Tuesday, January 11, 2022

A Grand Day Out - Visiting Vulcain HQ in Le Locle Part 1

I had the opportunity to visit the Vulcain HQ not once, but twice this past autumn in September and then again in November.
Yes, I came to see the watches and to gather information, but before I could even walk through the door of the villa, I was already transported to a different time and place as my driver pulled up out front.

One quick point, this is not what would be referred to as the "ancestral" home of Vulcain, as that building is in La Chaux-de-Fonds, just down the street from ochs und junior and has been converted into a rather elegant apartment building -
This is as it looks now (including the author's hand).
And here is how it looked "back in the day" -

Courtesy of Vulcain
Needless to say, things have changed a bit. But a walk through the gardens around the current home office will take you right back to the early days -
The grounds are immaculate, and the surrounding neighborhood is quiet and serene. You would never know that Tissot and Mido are just around the corner and up the hill.
And the back garden was just the place to try on some of the latest Vulcain offerings -

This (above) is one of the latest offerings from Vulcain, and I must admit my personal favorite.

Some other interesting options -
And as you can see, photographed in "real" conditions.

And a ladies model that the person running things in the HQ, Carla Duarte, was kind enough to model -
We popped back into the candy store, I mean villa, and saw some more pieces -

But as the old saying goes, there can be only one, and this one (below) really speaks to me.
I have spent the last 24 years thinking about the Vulcain Cricket and its relationship to the Presidents, and the last 11 years writing about it. In researching the posts you have been reading, I have had an opportunity to read about and see (at least the images) of the various presidents and their Vulcain watches. For whatever reason, of the current collection this one seems the closest fit to the past. 

It goes without saying that we are all living in challenging times. And it is also fair to say that in hindsight (and sometimes even real time) the people we elect to office do not always live up to our expectations. But I am also convinced that just as the United States is what has been referred to by someone far more eloquent than me as a "grand experiment", the US and the Presidents have, are, and will continue to be the touchstone of some pretty remarkable accomplishments. And the Vulcain Cricket has been with them for many of these moments -  The Civil Rights Bill (Eisenhower) followed by the Civil Rights Act and  the Great Society (Johnson) to name just a few. 

If nothing else, the Vulcain Cricket reminds me that just because things could be better now, it doesn't mean that we should stop working and trying to make them so. But then again, I am a hopeless romantic.

Tune in next time for a look at how today's Vulcain Cricket is made, and a look at some of the lesser-known history of Vulcain

Until then - Tempus Fugit!

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