Last week, Vulcain introduced two new colors for the 50s Presidents Classic series. It’s the most basic variant with three hands and a date at 6 o’clock. Let’s do a quick review to discuss the highlights of this watch.
Vulcain introduced the Presidents’ series to create a classical and formal watch, but with these new colors they try to transform the watch in a more unique and less conservative looking watch.
The steel case (316L) is very elegant and stays true to the typical Presidents case. It keeps the water out up to 5 atmospheres. On the front Vulcain placed a domed sapphire glass. On the back they installed a screwed caseback with a sapphire window to provide a nice view on the machinery. Although the decoration (côtes de Genève on the rotor) and branding is a bit ordinary (brand name, filled with blue paint) it is a nice supplement.
The Presidents Classic is 42mm in diameter and with 8.60mm you could say it is pretty flat. With the short curved lugs it ensures optimal fitting for most wrists. The case is flanked by a classic modest sized crown with a triangular shaped sawtooth grip. As decoration Vulcain has chosen for a very classical engraving: the famous waffle pattern, which was a common way of decorating crowns in the 1950’s/60’s. A true classical touch.
By adding a satin sunburst colored dial, the watch really transformed into an eye-catcher. The sunburst motive differs in a very nice way when looking at the dial from different angles, creating a dynamic color palette. As said, it comes in two colors: berry toned blue (reference number 560156D35.BAC135) or umber toned brown (reference number 560156D85.BAC136).
The raised long rhodium indexes and Dauphine shaped hands create elegance and depth on the Presidents Classic. Like the casing, these elements are all mirror polished. The needle seconds hand sweeps smoothly and the non-indication end looks like the feather-end of an arrow which boosts the characteristics. On the outside of the indices you will find numerical minute indicators which are separated by a thick line to extend the indexes.
The patina colored strap is made out of calf leather and matches the dial very well. The dark to light gradient creates a unique look and is done by hand. It feels very soft and flexible on the wrist. The strap tapers down from 22 to 18mm. On the end of the strap we find a standard Vulcain branded stainless steel pin buckle.
The Presidents Classic is driven by the Calibre V-56, which stands for an outsourced automatic movement from the Swiss movement manufacture Soprod. The used movement (A10) has a power reserve of 42 hours, 27 jewels and beats at a smoothly 28.800 beats per minute. It has a quick date-set. The movement is the comparable with the ETA 2892.
The watch has a price tag of CHF3250 Swiss Francs. It is a fairly entry-level price compared to the rest of the Vulcain-family. Since these (new) sunburst colored watches are a real niche, I can’t directly name a comparable/cheaper alternative. If you’re willing to spend more money you definitely should take a look at the Glashütte Original Sixties Iconic models.
I like this watch and see it as a true eye-catcher to expand/complete your collection, not as a starter or daily beater. For me it would be a watch for special occasions and it would truly pop-out with a solid black/white/jeans outfit. Sitting somewhere between the casual and dress category it is quite versatile. Personally I think 40mm would be a better diameter for this “semi” dresswatch to commit even more to the ‘classic’ looks. The distinctive colors create a unique look for the Presidents Classic, but also do restrict the market. You really hate or love these colors, but there is an alternative: there may be a color in the actual collection with more conservative combinations like a black and white dial. You can view them here. The sunburst dial and matching strap are the true force of this watch. A nice-to-have would be if the date function came in as an option to create a even cleaner look and not ‘break’ the sunburst colored dial. There is only one aspect which bothers me a bit: the minute indicators near the indices. I understand the purpose of the separator-line, but it just looks a bit too crowded and squished. Although it’s a very specific watch I would recommend this to someone who is looking for a colorful but classic looking watch with a medium budget. A true original choice.
What do you think of this Presidents Classic? Got a favorite color? We would love to hear from you!
Teun van Heerebeek is contributor and visual artist to Fratello Watches. With his Watches & Pencils illustrations and other articles he likes to explore the vast watch-lands in all its diversity. His love for watches mainly originates from his eye... read more