New and utterly gorgeous, this is the Vulcain Nautical Seventies Limited Edition, a piece which offers a retrospective to a time when diver's watches were a little less rugged and a whole lot more stylish.
In the 1950's and 1960's a new watchmaking niche was opening up - the manufacture of diver's watches. Once a persuit of the naval military, diving was fast becoming a recreational pastime. Already accustomed to providing the professionals with timing devices to aid dive safety, the watch brands sought the advice of newly emerging experts in the race to design and patent new and ingenious technology to strap to civilian diver's wrists. Development of the diver's watch at this time was so rapid and so innovational, that broadly speaking the same technologies are still in use today.
A few names and models stand out - Blancpain enlisted the help of Captain Robert Maloubier and Lieutenant Claude Riffaud of the French Navy “Les Nageurs de Combat” to help in the development of their Fifty Fathoms and of course much publicity was gained when Jacques Cousteau and fellow divers wore the piece in the Palme d’Or winning movie, Le Monde du Silence in 1956. Doxa worked closely with Rolex in developing the Helium Release Valve (Rolex for use on their Submariner Sea Dweller), to protect the watch from the harmful effects of ascending from depth – similar to the diver’s great fear – the bends, the patent of which both manufactures agreed to share, and which is today an integral feature of any professional divers watch. Working with Claude Wesly of the Cousteau team, Doxa released their Sub300t in 1967 to great acclaim, it quite simply set a new standard for diver's watches. Hannes Keller, a multiple record-holding diver was one of the experts chosen by Vulcain to assist them in the design of their diver's watches. In 1961 the Vulcain Cricket Nautical became the first watch to be capable of withstanding depths of 300m, but is perhaps best remembered for its highly unusual audible alarm, which thanks to some well designed case acoustics could be heard distinctly underwater.
This Nautical Seventies model remains wholly faithful to the original Vulcain Nautical released in 1970. The Cricket v-10 calibre inside features twin barrels, one for timekeeping the other to power the alarm which will sound for up to 20 seconds. Triple caseback construction gives acoustic-boosting abilities, further aided by the use of hesalite glass in place of sapphire.
The broad satin brushed bezel spills over beautifully, bereft of the serrated-edge that a rotating bezel requires. The screw-locked crown at 4 o'clock operates the inner bezel ring which rotates while the centre dial remains fixed.
On the dial the broad blunt hands, the no-nonsense square hour markers and the colourful mosaic that forms the decompression grid are all authentic and functional features but they combine to superb effect, to make this one of the coolest dive watches you will see this year.
The Vulcain Nautical Seventies Limited Edition watch will be a 300 piece edition each presented on a black and orange water-repellent leather strap.
More from the official Vulcain website here.