch will be available in steel or 18k rose gold, so it remains to be seen which one will be selected for presentation to President Obama. This watch will join Obama's Tag Heuer Series 1500 Divers Watch and the Chronograph watch -the Secret Service presented to him on August 4th, 2007 for his 46th birthday. To read more about President Obama's Watch click here
Vulcain's tradition began in 1953 when the White House Press Photographers' Association presented Harry S. Trumen (President from December 4th 1945 to January 1st, 1953) with a Vulcain Cricket. The Vulcain Cricket gained the reputation as the "President's Watch." Trumen loved the watch and donned it on many occasions. He particularly like the alarm-complication which reminded him of important engagements he had to attend.
U.S. President Eisenhower (January 20th , 1953 to January 20th, 1961) wore a Cricket before being elected president. President Lyndon Johnson presented the Cricket to more than 200 people. At a Geneva meeting for the United Nations President Johnson gave an order to buy up all the available Cricket's. The Cricket was more than a mere convenient accessory; it was a reliable companion. Bill Clinton received a Vulcain Cricket during his presidency.
What is it about the Vulcain Cricket?
As it is human nature to forget, this alarm function or reminder function was an important tool for man. It is interesting to note, the alarm function is older than the minute hand. Men's wristwatches became quite popular, thanks to Santos-Dumont, as peoples lives became more hectic in the fast paced modern world, they needed to be reminded of appointments. An alarm function was the perfect reminder; however, the wristwatch was quite small in comparable to a larger pocket watch and thus quite difficult to make an audible gong. An alarm function had three problems within a wristwatch case:
2) Effecting Dust protection
3) Effecting Water resistance
... then in 1947, Vulcain presented the Vulcain Cricket. The Cricket was so loud it was impossible to miss the reminder. Robert Ditisheim turned to mother nature to resolve the alarm audibility dillema. Ever tried to fall asleep while a cricket is chirping its nightly song? Ever put the pillow over your ear to drown out the noise, but still heard its persistant resonance. AHH! Now that is the answer. If a tiny cricket could cause such a noise, than surely a wristwatch could do the same. Robert Ditsheim Incorporated a resonance-chamber like that of a cricket by fitting a two-part back to the watch case. The inner encloses the watch case and serves to generate the sound. A hammer strikes the watch-case which oscillates and produces the sound-waves. The outer case has a twofold function: First it permits the sound-generating inner-back to oscillate freely as it has no direct contact with the wearer's wrist. Second it forms a small space between the inner case back which serves as a resonance chamber. Although many Watch Companies have crafted mechanical minute repeaters, none is quite as loud as the Vulcain Cricket.