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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
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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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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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
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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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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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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Hi there,

...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.

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
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
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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Hi there,

...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
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
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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According to Michael Philip Horlbeck ("Der Armbandwecker - Geschichte einer unterschätzten Komplikation", Heel Verlag), both the the Cals. 401 and 402 exist and both have dates. The difference between the two is minor and concerns the operation (similar to the Adolf Schild Cals. 1475/1568 vs. AS 1930/1931, in which the operation of the alarm crown at 2:00 is reversed between the two):

Vulcain Cal. 401

Winding - crown in Position 0 (pushed in), wind clockwise
Setting the main time - crown in Position 1 (pulled out), pusher in Position 1

Setting the alarm time - crown in Position 1 (pulled out), pusher in Position 0
Activating the alarm - turn crown clockwise [no information on position] until the pusher snaps out
Deactivating the alarm - push in pusher


Vulcain Cal. 402

Winding - crown in Position 0 (pushed in), wind clockwise
Setting the main time - crown in Position 1 (pulled out), pusher in Position 1

Setting the alarm time - crown in Position 1 (pulled out), pusher in Position 0
Activating the alarm - pull out pusher
Deactivating the alarm - push in pusher

Hope that helps,

Hartmut Richter
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
We seem to be slowly finding our way but take a look at these photos- there is an additional piece in Roland's photo ( that I have also seen on Internet photos ) that is maybe a click? at about 2 o'clock . This is not present in other photos I've seen nor is it present in either of my watches. Is one a 401 and the other a 402? I'm sorry if this is not relevant- just something I noticed.
 

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Hi Hartmut & Giotime,

thanks, but now the confusion is complete. Clearing the easiest first:
...similar to the Adolf Schild Cals. 1475/1568 vs. AS 1930/1931, in which the operation of the alarm crown at 2:00 is reversed between the two
This definitely wrong information pops up in the web now and then. After having read it the first time, I became concerned, because I never had noticed any difference regarding the operation. So I checked it on many samples, and the operation is absolutely the same for both pairs. The prominent differences are the frequency (18000bph for AS1475/1568, 21600bph for AS1930/1931) and the regulator design.

I tend to believe the different operation of the pusher after Horlbeck: As Giotime noticed, there are samples with a thingy looking like a click, mine has it (and two further I had on my table also). This is no real click, but the end of a lever, which switches the crown between watch- and alarm function, and which pops out the pusher when the crown is turned cw. In others this "click" is missing, and so the pusher must be pulled. Moreover these have a cut-out in the balance cock to release the pusher for uncasing the movement.

But now it becomes worse: I found many assignments between calibre designation and the "pop-out click", but no remarkable majority for any. The calibre key Flume K3 lists the 401 without date, and the 402 with date, and I couldn't believe it, because I never saw a sample without date. But now I found this site:
armbandwecker
It confirms Flume's assignment, an even shows a 401 with the first pic of a sample without date, I've ever seen. But now it becomes even worse: If I magnify the Waltham in this thread, without "pop-out click", I believe to read 401 under the balance, but after Horlbeck it should be a 402.

Now i'm pretty confused, and believe that even Vulcain didn't kow the meaning of 401 vs 402.

@Giotime:

Hopefully you can bring some light into the darkness, if you can read what is written under the balance of your sample.

Regards, Roland Ranfft
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 · (Edited)
Ok Roland, you are going to love this! (you may be right about even Vulcain not knowing a 401 from a 402)
The Vulcain ( jewel missing-I know) is clearly marked 401. The Waltham is clearly marked 402.
Only other difference I see is Vulcain code is PWP... and the Waltham code is OXM (I think ).
And btw both do have date Windows.
 

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Hi Giotime,

Only other difference I see is Vulcain code is PWP... and the Waltham code is OXM (I think ).
You read the Waltham code upside down, the correct Waltham code is WXO.

The Vulcain ( jewel missing-I know) is clearly marked 401. The Waltham is clearly marked 402.
Agree referring the Vulcain. But on the Waltham the number is hard to read in the photo, but if I have the choice between 401 and 402, I prefer to read also 401.

However, if you read right, the desaster is complete. We have two varying features to justify two numbers (401 and 402):
1st: date yes or not,
2nd: pop-out button or pull button.
And regarding these features, the Vulcain and the Waltham are the very same.

Regards, Roland Ranfft
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Just to be clear. The last two movement photos from my previous post are of my watches. All the previous ones were not from mine but from from eBay sold pieces . My two watches are definitely marked (Vulcain -401) and the (Waltham-402) I could not get a photo to show readers the numbers clearly. ( Thanks for the WXO correction). I do thank you for for helping me with this research.
 

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This definitely wrong information pops up in the web now and then. After having read it the first time, I became concerned, because I never had noticed any difference regarding the operation. So I checked it on many samples, and the operation is absolutely the same for both pairs. The prominent differences are the frequency (18000bph for AS1475/1568, 21600bph for AS1930/1931) and the regulator design.
It may have been spread by e a number of years ago (I have quoted it on occasion without scraping it from the internet). But then, it is what Horlbeck clearly states: crown at 2:00 out for activating the alarm on the AS 1930/1931, crown in for the same thing on the AS 1475/1568.

Hartmut Richter
 

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Hi Hartmut,

...Horlbeck clearly states: crown at 2:00 out for activating the alarm on the AS 1930/1931, crown in for the same thing on the AS 1475/1568.
But reality beats printed paper:

In this AS 1475 the crown at 2h is pulled out, and the lever A leaves the pin on the alarm hammer free, i.e. alarm on:

AS_1475-on.jpg

In this AS 1475 the crown is pushed in, and the lever A keeps the pin on the hammer fixed, i.e. alarm off:

AS_1475-off.jpg

And here the very same in an AS 1930; crown in, alarm off:

AS_1930-off.jpg

Conclusuion: Crown out = alarm on, crown in = alarm off, and this for both generations.
Usually I trust more in books than web publications, but even books are not error-resistant.

Regards, Roland Ranfft
 

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Hi Giotime,

My two watches are definitely marked (Vulcain -401) and the (Waltham-402).
Thanks, then obviously the "2" is covered by the balance rim, and what appears as "1" is just an accidental mirror image on the chamfered balance rim.

At least we know now that we know nothing, and I should record the uncertain meaning of the calibre designations in my archive. With some luck, in the far future my grand daughter gets better informations to update the archive entries.

Regards, Roland Ranfft
 

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That is most interesting! Particularly so since I own neither AS version - but I do have a Poljot Cal.2612 alarm somewhere, which is a close copy of the AS 1475 - and THAT really DOES activate the alarm with the crwon at 2:00 pushed in!! So, unless it's a "generational" issue with the 2612, this movement did change the activation mechanism in all versions.

Hartmut Richter
 
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