Vulcain is probably the most known producer of alarm movements. It was the first watch company which developed a true wrist watch alarm movement, for which the patent were announced in 1943 and the production started in 1949. Vulcain alarm watch Cricket was worn by president Eisenhower, that's why this watch is also know by the name Presidental's watch.
Vulcain was from 1961 shareholder of MSR group (together with Revue). At the late seventies group decided to use brand Revue Thommen for all watches except alarm Cricket watches. Those watches remained with brand Vulcain. But from 1986 brand Revue Thomen was used also for cricket watches. In 1999 Vulcain brand was sold to Vulcain S.A. but this company closed it's bussines just a year latter. Brand Vulcain was bought by PMH which continues with the Vulcain alarm watches and with the development of new alarm movements since then.
Original Vulcain 120 family:
In the history of Vulcain several different alarm movements were developed. First movement was called R, but based on Vulcain clasification soon reclasified to 120. Movement has two spring barrels and one winding crown. At the beginning of sixties shock resistance was added, renovated movement got the name S2 or based on the MSR nomenclature MSR S23. Another important change happened in 1994 under the Revue Thommen, when movement was simplified and exactomatic was removed. That movement was called RT80. New Vulcan used S2 as the base of their new movement, the first was called V10. In this version also GMT and dual time watches exist. To this movement date complication was added (V11). Next phase was total renovation of V11, new movement V16 got 34 new parts, it was also bigger than V11. At 150 annyversary of Vulcain V18 was issued (just refreshed V10). Based on V16 an automatic V21 was released. the latest high grade movement is V30, which is the only alarm movement in the world with tourbillon.
For the watch operations different combinations of crown and upper pusher are needed.
Winding time: Central crown in position 0 is turned backwards.
Winding alarm: Central crown in position 1 is turned forward.
Setting time: manual pull of the central crown to position 1, then turning crown backwards sets the time hands. Time can be set only in one direction!
Setting alarm: By pushing the button 2x, central crown jumps to position 2. Turning crown forward sets the alarm hand (again only in one direction). After the alarm hand is set, crown should be pushed back to position 0.
Alarm is On if central crown is in position 0. Alarm is Off by pushing the button 1x (central crown jumps to position 1). In this position crown turns freely (position 1 is different if crown is pulled by hand or through pushing the button):
New Vulcain V10 family:
Identical to original Vulcain 120. Movements with date have a quick set date pusher hidden in the case at 10.00.
Vulcain 401 and 402:
Even though movement 120 was very sucessful, a need for a cheaper movement was raised. Also date complication was required. Vulcain 401 was the answer to those demands. Basic idea remained the same as in 120, but in 401 only one spring barrel is present and therefore alarm time was reduced to max. 10 seconds. Positions of the crown and button were changed. Central second was replaced with small second. And as an curiosity - even though movement had date complication, a lot of watches were produced using this movement but without date.
402 is modified version of 401. Technical differences are minor, there is one important change in turning off alarm function (see manual). After Vulcain joint MSR group 402 was reclasiffied to MSR S1. But the movement stays the same.
Winding time and alarm: Central crown in position 0, turning crown forward.
Setting time: Central crown in position1 and button in position 1: turning crown in both directions.
Setting alarm: Central crown in position 1 and button in position 0, turning crown in both directions.
Turn alarm On: turning central crown forward until button jumps to position 1. In 402 button can be pulled by hand.
Turm alarm Off: Pushing button to position 0.
Vulcain 406 (MSR K4):
Vulcain 406 is the smallest alarm movement ever built. It was made for lady's alarm watches. Basis for this movement is 120 and not 401. Due to the size alarm has a very small spring and therefore alarm rings just 7 seconds. After Vulcain joined MSR group, small modification was done and it was renamed to MSR K4.
Winding time: Central crown in position 0, turning crown forward;
Setting time: button in position 1, crown in position 1, both directions.
Winding alarm: Central crown in position 0, turning crown backwards.
Setting alarm: Button in position 0, crown in position 1, turning crown forward.
Alarm On/Off: button in position 1 - On; button in position 0 - Off.