The Vulcain Nautical Cricket: A Record-Setting, "Perfect" Divers Watch

Considering who else was making diving watches in the 1960s, it may come as a surprise to you that in 1961, when famed diver Hannes Keller took LIFE journalist Kenneth MacLeisch to a record setting depth of 222 meters, he was wearing a Vulcain.  Now you die-hard Hodinkers probably remember Vulcain as the brand worn by every US President since Harry Truman (except for George W. Bush, yes seriously). 

The Cricket Nautical, however, is Vulcain's most sought after watch.  So popular was this model in fact that Vulcain reintroduced it in 2002 with an exact duplicate.  So what makes this watch so special and why would Hannes Keller choose it above a Rolex, Jaeger, or Omega?

The answer is clear.  It was designed to be the perfect diving watch.  It had an incredibly well designed alarm system that was audible under water.  Even Keller stated after his dive that at 222 meters he could still hear the alarm clearly.  It had something to do with the 16 holes on the case back.  Wait a minute, didn't the Polaris make this case back design famous? They did, but guess who had the design first? Vulcain. 

So this Nautical Cricket could alarm divers of when their immersion time was up, but it could also calculate decompression times using their inner-rotating bezel.  This was the first of its kind, and because Cricket never patented the concept, Doxa claims they invented it despite producing it over 7 years later.

This watch was also one of the first to use Tritium instead of Radium.  It featured a double membrane case that was "perfectly waterproof".  This watch was for real divers, not posers.  Collectors have been going crazy for them and consider it to be in the same vein as the far more expensive JLC Polaris.

We found one today from 1961 that is in all original condition.  It is selling for a very fair $4450 and we can promise you it won't last.  This is something of a grail watch in diving circles (as it should be).  Keep in mind, this watch, in 1961, was rated to 300 meters. 

On top of all the record-breaking and creative design, this watch is really great looking.  Even if you're not a diver, you have to respect its masculine complications.  If you are looking for a rare vintage watch, especially a diver, you can't find something cooler than the Vulcain Nautical Cricket.  No one has this watch.

Click here for the details on this very cool, all original, 1961 Vulcain Nautical Cricket, the watch worn on a record-setting dive.

PS - How cool is it that Vulcain suggests using the alarm as a way to communicate under water?