Vulcain × seconde/seconde × Revolution Cricket Tradition “Vulcain Salute”
Extrapolated over four colorways in two sizes, this iconic mechanical alarm watch made in collaboration with horology’s Merry Prankster extraordinaire features a constantly moving reminder to “live long and prosper.” Wei Koh, founder of Revolution, The Rake & Grail Watch.
Guillaume Laidet is on a roll. Like a big wave surfer catching an 86-foot monster at Nazaré, he’s hurtling through space riding the momentum of his success shouting, “Kawabunga!”
Guillaume is an important part of a new generation of watch entrepreneurs — think Etienne Malec of Baltic, Andrea Furlan and Hamad Al Marri of Furlan Marri, and Robin Tallendier and Wilfried Buiron of Atelier Wen — who are absolutely revolutionizing the watch industry. While several of these individuals can rightly be described as the kings of the microbrands, Laidet’s focus has been altogether different. He has been the numero uno revivalist of once dormant and forgotten brands, begining with Nivada Grenchen and then Vulcain.
Says Laidet, who at 37 years old is the perfect representative of the new generation of watch buyers, “My generation and Gen Z and even Alpha are extremely interested in watches. But we really needed our gateway drug — watches that are wonderfully styled, that had all the vintage trigger points, but are also very high quality and relatively accessible.”
The Vulcain Cricket
Laidet was determined to resurrect the once legendary Vulcain watch company, makers of the famous Cricket mechanical alarm watch worn by a number of American presidents such as Lyndon Johnson. His vision for the brand is laser-focused on reviving the maison’s core historic models as authentically and faithfully as possible. Case in point: The newly revived Cricket first launched in a historically accurate case size of 36mm, as well as a more universally appealing 39mm version.
After meeting Laidet during Watches and Wonders early this year, he insisted on sending me a prototype. That turned out to be his resurrected version of the Vulcain Cricket. I was blown away the moment I strapped it on my wrist. The Cricket's vintage styling, quality, proportions and size were all impressive.
The Cricket is extrapolated by Laidet into two versions — the Classique with vintage-themed lume and the Tradition with elegant applied indexes. Both are decidedly handsome, and both are available in two sizes. Laidet explained the use of the proprietary inhouse caliber and when I set and activated the alarm, I was further sold. But when he explained the price of the watch, which started from CHF 3,600 for the 36mm model, I considered this to represent a strong value proposition and decided immediately that I would like to collaborate on a special edition of this marvelous timepiece with him.
Wait a seconde
Now for the wild card in this story. Enter one Romaric André, better known by his creative sobriquet seconde/seconde/, the Merry Prankster of the Swiss watch industry.
André’s modus operandi can be characterized as somewhere between the ironic wit of “Dadaist in chief” Marcel Duchamp, who once famously scrawled his pseudonym “R. Mutt” on a urinal, placed it on a podium and called it art, and Andy Warhol’s co-option of popular icons like the Mona Lisa for his silk screen paintings. He brings an immediate instinctive provocation to any watch design with a considered and intelligent twist of a small detail, usually expressed by a transformation of the watch’s hands, in particular the seconds hand.
For his collaboration with George Bamford, he made a tongue-in-cheek play on the name of the brand, which sounds like ‘Bad Form' when spoken quickly. For H. Moser & Cie., André created a pixilated eraser in reference to the no-logo, no-index minimalism of their Concept dials. For Louis Erard, which sounded to him like Louis “Error,” he created a “404” Error seconds hand, and for William Massena’s “Big Eye” chronograph, he emblazoned the continuous seconds and chronograph minute counter with a set of uneven pixilated eyes.
Vulcain × Seconde/seconde/ × Revolution Cricket Tradition “Vulcain Salute”
For some time, I had wanted to find the right collaborative project with André. So when Laidet mentioned his name as a possible partner for our limited edition, I immediately shouted out, “Hell yes!” It turned out André had a very specific idea in mind.
He explained, “When I hear the name Vulcain, what I hear is the ‘Vulcan,’ the race of superior beings guided by pure logic in Star Trek.” The character Mr Spock is famously half Vulcan and half human, though he has always identified as Vulcan.
Said Laidet, “His idea was to create a seconds hand for the Vulcain Cricket that featured the Vulcan salute.”
The symbolic hand gesture is now a deeply entrenched part of popular culture and one beloved by many, including watchmaker Vianney Halter, a huge Star Trek devotee, who signs off all his emails and text messages with the emoji of a Vulcan salute. The origin of this hand gesture dates back to 1967 — in an episode titled “Amok Time,” Leonard Nimoy, portraying Spock, made the gesture with his four fingers separated into two pairs, forming a V with the now legendary accompanying spoken words, “Live long and prosper.” It is believed that Nimoy based this gesture on the blessing, with both hands thumb-to-thumb in this position to represent the letter Shin.
So beloved is this symbol by Star Trek fans and beyond that Barack Obama referenced it in a poignant tribute to Nimoy after learning of the actor’s passing. In response, the next day, NASA astronaut Terry Virts posted a picture of himself from the International Space Station, making this gesture with Earth in the background.
Said André, “Of the various collaborations I’ve made, this is perhaps the most soulful and even spiritual. Because this constantly turning hand is meant to remind each human earthling who wears this watch that it is her or his responsibility to ‘live long and prosper.’ At the same time, it is also a message to the newly revived brand to do the same and to continue now into a bright future.”
Laidet elaborated, “The moment I set eyes on the watch and Romaric explained the significance to me, I was both very amused but also quite touched. As a Star Trek fan, this gesture has an almost spiritual meaning, a universal message of positivity, and I like to think that every customer wearing one of these watches will feel uplifted by it.”
After a few days, André came back with another idea, which really put the collaboration over the top for me. He wanted to make the Vulcan hands in the four different colors of the Star Trek uniform — red, blue, gold and green. For the dial of the watches, André selected the black Tradition model with applied indexes.
To offer more variety, the green and gold come in 36mm, while the red and blue are presented in 39mm. For further distinction, gold-toned indexes are used for the smaller case size with the gold and green hands, and steel indexes for the larger size watches with the red and blue hands. To keep them genuinely rare, we decided to make only 25 pieces of each reference.
Finally, for an even greater measure of wrist-borne panache, each watch comes with a second strap in a tone matching its Vulcan hand. The result is one of the most delightful collaborative projects I’ve had the pleasure of participating in!
Vulcain × Seconde/seconde/ × Revolution Cricket Tradition “Vulcain Salute” 36mm and 39mm
Limited edition of 25 numbered pieces in each colorway
- Material: 316L polished steel
- Diameter 36 mm and 39 mm
- Glass: Domed sapphire crystal with anti-glare treatment
- Circular satin-finished bezel and case-back
- Screw-on case back decorated with the REVOLUTION logo
- Water-resistance to 5 ATM
Dial and hands
- Black semi-matt dial
- Numerals, applique indices and Dauphine hands (Cricket Tradition)
- Hands with Vulcain Salute in yellow, green, blue or red
- Vulcain Cricket Manufacture V-10 calibre
- Hand-wound mechanical alarm movement
- Diameter: 12 lignes
- Number of jewels: 25
- Number of parts: 165
- Double barrel, equipped with the Exactomatic system
- Decoration: nickel-plated treatment, blued screws, skeleton ratchet wheels
- Frequency: 18,000 vph (2.5 Hz)
- Power reserve of 42 hours
- Functions: hours, minutes, central seconds, alarm
- Duration of alarm: approx. 20 seconds
Strap and buckle
- Black Louisiana alligator or colored leather (yellow, green, blue, red)
- Steel pin buckle
- 36mm CHF 3'800 / EUR 3'800
- 39mm CHF 4'100 / EUR 4'100
For more information, please visit revolutionwatch.com