Vulcain, the company that makes watches for American presidents, has re-released its classic Nautical model. First released as a faithful recreation of the 1960s diver and then re-issued around two years ago in almost the same shape (but with a different movement), this new Vulcain Nautical DLC (Ref. 100152.024LDLC) version of the watch gets more modern look with its mid-sized stainless steel body treated with scratch-resistant DLC coating. Still, it loses something in the process.
As its predecessor, the watch is powered by a very high-tech looking Cricket Caliber V-10 hand-wound movement that sports a built-in mechanical alarm module. In 1960s, when the watch was issued as a response to Jaeger-LeCoultre’s gorgeous Deep Sea diver, the complication was quite useful since it greatly decreased risks of running out of oxygen by going off at a precisely selected moment and buzzing on your wrist for as long as 20 seconds.
The secret to it was, of course, the case. Designed by a certain Ervin Piquerez in 1950s (his company Ervin Piquerez SA designed a number of highly water-resistant cases for such watchmakers as JLC), the case was constructed in such a way as to make the alarm hearable deep under water while still allowing for the watch to be water resistant (this particular model, for example, is rated for whole 300 meters: not a small task for a timekeeper of such functionality).
As the original that was released more than 50 years ago, the watch features the same extra crown located at 4 hours and features a rather peculiar looking drawing on its dial. These are so called “decompression tables” and I am not going to waste your and my time trying to explain how they work.
The first of all, they are here for the purpose of creating a homage to or a faithful recreation of a model that was released back in 1960s when there were no compact diving computers to warn a diver of his or her empty oxygen tank or to give information on how slow the ascent must executed after a dive to a certain depth. If you are still curious, however, you can consult the manual that comes with every watch (although Vulcain still warns you honestly that the tables are as accurate as they could be made 50-60 years ago and you should use more modern data for such calculations).
Frankly, I don’t think that the decision to re-introduce the legendary watch in a DLC-treated body was extremely rational: with all these glossy surfaces the Vulcain Nautical DLC (Ref. 100152.024LDLC) looks as close to the original as Bugatti Veyron to the futuristic Bugatti Aerolithe. Still, the watch is great and they will probably have no trouble selling the device given its total run of just 100 pieces.
WWR preliminary verdict
Build quality: 5/5
Value for money: 4/5
Vulcain Nautical DLC (Ref. 100152.024LDLC) specification
Price: $6350 (MSRP)
Movement: Hand-wound, Cricket Calibre V-10, Swiss Made
Number of jewels: 17
Movement frequency: 18,000 vph
Power reserve: 42 hours
Movement decoration: Satin-finished bridges, polished and blued screw heads
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, alarm, decompression tables
Case material: Stainless steel, black DLC
Bezel material: Matches case
Crown material: Matches case
Case size: 42.00 mm
Hour markers: Luminous
Water resistance: 300 meters
Strap: Black textile-style rubberized strap with blue stitching and a DLC-coated steel pin buckle
Back: Triple caseback