Well, all I can say is that it's good to have friends! A few calls were made, and Michel Ditisheim invited me to come over and talk about the Cricket, the Presidents, his friendship with the Paajanen family, and even a bit about life.
is perhaps the last, best link to the original Vulcain, the "middle" Vulcain and today's Vulcain. His father was the inventor of the original Cricket. Michel worked with the Paajanen family to help present Vulcain Cricket watches to former US Presidents in the 1990s and 2000s, and he was instrumental in shepherding Vulcain through the rocky quartz crisis and ultimately to its reemergence with new owners in Le Locle earlier this century. His father, Robert Ditisheim, was not unlike the guy who said "What if we slice the bread, before we sell it?" In other words, when he created the Vulcain Cricket, he brought to reality something many people wanted - they just didn't know it yet!
So what is agreed upon by everyone? The very first Vulcain Cricket to be presented to a sitting US President was given to Harry Truman by the White House Press Corps. It was not a gift from Vulcain. When I asked Mr. Ditisheim why they chose the Vulcain Cricket, his answer was elegantly succinct - "It was a sensation!"
It is important to understand that at the time it was introduced, the Cricket represented something that had not been seen before. A wrist watch with an alarm. What was often referred to as a "secretary on the wrist". It's interesting that many of us think of alarm watches as useful for waking us up. But for you younger readers out there, back when dinosaurs roamed the earth, and we typed out our correspondence with an Olivetti Lettera 22 -
We did not receive Google Reminders on our cell phones. Owners of alarm watches would use them frequently during the day to set the alarm for meeting reminders, etc.
Yes, the Vulcain Cricket was indeed a sensation. So it made sense that the press corps would present such a watch to President Truman. But then the history gets murkier.
So stay tuned, we're going to shed some much needed light!