Vulcain Nautical

Par Florian Matrion, le 9 juin 2011
Nautical
Nautical
Diaporama
Famous for its Cricket movement that was an integral part of American presidents' watches since the 50's, Vulcain also made a name for itself by creating the first diving watch equipped with an alarm.
Exclusive! review of the Nautical. Manufacturer data, photos, editor's opinion and watch retail price on thewatchobserver.co.uk
L'avis de la rédaction
69/100
Note des internautes
73/100

Slideshow = 14 photos to see this watch from all its angles
+ a video to watch and listen to the alarm

 

Foreword

As the archetype of the sports watch world, the diving watch became unavoidable in the second half of the 20th century, thanks in part to the success of the Rolex Submariner, and others such as Blancpain Fifty Fathoms.

It's in this historical context that Vulcain decided to release its own diving watch, with a special twist: an alarm!

This was indeed a very practical and useful complication as it alerted the diver with an alarm when the oxygen reserves are running out.

The technical challenge for this feat was enormous: come up with a watch that was both water-resistant and at the same time fitted with an audible underwater alarm.
With the help of three experts including professional diver Hannes Keller, the challenge was met, and the project was completed in 1961 with the release of the Vulcain Nautical.

 

This Nautical could be Vulcain's equivalent of Omega's Speedmaster: an inescapable timeless piece! 

Set in a 42mm case (a more-than-respectable size for those times!), the Cricket 120 caliber was able to make itself heard, under water as well as in the open air...

To complete this picture of the perfectly-conceived diving watch, Vulcain fitted the Nautical with a clever decompression stages indicator table in the form of a disc rotating in the back of the dial.

 

A reissue faithful to the original

In 2002, before the current wave or reissues, Vulcain re-released the Nautical, identical in every aspect to the original 1961 model.

 

 

Indeed, why change anything, when the original model already had very modern dimensions, a level of water-resistance very much in line with today's watches in terms of efficiency, and a simple, well-balanced figure without any wrinkles on it?

The caliber, renamed V-10, is also practically identical to the original, and like his older brother, beats are a rate of 18,000 vibrations per hour.
It's equipped with two barrels on either side of the winding stem crown.
This way, when you wind the watch clockwise, you wind the barrel for the alarm.
Winding it the other way winds the barrel for the time display.

Regarding the alarm, the term “Cricket” was picked for a good reason!
The sound emitted by the hammer hitting the inside of the case is more reminiscent of  the sound of a buzzer than the melodic tone of a Westminster bell!
The effectiveness is guaranteed: even the deepest sleeper won't be able to ignore this alarm's tone! (watch and listen the video below).

One small regret, however: when the alarm barrel is not wound, the hammer hits the case at awkward moments with every movement. It sounds like there is a loose part of the movement moving around inside the case...a little unsettling the first few times you hear it!

 

We can't fault Vulcain for having sacrificed the glass cover on the alter of modernity: the hesalite glass was not replaced with a sapphire, to the likely great joy of the fans of vintage and that unique transparency that come from hesalite.

A comfortable watch

On the comfort side of things, despite having a substantial thickness, the flared design of the case's build gives a rather fluid visual impression, reinforced by a magnificent plexiglas dome!
In this case, we can't fault Vulcain for having sacrificed the glass cover on the alter of modernity: the hesalite glass was not replaced with a sapphire, to the likely great joy of the fans of vintage and that unique transparency that come from hesalite.

The rubber strap is itself perfectly integrated with the middle case of the watch, even if it might not fit perfectly on smaller wrists. However, it is quite comfortable, and the folding clasp - the only disappointing departure from the historical standard - is both simple and practical.

 

Lastly, the legibility is good without, however, being optimal - but it is more than sufficient for frequent use.

 

Conclusion

Vulcain offers us quite a charming piece with this faithful reissue of the Nautical.
First, because wearing a new 1961 watch provides a very special and unique sensation.
And second, because this model has undeniably aged very well relative to its technical characteristics and its figure.
This watch could be Vulcain's equivalent of Omega's Speedmaster: an inescapable timeless piece!

 

Pros:

  • a useful and efficient complication
  • a figure both vintage and contemporary
  • a great value for the money

 

Cons:

  • a rather thick watch
  • less-than perfect readability
  • the sound of the hammer hitting the back of the watch when the barrel is not wound

 

Additional Information:

  • reviewer's wrist size = 17.5cm

 

To watch the video of this Vulcain Nautical (or go HERE if you cannot watch the video): 

 

Diaporama
14 Photos pour voir cette montre sous toutes les coutures
Cliquez sur une Photo pour ouvrir le diaporama.
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Données constructeur

Marque
Modèle
Référence constructeur
Boîtier (matière)
Diamètre boîtier (hors couronne)
Diamètre boîtier (avec couronne)
Mouvement
Calibre
Base calibre
Fonctions
Verre
Capacité de la réserve de marche
Fond transparent
Entre-cornes
Longueur corne à corne
Hauteur boîtier
Etanchéité
Bracelet (matière)
Boucle (type)
Boucle (matière)
Poids total

L'avis de la rédaction 69/100

Confort / Agrément (/15)
détail Mouvement (/20)
Optimisation / Décoration du mouvement (/5) 0
Agrément de manipulation et de réglage (/5) 0
Contrôle du mouvement par la Manufacture / distinctions diverses (/3) 0
Capacité de la réserve de marche (/2) 0
Complications (/5) 0
détail Finitions (/20)
Finitions cadran (/6) 0
Finitions boîtier (/6) 0
Qualité du travail de déco° / gravure du fond de boîte (/2) 0
Qualité du verre (/4) 0
Finitions de la boucle (interne et externe) (/2) 0
détail Fonctionnalité (/20)
Lisibilité diurne (/5) 0
Lisibilité nocturne (/4) 0
Etanchéité (/3) 0
Facilité de réglage et de changement du bracelet (/4) 0
Sécurité / solidité de la boucle (/4) 0
détail Bonus (/10)
Série limitée (/3) 0
Montre fournie avec plusieurs bracelets (/2) 0
Qualité de la boîte et de la sur-boîte (/1) 0
Portabilité avec manches de chemise fermées (/2) 0
Présence de "goodies" (/1) 0
Intelligibilité du booklet (/1) 0
Rapport qualité / prix (/15)
Pour quelles occasions ? Quand la porter ?

Note des internautes 73/100

Confort / Agrément (/15)
Mouvement (/20)
Finitions (/20)
Fonctionnalité (/20)
Bonus (/10)
Rapport qualité / prix (/15)
Noter cette montre