|Manufacture Vulcain reintroduces an iconic skin diver model from the 1960s: the NAUTIQUE 38mm.
Perhaps you set your alarm for what Vulcain was hammering out on the vintage front? Well, it’s time!
More than just the specialist in mechanical alarm watches, Vulcain has always been renowned for mechanical watchmaking prowess. Period. And they’re back on the scene, front and center. Judging by the reboot, it’s as if they had never left it. The legendary name in Swiss watchmaking with a rich heritage and history is back again in full force, reenergized and raring to go.
VULCAIN, date of birth: 1858.
Place of birth: Le Locle, at the heart of the cradle of Swiss watchmaking.
Back to the future…
Building on its rich heritage, Vulcain looks to the future with Guillaume Laidet helming its product strategy. With a touch of audacity and a twinkle in his eyes, this vintage watch enthusiast, new-generation entrepreneur and digital business genius strikes again: practically an old hand at this kind of challenge, which he relishes, Guillaume brings his genius into writing a new chapter in the story of the famed Manufacture based in the Swiss Jura Mountains. Already, Vulcain is registering loud and clear on the watchmaking radar with substantive watches sporting a retro look, packed with a rich heritage, at ultra-competitive prices.
If the comeback of the legendary Cricket alarm watch in October 2022 caused the community to perk up, Vulcain’s next revelation draws the spotlight on another competence of the brand, this one in the underwater realm: the reissue of the Vulcain Nautique 38mm, a diving watch legend from the 60s, keeps the bar high and captures the imagination with impeccable aquatic credentials.
VULCAIN RETURNS: The new SKINDIVER NAUTIQUE
|Vulcain Nautique – Right there at the beginning of diving watch history
Think “Vulcain” and the first thing that comes to mind is “Cricket”. That would be selling the brand short; Vulcain is a treasure trove of watchmaking sleeping beauties that resonate with a nostalgic vibe. The Diver Nautique is all set to make a splash in the vintage-like market. Inspired by a Vulcain model launched in 1960, it is powered by ETA’s 2824 three-hand Swiss automatic caliber with a 38-hour power reserve, the workhorse among the famed movement maker’s range of mechanical calibers.
Its resolutely vintage presence make this 1,490 CHF diver’s watch more than a compelling proposition in the landscape of reissued diving watches of yesteryear. The Diver Nautique has all the attributes of an underwater tool watch, as evidenced by the ultra-legible Super-Luminova-enhanced hands and indexes, which come in khaki brown for an elegant contrast by day and enhanced legibility in low-light conditions, and the unidirectional fluted bezel with black ceramic insert and contrasting white markers. Rated to a depth of 200 meters, the watch is ideally proportioned with a 38mm stainless-steel case.
Vulcain’s Diver Nautique sports diver is offered in two versions:
The Diver Nautique 38mm comes with a matte black dial with white transfer-printed minute track and signature, khaki brown Super-Luminova-enhanced hands and hour markers; the ‘quick-change’ strap is leather with a black carbon pattern and matching stitching.
The Diver Nautique 38mm with a vertical brushed blue dial; transfer-printed minute track and signature in white; khaki brown Super-Luminova-enhanced hands and hour markers; the leather strap with a black carbon pattern and matching stitching conveniently features a ‘quick-change’ system.
1858… Lighting the flame of a watchmaking legend
From the outset, the flame of Vulcain shone bright in the Swiss Jura mountains, already then the cradle of Swiss precision watchmaking. It is the story of two talented watchmakers, the Ditisheim brothers, who soon forged for themselves a peerless reputation for precision engineering and excellence in the manufacture of complicated watches, minute repeaters, large and small chimes and perpetual calendars – watchmaking masterpieces that quickly garnered awards at numerous international exhibitions.
In Roman mythology, Vulcan (Hephaestus in Greek mythology) is the god of fire and volcanoes, the one who forged the swords of the gods, the deity venerated by blacksmiths in antiquity. What better name for the forge of excellence founded by the Ditisheim brothers? And the bellows are again breathing fresh oxygen into the hearth: It is on the burning embers of a rich past that Tomorrow is forged!
1947… Setting the world on Cricket Time!
In 1947, Vulcain brought its longstanding tradition of excellence in watchmaking complications to bear on creating the perfect tool watch for the bustling business age – the first truly effective alarm watch.
The now famous Cricket movement introduced a mechanical alarm mechanism producing a vibration that was powerful enough, and could be sustained long enough, to wake its owner from the deepest sleep; an achievement all the more remarkable because it fit in a normal-sized wristwatch. A world first. At the very latest, it was when a presidential press conference was interrupted by the sound of a very determined cricket that seemed to emanate from President Harry S. Truman’s wrist, that the Vulcain Cricket became a must-have for the movers and shakers of the world. Subsequently worn by his successors, it was soon nicknamed “The Presidents’ Watch” – Lyndon Johnson was particularly fond of his. To this day, each US president is presented with a Vulcain Cricket – and judging by the warm letters of thanks, they remain a useful and much appreciated accessory.
1960… Dive! Dive! Dive!
By then skin-diving had developed into a global pastime, with a growing community of skin divers (i.e., divers who stayed underwater only as along they could hold their breath) and Scuba divers (who were equipped with a Self-Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus) exploring the worlds beneath the waves. Though in Switzerland the concept of “open water” was historically associated with lake diving, designing a watch that could withstand the saltwater marine environment, with the unprecedented challenges it posed – absolute water resistance, uncompromising precision and reliability, not to mention legibility in low-light conditions – was a task that intuitively was incumbent on Swiss watchmakers. Vulcain, for one, ticked all of the above boxes and did the concept one better: just because it was a tool watch, Vulcain reasoned, wasn’t reason enough to forego aesthetics for functionality.
The result was the Vulcain Nautique, the perfect companion for both environments, wet and dry, functional where it mattered, elegant where it counted – and not too bulky (just 12.2 mm thick!) thanks to ingenious engineering. Produced between 1960 and 1969, Vulcain’s Nautique had a 37mm steel case and a beautiful fluted rotating bezel, just to name a few attributes of a tool watch that would inspire others to come and itself become a precursor of what is now known as sport chic.
Black version – VUL-DI-001
Blue version – VUL-DI-002
Case: 316L vertical-brushed stainless steel
Bezel: Unidirectional rotating bezel with black ceramic insert
Case back: 316L polished stainless steel
Matte black with white transfer print and khaki brown Super-Luminova-enhanced hands and indexes (VUL-DI-001)
Vertical-brushed blue with white transfer print and khaki brown Super-Luminova-enhanced hands and indexes (VUL-DI-002)
Crystal: Domed sapphire crystal
Water resistance: 20 ATM
Strap: Black leather strap with carbon pattern and matching stitching
Buckle: 316L stainless steel
Movement: ETA 2824 – automatic, self-winding mechanical
Functions: Analog display of hours, minutes and seconds
Frequency: 28,800 vibrations per hour (4 Hz)
Power reserve: 38 hours
Retail price: 1,490 CHF
Texts & Images by Vulcain