1950s Vulcain Cricket – £850 at Sutton Hill Country Auctions.

Enjoy unlimited access: just £1 for 12 weeks

Subscribe now

Two challenges had to be overcome: fitting the complication into a 34mm stainless steel case (it requires two barrels – one to store the energy for the movement and the other for the alarm) and finding a way to make the sound audible (an extra case back with perforations creates the room for sound to resonate).

The Cricket name was chosen because the alarm was reminiscent of a singing insect. Fully wound, the alarm could chirp for around 30 seconds. Famously, it was a favourite with a number of US presidents including Nixon, Eisenhower and Truman.

Many dealers and collectors would have loved to own a 1950s example offered on June 12 by Sutton Hill Country Auctions (17.5% buyer’s premium) of Broughton Astley, Leicester, at something close to the £30-40 estimate. Bidding reached £850.

Take to the air


Longines Air Ministry Military issue – £1600 at Tennants.

A rare Air Ministry Military issue pilot’s wristwatch by Longines, c.1939, sold on for £1600 at Tennants (20% buyer’s premium) in Leyburn on June 27. These watches include the Second Setting system invented by Philip Van Horn Weems (1889-1979).

By adding a rotating 60-seconds bezel which could be locked in place, Weems created a simple way of allowing troops to align their watches’ seconds hands with each other and thus co-ordinate separate military actions to the second.