The company began to manufacture wristwatches in the 1920s and 1930s. The 1940s were marked by innovation, receiving numerous patents for their watch movement designs. However, it was the Vulcain Cricket mechanical alarm wrist watch introduced in 1947 that marked a turning point in the company's history. Vulcain's accuracy was recognized when it won the international Chronometry Competition in 1948 at the Neufchatel Observatory.
When U.S. President Harry Truman, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Richard Nixon and Lyndon Johnson sported their Vulcain Cricket watch, it literally put the small watch company on the map. The popularity of Vulcain grew dramatically as a result of these U.S. presidents wearing their Crickets. However, storm clouds were forming on the Swiss watch making horizon. Like virtually every other watch company, the advent of quartz technology impacted Vulcain as well.
The small company remained fiercely mechanical and refused to adopt quartz technology. Vulcain chose to be a mechanical movement holdout in the 1970s and 1980s, but the availability of more affordable quartz watches, coupled with their inherent accuracy, doomed the small company. After operating for more than 100 years, Vulcain ceased operation and closed its doors.
In 2001, Bernard Fleury, the director of Production et Marketing Horloger SA, saw a market niche for the return of the mechanical alarm watch and purchased the brand and rights to the name. It also sought out watchmakers who had worked for Vulcain. However, this time new technology would be employed in the form of 3D computer modeling software that is now commonplace in the design of new Swiss watches. With amazing speed, a new line of Cricket watches was introduced in 2002 and the Vulcain brand relaunched with much fanfare at the Basel show that year. Even established watch company directors paid the Vulcain booth a visit to speak with its director and Vulcain's watchmakers.
Today, the company is located in Le Locle near the western Swiss border. It continues to build on its unique mechanical alarm design, and demand for their fine watches continues to grow.