The name Vulcain is synonymous with alarm watches. In the 1960s and 1970s, the brand was mostly known for this specific complication. In recent years, Vulcain has made a comeback and expanded its collection to divers, chronographs, and now time-only models. The Grand Prix line is the simplest of them all.

I spent a few weeks with the Vulcain Grand Prix 39mm Champagne, the cheapest, plainest model in Vulcain’s current lineup. It offers the elegance and usability that a three-hander can give you and does not fail to deliver. Surprisingly, I grew attached to the watch and did not want to take it off after the test period ended.

Grand Prix


A few years ago, when the brand was making a comeback, the focus was on alarm watches — what else? The Cricket Classique line was among the first to hit the market. But Vulcain offers so much more than just alarm watches. In the last two years, we’ve spent some time with the Skindiver Nautique, a beautiful and functional diver, as well as its big brother, the Vulcain Nautical. The latter combines the functionality of an alarm and a diver’s case, creating a unique reinterpretation of a model from a bygone era. Aside from these, the rejuvenated Vulcain has also released two lines of chronographs, the Chronograph 1970’s and the Monopusher. Finally, we arrive at the topic of today’s article, the Grand Prix. Containing the same vintage energy as the models above, the GP offers tremendous value for money with its clean lines and timeless elegance.

Grand Prix

Like the other models, the Grand Prix also draws inspiration from vintage Vulcain watches. However, aside from the name and the basic idea, there’s nothing similar between those and this new model. The inspiration for the design and execution may have come from older watches, but they are new. Perhaps the only similar design element is the model’s name under the brand name at 12 o’clock. Vulcain offers the Grand Prix in three dial versions. Aside from silver and black, one can choose champagne as the dial color. This is what I opted for. While I love the simplicity of the silver and black dials, I feel that the champagne version offers its wearer a bit more. This is a color we do not see often, especially not in this case size.

Grand Prix

Contemporary classic

One of the trends I have seen in the watch industry in recent years is timepieces shrinking. Gone are the days when 46mm monstrosities ruled the market. Nowadays, you can barely find a watch larger than 42mm, and I am all for this. In the official press material, Vulcain lists the size of the Grand Prix as 39mm, but after measuring it with my calipers, I can report to you that it is more like 38mm. Yes, it is still more prominent than the 33–35mm vintage Grand Prix models used to be, but I’m happy with the size. It’s neither too large nor too small, the sweet spot for most watch wearers. The 45.4mm length from lug tip to lug tip is also good, and I think the 12.7mm thickness is okay, especially if we remember that the new Grand Prix is a simple automatic watch with no numerals, date aperture, or anything else.

Grand Prix

We just find a clean layout with long, raised indexes on a semi-gloss dial in a champagne hue. A double-domed sapphire crystal with an antireflective coating covers the watch face. As there are no other features, the slim steel hands only show you the hours and minutes with center seconds. The 316L steel case is polished, even on the sides of the short lugs, while the case back is solid stainless steel and polished with some brushed elements. While the crown does not screw down, the case back is a screw-in type, helping to offer water resistance to 5 ATM (50 meters), which is more than enough. You probably won’t take the Vulcain Grand Prix swimming with you, especially not on the 20mm leather strap, which is available in several different colors and styles.

Grand Prix

Beating heart

Inside the new Vulcain Grand Prix beats Landeron’s L24 automatic mechanical movement. The 25-jewel L24 is an ETA 2824-based caliber, usually with a date complication. That was removed for this model. It offers a power reserve of about 40 hours, a 28,800vph (4Hz) frequency, and hacking seconds, allowing the wearer to set the time precisely. While the Landeron 24 is not a particularly sophisticated movement, it does not need to be. Instead, it is expected to be a reliable and easily serviceable caliber, and it is precisely that. Furthermore, thanks to its great price, Vulcain can offer the Grand Prix very competitively.

Closing arguments

Starting at CHF 1,190 on the pictured brown strap, the new Vulcain Grand Prix is certainly within the price range of Swiss-made time-only watches. One could argue that it is even on the cheaper side of the spectrum. That, in my opinion, is a secondary topic. The most important question is this: is it enough to be a contender for a dress watch, an elegant timepiece that works just as well with suits and ties as with a polo shirt and jeans? Yes, I believe it is. The dial variants give you enough versatility and can be paired with a vast selection of leather straps. As always, the proof is in the pudding, so I’d suggest you check the watch out in the metal before buying it if possible. I’d be surprised if you didn’t like it after all.

To see all the Grand Prix dial variants and available strap combinations, visit the official Vulcain website.

Watch specifications

Grand Prix 39mm Champagne
Champagne with sunburst finish and applied polished indexes
Case Material
Stainless steel with polished finish
Case Dimensions
39mm (diameter) × 45.4mm (lug-to-lug) × 12.7mm (thickness)
Double-domed sapphire with antireflective coating
Case Back
Stainless steel, screw-in
Landeron 24: automatic with manual winding, 28,000vph frequency, ~40-hour power reserve, 25 jewels, hacking seconds
Water Resistance
5 ATM (50 meters)
As pictured: plain brown leather (20/16mm) with pin buckle — choice of brown, black or gray leather, black rubber, brown or black alligator-pattern calf skin, and brown or black genuine alligator
Time only (hours, minutes, seconds)
CHF 1,190–1,470