Hands-On with the Very Reasonable Vulcain Skindiver Nautique

Vulcain made a triumphant return in 2022 with the launch of a new series of iconic Cricket alarm watches in varying sizes and colors. By using the seemingly foolproof recipe of recreating a vintage timepiece with little to no reinterpretation, and relying on the historical value of the name itself, the brand was able to shake off several years of being dormant. The result was a quick sell-through and a return to relevance. The question, of course, was how they would follow up and take advantage of their newfound spotlight.

The answer is the Vulcain Skindiver Nautique, which might initially seem like a surprising follow-up. Why? Well, rather than sticking with their in-house calibers or most recognizable models, they went for a somewhat generic mid-century diver. Whether or not this was a good idea will be left to consumers, but it was smart of them to demonstrate that they are going to delve deep and wide into their archives for inspiration, as well as create products at different price points.

Available in black or blue with a few strap options, the Vulcain Skindiver Nautique is priced at around $1,600 (to be clear, it’s 1490 CHF, the USD is based on the exchange rate).


Hands-On with the Very Reasonable Vulcain Skindiver Nautique

Stainless Steel
ETA 2824-2
Gloss Black
Domed Sapphire
Carbon Pattern Leather
Water Resistance
20 ATM
38 x 44.2mm
Lug Width
screw down

Notable Specs and Features

The Skindiver Nautique is a pretty straightforward mid-century diver. It measures 38mm x 44.2mm x 12.3mm, including a domed sapphire crystal, so it reads thinner. The bezel is 120-click and uni-directional, as one would expect. Though not uncommon these days, the use of a ceramic insert is a nice, modern upgrade to go along with the sapphire. Powering the Skindiver Nautique is the ETA 2824-2. A standard, but trustworthy movement, the version featured in the watch is date-free without a date stop.


It’s funny. These days sub 40mm mid-century dive watches are so common they are almost generic. Quite the change from just a handful of years ago, when they felt few and far between. Now, it feels like nearly every brand, from those just starting out to ones risen from the grave to big luxury brands, has at least one small-sized mid-century dive watch in their catalog, ready to order. So, what makes the Nautique special, if anything? I’m not sure, but I’ve really enjoyed wearing it, so that says something.

The Nautique works because it’s just so well-tuned. It looks like a million other things at this point, but can also point to a nearly identical historical reference, earning it a “pass”, and yet where others have left me cold, or perhaps bored, the Nautique has succeeded. There’s nothing surprising about it, it just does what it does very well. It wears well, it’s nicely proportioned, the finishing is top-notch, and it, well, looks like a mid-century diver. Oddly, there is something confident and appealing about that.

It’s just a well-made watch that you either like the looks of or don’t. If you do, I don’t think you’ll find much to complain about. My only gripe is with the strap. It’s tolerable but oddly long and I don’t quite like the carbon-esque weave pattern. A tropic-style rubber strap would have felt more logical, and a bracelet would have been welcome, but with 20mm lugs, there is a world of third-party options to make up for it.

My favorite aspect is really how well it wears. At 38mm x 44.2mm x 12.3mm, it sits perfectly on my 7” wrist. Once again, not unique, but great. It’s big enough to look and feel like a sporty watch, yet small enough to be comfortable. The thickness, and how it’s managed, is a bit of a standout here. Sans crystal, I think it’s about 11mm from the top of the bezel to the center of the case-back. So, average. But it feels like 9mm or so thanks to a thin mid-case, a bulging back that sits in the wrist, and a bezel that nests into the mid-case just a little bit. It’s a watch I’ve put on many times over the course of my trial period, and simply forgot it was there in the best way possible.


The Vulcain Skindiver Nautique is what it is, and it’s happy to be that way. It’s a mid-century diver that’s nearly a 1:1 copy of a watch from Vulcain’s archives, updated in logical ways for the modern collector, and finished very nicely. The original was good looking, but not iconic, and the modern is – well – exactly the same. It excels at just being a solid watch that is enjoyable to wear. Nothing feels out of place, no dimension egregious, no feature unnecessary. It’s the perfect mid-century diver for someone who wants a known brand name (with a great logo), yet wants to avoid hype.

At $1,600, it’s also kind of average. It’s not cheap, it’s not overpriced. It’s very reasonable. In fact, The Vulcain Skindiver Nautique, a very reasonable watch, would be a great slogan. Vulcain

Images from this post:
Related Reviews
Zach is the Co-Founder and Executive Editor of Worn & Wound. Before diving headfirst into the world of watches, he spent his days as a product and graphic designer. Zach views watches as the perfect synergy of 2D and 3D design: the place where form, function, fashion and mechanical wonderment come together.
wornandwound zsw