Vulcain was the first manufacturer of a mechanical alarm watch (or at least, that’s what they claimed in their ads!). In 1947, Vulcain introduced the Cricket. They had to face several challenges, and fitting an alarm complication in such a small case wasn’t easy at all. Maybe not because of the mechanics to make it work, but because of the challenge to make a case with enough space to make the sound resonate inside out.
This watch features two barrels (wait, what?). In short, when you wind a watch you are storing power into a spring that slowly releases it through the movement. This watch has two separate springs: one for the timekeeping capacities and one for the alarm. That’s why you can wind the watch in two ways, clockwise to wind the alarm and counterclockwise to wind the mechanism.
The functioning of this watch is, to say the least, intricate. The crown has three different positions (which nowadays seems usual, but hang along). One of the positions, the third one, is only available by pushing the top pusher two times, which capacitates the ability to set the alarm time. The second position, the one achieved by pushing the top pusher once, is the neutral position (which leads the crown to hang a bit further from the case). The first one allows you to set the time (which can only be set clockwise, a way to prevent harming the mechanism).
If you are afraid to be in a meeting and this watch setting the alarm off, be sure to have the crown in the second position! If you forgot to set it and the cricket starts blasting, then just push the top pusher to make it stop.
Oh, almost forgot. You might have heard about this watch as the president’s watch. Yes, you heard that right. Obama, Nixon Eisenhower and Truman were spotted wearing this watch. But the one that was originally connected to this watch was Truman.