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By Zahra Al-Kateb | July 24 2014
Vulcain has always been associated with sporting achievements.Alongside supporting Real Madrid in the 30s, or sounding the underwater depths of Hannes Keller in 1961, the Manufacture has also distinguished itself when it comes to conquering mountains.
This summer, the brand pays tribute to the 60th anniversary of the ascent of K2 made by 14 climbers from the Italian Mountain Club in 1954.
Three mountain expeditions deserve a mention: the first in the Andes, in the heart of the Cordillera Vilcamba in the centre of Peru. On August 5th 1952, a French-Belgian expedition directed by Bernard Pierre and two American teams conquered the north face of the Salcantay, one of the Andes’ untamed peaks, which reaches to a height of 6,264 metres. The assault took more than three weeks, and was punctuated by snowstorms. Shortly after this achievement, Vulcain received several testimonies from
this roped party highlighting the intrinsic qualities of their Cricket Vulcain watches. These were effectively part of the entire ascent, reaching a height of more than 6000 metres. Despite substantial differences in daytime and night-time temperatures and despite the snow and the damp, the climbers confirmed that they never experienced the slightest failure of any kind.
The second noteworthy expedition took place 60 years ago. In order to celebrate the 90th anniversary of the Italian Mountain Club, a team of 14 transalpine climbers swore that they would conquer K2 for the first time – that legendary Himalayan summit in the Karakorum range located in India, China and Pakistan. Led by Ardito Desio, a professor of geology, 700 porters carried more than 13 tons of material to the base camp located at an altitude of more than 5,000 metres, at the foot of this magnificent pyramid of rock and ice. On July 31st 1954, the roped party with Lino Lacedelli and Achille Compagnoni reached 8,612 metres accompanied by their Crickets. Note that one of the most famous Italian climbers, Walter Bonatti, was part of the expedition at the age of just 24 years old. Vulcain is therefore proud to pay tribute to them once again by promoting this exceptional achievement.
A few years later, in 1958, still fascinated by the Himalayas, a team that once again consisted of Bonatti and other members of the first expedition set off to conquer Gasherbrum IV (7,980 m), a Karakorum peak reputed to be inaccessible. This time, Vulcain equipped the climbers with Crickets. The watches from this small Swiss Manufacture achieved considerable success with these extreme climbers. Publications at the time proudly announced that these timepieces served “their owners faithfully by providing the exact time and by chiming at the right moment”.
In 2011, Vulcain paid tribute to this achievement by introducing its 50s Presidents Heritage model.