The Vulcain Cricket Nautical celebrates its 62nd birthday with a sapphire upgradeZach Blass
- The first diver’s watch equipped with an aquatic alarm returns after over 60 years
- Developed in 1961 with the help of three expert divers, it was on the wrist of Hannes Keller when he reached a depth of 250 metres
- This revival is modernized with a sapphire crystal and you can choose between a black dial with either an emerald or lagoon-coloured minute track
Heritage revivals are all the rage right now, but it is fair to say that Guillaume Laidet, who has revived the Vulcain, Excelsior Park, and Nivada Grenchen brands, has an honourary masters degree in reviving archival watches. Laidet has done so with great success across all three brands, and his latest revival is a belated 60th anniversary celebration of Vulcain’s classic Cricket Nautical diver. First introduced in 1961, the Cricket Nautical was the first divers watch to be equipped with an aquatic alarm – meaning an alarm that can also be heard underwater. Its name is a nod to the sound of the alarm being akin to a prolonged chirp of a Cricket. In 2011, a 50th anniversary limited edition recreation of 1,961 pieces were made in honour of the model’s birth year. Now, in 2023 it is back and is yet again very faithful to the original aesthetic and proportions. But, this is the first time the Vulcain Cricket Nautical has ever been offered with a sapphire crystal.
The case retains its original proportions, with a 42.2mm 316L stainless steel case that is 17.35mm thick from the top of the domed crystal to the bottom of the resonator triple case back. While sporty in purpose, the case opts for a more elegant full mirror polish giving it a polished yet professional look. Two screw-down crowns can be found on the right side of the case, with the 3′ crown used to set the time and the 4′ crown in control of the of the rotatable decompression scale. The pusher at 2′ is in charge of setting the twenty-second alarm complication. Not trying to make a dad-pun here, but I know some of you may be alarmed when you read 17.35mm thick. And, to be clear, I have yet to personally handle the watch ‘in the metal’. But, with a fair bit of the thickness attributed to the caseback (and domed crystal), I imagine if you wear your watches more snug on the wrist like I do it will feel a bit thinner than its measurement suggests.
Depending on your personal style, you can choose between two variations of the semi-matte black dial. One keeps things pristine, with white SuperLuminova® used for the three central hands and hour indices and a lagoon blue minute track. To lean into the vintage side of the spectrum, the other black dial features beige SuperLuminova® for a faux-tina effect and it also utilises a subtly different emerald green minute track. The dials are otherwise identical in layout and functionality. Vulcain explains: “Two superimposed dials – one fixed and the other rotating, adjustable with a dedicated crown at 4 o’clock – serve to determine decompression times. Depending on the dive duration and depth set on the dials, the rectangular aperture displays the stop times required at the typical depths of 9, 6 and 3 meters when ascending back to the surface after an extended underwater excursion.”
Similar to the manner in which Omega offers their Speedmaster Professional in both sapphire and hesalite variations, this new Cricket Nautical can be purchased in a variety of configurations. The purest tribute to the original would be the configuration with a plexiglass crystal and the solid resonator caseback. That being said, for maximum robustness you can also purchase the watch with a scratch-resistant sapphire crystal. And, if you want to double down on sapphire, you can forego the solid resonator caseback and the ability to hear the alarm underwater and instead elect to see the hand-wound 42-hour power reserve V-10 manufacture movement with an exhibition caseback. There is no right or wrong answer, it is simply preference. But, for me personally I think I would get more enjoyment out of being able to see the rather nicely decorated calibre, largely satin-brushed on its top facing elements with bevelled edges, than the novelty of hearing the alarm underwater – I am not a professional diver at the end of the day.
Vulcain Cricket Nautical pricing and availability
The Vulcain Cricket Nautical is available now and it is not a limited edition. Price: Starting at CHF 4,200
|Case Dimensions||42.2mm (D) x 17.35mm (Triple Case Back Thickness)|
|Case Material||316L stainless steel|
|Dial||Semi-matte black dial with decompression tables|
|Crystal||AR-coated domed sapphire crystal or domed plexiglass crystal
Solid ‘Triple Case Back’ acts as a resonance chamber, allowing the alarm function to be used underwater, or a sapphire crystal exhibition caseback version embellished with the stylized Vulcain “V”
|Strap||Leather or rubber strap options|
|Movement||V-10 manufacture hand-wound calibre|
|Power Reserve||42 hours|
|Functions||Hours, minutes, center seconds, alarm, decompression scale adjustable via screw-in crown at 4 o’clock|
|Price||Starting at CHF 4,200|