Vulcain × seconde/seconde/ × Revolution Cricket Tradition ‘Vulcain Salute’

Vulcain × seconde/seconde/ × Revolution Cricket Tradition ‘Vulcain Salute’

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!” And if you haven’t heard of him because you’ve been dwelling in a cave strictly following the Liver King’s diet of raw bull testicles and trying to perfect the Brahmananda Saraswati’s technique for transcendental meditation, now is the time to snap out of it and pay attention. Because 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.

Case in point: Nivada Grenchen. After reading Chronomaster Only: The Super-Chronograph by Nivada and Croton, written by Grégoire Rossier and Anthony Marquié, he and Remi Chabrat of Montrichard Group acquired Nivada’s license from its owners based in Mexico. With that, he went about recreating its iconic models with a phenomenally on-point sensitivity to size, proportion and details. Step one for him was to recreate a brilliant Chronomaster chronograph. Step two was to slap it on its ass so it drew breath, and send it forth into the world where it rapidly received a cult following for both its fantastic style and the value proposition it represented at a retail price of below CHF 2,000.

Guillaume Laidet, the new generation watch entrepreneur credited with reviving Nivada Grenchen and now Vulcain
Guillaume Laidet, the new generation watch entrepreneur credited with reviving Nivada Grenchen and now Vulcain

Said 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 were wonderfully styled, that had all the vintage trigger points, but were also very high quality and relatively accessible. I think brands like Baltic and Nivada Grenchen perfectly fulfilled this need.”

Vulcain × seconde/seconde/ × Revolution Cricket Tradition “Vulcan Salute” 36mm with gold hand
Vulcain × seconde/seconde/ × Revolution Cricket Tradition “Vulcan Salute” 36mm with gold hand
Vulcain × seconde/seconde/ × Revolution Cricket Tradition “Vulcan Salute” 36mm with green hand
Vulcain × seconde/seconde/ × Revolution Cricket Tradition “Vulcan Salute” 36mm with green hand

Clearly I agreed, as I recently collaborated with Laidet on a blacked-out version of his 1,000-meter water resistant Nivada Depthmaster called the “No Barracuda,” as its inky complexion is optimized to not draw the attention of the savage carnivorous fish which are attracted to shiny objects.

Nivada × Revolution & The Rake Depthmaster “No Barracuda” (Image: Revolution)
Nivada × Revolution & The Rake Depthmaster “No Barracuda” (Image: Revolution)

Act Two, Vulcain Cricket

For his second act, Laidet became 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. Now, if you’re in your 50s like me, need reading glasses and are half deaf from blowing out your eardrums blasting AC/DC’s Live at River Plate on the treadmill as you attempt to beat back the ravages of time, then Vulcain will sound familiar to you.

Vulcain Cricket in the historically accurate case size of 36mm
Vulcain Cricket in the historically accurate case size of 36mm
The Cricket in a more universally appealing 39mm
The Cricket in a more universally appealing 39mm

The brand was revived in the 2000s by entrepreneur Bernard Fleury and, despite starting off strong, eventually became derailed when it started producing baffling crap like Vulcain Tourbillons. Fortunately, Laidet’s vision for the brand is markedly different and is laser-focused on reviving the maison’s core historic models as authentically and faithfully as possible. Case in point: The newly revived Cricket was launched in a historically accurate case size of 36mm, though Laidet has since added a more universally appealing 39mm version as well.

Vulcain × seconde/seconde/ × Revolution Cricket Tradition “Vulcan Salute” 39mm with blue hand
Vulcain × seconde/seconde/ × Revolution Cricket Tradition “Vulcan Salute” 39mm with blue hand
Vulcain × seconde/seconde/ × Revolution Cricket Tradition “Vulcan Salute” 39mm with red hand
Vulcain × seconde/seconde/ × Revolution Cricket Tradition “Vulcan Salute” 39mm with red hand

After meeting Laidet during Watches and Wonders early this year, I was immediately impressed by the watches he had created for Nivada Grenchen. I loved his scrappiness, his limitless enthusiasm and energy, and I admired his clear brilliance in product development. A great watch creator is able to reach into the collective unconscious and extract from it the watches the public want, often before they realize it, and he has this ability in spades. As we began to discuss a collaboration, he insisted on sending me a prototype to test out and give feedback on. That turned out to be his resurrected version of the Vulcain Cricket.

Vulcain Cricket Tradition in stainless steel with white printing and silver indexes on a semi-matte black dial
Vulcain Cricket Tradition in stainless steel with white printing and silver indexes on a semi-matte black dial
Caseback of Vulcain Cricket Tradition
Caseback of Vulcain Cricket Tradition

I was immediately blown away by the watch’s vintage styling, quality, proportions and size. 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, 36mm and 39mm. When he explained the use of the proprietary in-house 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.

Vulcain × seconde/seconde/ × Revolution Cricket Tradition “Vulcan Salute” 39mm with red hand
Vulcain × seconde/seconde/ × Revolution Cricket Tradition “Vulcan Salute” 39mm with red hand

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.

Romaric André, a.k.a. seconde/seconde/
Romaric André, a.k.a. seconde/seconde/

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. André’s idea has been to bring 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.

As an example, he explained his collaboration with George Bamford on their “Bad Form” watch, “I like to begin to make a play on the name of a watch or brand. When you say Bamford quickly, it begins to sound like ‘Bad Form.’ At the same time, I thought of transforming the watch’s seconds hand into a hand making the V sign with palm facing inward that means ‘Up Your Bum,’ because Winston Churchill used to make this sign thinking it was a victory symbol during the Second World War. I couldn’t think of anything more iconic and amusingly British than this.”

seconde/seconde/ edition Bamford London ‘Bad Form’ GMT
seconde/seconde/ edition Bamford London ‘Bad Form’ GMT

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.

Le Régulateur Louis Erard x seconde/seconde/ Loius "Error"
Le Régulateur Louis Erard x seconde/seconde/ Loius "Error"
Massena LAB x seconde/seconde/ Uni-Racer
Massena LAB x seconde/seconde/ Uni-Racer

Vulcain × seconde/seconde/ × Revolution Cricket Tradition “Vulcain Salute”

Vulcain × seconde/seconde/ × Revolution Cricket Tradition “Vulcain Salute”
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,’ which is the race of superior beings guided by pure logic that Mr. Spock from Star Trek is from.” Spock is actually 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.”

Vulcain × seconde/seconde/ × Revolution Cricket Tradition “Vulcain Salute”
Vulcain × seconde/seconde/ × Revolution Cricket Tradition “Vulcain 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, makes 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 Kohanim 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.

Leonard Nimoy: 'Live long and prosper'
Leonard Nimoy: 'Live long and prosper'

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.”

Vulcain × seconde/seconde/ × Revolution Cricket Tradition “Vulcan Salute” 39mm with red hand
Vulcain × seconde/seconde/ × Revolution Cricket Tradition “Vulcan Salute” 39mm with red hand

After a few days, André came back with another idea, which really put the collaboration over the top for me. He said, “Thinking about it, I would like to make the 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.

Laidet immediately added, “We should make the green and gold 36mm watches and the red and blue 39mm watches to give customers more choices, and just make 25 pieces of each to keep them genuinely rare. For further distinction, we should use gold-toned indexes 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.”

Vulcain × seconde/seconde/ × Revolution Cricket Tradition “Vulcan Salute” 36mm with gold hand
Vulcain × seconde/seconde/ × Revolution Cricket Tradition “Vulcan Salute” 36mm with gold hand

Finally, we decided to add an even greater measure of wrist-borne panache by providing a second strap for each watch in a tone matching the Vulcan salute. The result is one of the most delightful collaborative projects I’ve had the pleasure of participating in!

Tech Specifications

Vulcain × seconde/seconde/ × Revolution Cricket Tradition “Vulcain Salute”

Vulcain × seconde/seconde/ × Revolution Cricket Tradition “Vulcain Salute” 36mm Ref. 93267C-5

Movement: Manual winding caliber V-10; 42-hour power reserve
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds and alarm
Case: 36mm; polished stainless steel; water resistant to 50m
Dial: Semi-matte black with yellow or green “salute” seconds hand; polished gold indexes
Strap: Black calf leather with steel pin buckle; additional dark yellow or green leather strap
Price: CHF 3,800
Availability: Limited edition of 25 pieces in each colorway

Vulcain × seconde/seconde/ × Revolution Cricket Tradition “Vulcain Salute”

Vulcain × seconde/seconde/ × Revolution Cricket Tradition “Vulcain Salute” 39mm Ref. 93299C_8

Movement: Manual winding caliber V-10; 42-hour power reserve
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds and alarm
Case: 39mm; polished stainless steel; water resistant to 50m
Dial: Semi-matte black with blue or red “salute” seconds hand; polished silver indexes
Strap: Black calf leather with steel pin buckle; additional blue or red leather strap
Price: CHF 4,100
Availability: Limited edition of 25 pieces in each colorway

Vulcain x seconde/seconde/ x Revolution Cricket Tradition “Vulcain Salute” is available for purchase on RevolutionWatch.com on 26 January 2023, 10pm SGT/ 3pm CET/ 9am EST.

For enquiries, email shop@revolutionwatch.com

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