One of the greatest beneficiaries of our current, more colorful era of watchmaking is the racing chronograph segment. Motorsports are an inherently vibrant, visually dynamic form of competition, and expanding the range of colors used in motorsports-inspired watches beyond the dour blacks, silvers, and blues of yesteryear gives these designs a better chance at capturing the spirit of on-track competition. Vulcain has grasped this concept handsomely with its latest chronograph release, combining the crisp simplicity of a ‘60s-style two-register racing chronograph with a verdant, charismatic British racing green colorway. The simply named, limited edition Vulcain Chronograph Green continues the brand’s recent track record of solidly period-correct vintage-style releases, delivering a sharply detailed classic chrono design with a bright and stylish color palette.

Like previous iterations in the series, the Vulcain Chronograph Green begins with a stainless steel case measuring in at a compact, balanced 38mm wide. Add in a 12.4mm thickness largely concentrated in an old-school tall domed sapphire crystal, and the Chronograph Green is an impressively elegant fit on the wrist, complementing its simple midcentury lines with slim, balanced proportions. The main case body is almost elementally simple, with unchamfered tapering lugs, flat, vertically brushed upper surfaces, and compellingly slim vertical case sides treated with a sharp mirror polish. The narrow, sloping polished bezel is similarly old-school simple in its design, but it adds just enough dimensionality to the case form on the wrist to prevent it feeling rough or unfinished. A slimline crown and tall piston-style pushers complete this sporty ‘60s look admirably. It’s worth mentioning that Vulcain takes a decidedly vintage approach to visual weight distribution for this case, as well. As previously mentioned, a sizeable portion of the already slender case height is reserved for the crystal, but most of the rest is shunted to the solid caseback. How well this tactic works to hide case thickness on the wrist is entirely subjective – some wrists, mine included, have a prominent bone structure that allows the Chronograph Green’s deep caseback to nestle in and virtually disappear during wear. Some others, however, may find it tends to “float” on the wrist with the mid-case sitting well above the skin. With that said, when this caseback design works, it works brilliantly. The caseback design itself is clean but unspectacular, with a simple inscription and the Vulcain text logo. In keeping with the old-school looks, the Vulcain Chronograph Green offers old-school water resistance, mustering only a 50 meter depth rating.

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Stylistically speaking, there isn’t an ounce of fat on the Vulcain Chronograph Green’s dial. This is a balanced, back-to-basics take on a no-date two-register sports chronograph design, with a few subtle cues to set it apart from the pack. With such a simple design brief, every minute detail takes on special importance, and it’s clear Vulcain has taken great consideration with each element here. From the concentric outer tachymeter and decimal scales to the minimal dial text at 12 o’clock and 6 o’clock, all the printed elements are light, airy, and admirably crisp, which keeps the layout visually balanced and directs focus towards the main timekeeping elements. The elegantly slim faceted baton indices and matching polished baton handset echo the slender simplicity of the case. However, it’s the dual silver subdials at 3 o’clock and 9 o’clock (especially the 3 o’clock chronograph minutes) that allow Vulcain to stretch its legs a bit stylistically. Firstly, Vulcain shapes these subdials to dynamically catch light at most angles – around the outer edges, the scales are printed on relatively deep, bowl-like sloped surfaces, but for the central subdial segments the brand instead opts for a raised azurage platform. This gives the subdials a pronounced “lip” midway through their diameters, which creates a unique series of highlights and shadows rarely seen in comparable designs. Added touches like the elongated hash marks at three-minute intervals and the arrow-tipped hand of the chronograph minutes subdial give this design a splash of character, without sacrificing its elegant simplicity.

All of these elements, however, are carried over from previous Vulcain Chronograph dial references. This new model stands out thanks to its finely grained, dynamic sunburst green main dial surface. While Vulcain itself mentions British racing green as an influence here, the saturated emerald hue used for this dial is brighter and more intense than most traditional BRG renditions, with a nearly jewel-tone feel in bright direct light. With that said, it’s certainly an eye-catching color on the wrist, and given the small proportions overall this more vivid color doesn’t come off as overwhelming.

Vulcain powers the Chronograph Green with the Sellita SW510 M BH handwound chronograph movement. There are few third-party options for manual-wind chronograph powerplants in the modern watch industry, and over the past few years the SW510 M BH has become one of the cornerstones of a new wave of sub-$5,000 chronographs from independent brands. The movement’s solid performance is a major factor in this, offering a hefty 63 hour power reserve at a 28,800 bph beat rate. In addition, this movement’s accuracy is respectable, averaging +8 seconds per day through our testing period. However, the cam-lever chronograph actuation system may rile some purists, but it’s difficult to argue with at this price point.

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To complete the classic ‘60s look, Vulcain fit our review sample of the Chronograph Green with a warm saddle brown leather strap with tone-on-tone stitching. The strap itself is soft, light, and comfortable, but the lack of surface variation and nuance compared to some rivals does leave this pairing feeling a bit flat on the wrist. On the other hand, the pin buckle is excellent here, with a deeply engraved, brightly polished rendition of Vulcain’s stramlined “flying V” logo.

Few sports watch segments stand to gain as much from the modern watchmaking “color revolution” more than midcentury-inspired racing chronographs, as these more colorful renditions better help to capture the noise and energy of a classic racing weekend. The new limited edition Vulcain Chronograph Green is proof of this principle in action, with a combination of finely tuned, compact proportions, clean ‘60s sporting cues, and a racy British racing green colorway that brings a lively, charismatic energy to the series. Only 100 examples of the Vulcain Chronograph Green will be made, and the watch is available now through the brand’s e-commerce platform. MSRP for the Vulcain Chronograph Green stands at 2,500 CHF as of press time. For more information, please visit the brand’s website.

Necessary Data
>Brand: Vulcain
>Model: Chronograph Green
>Price: 2,500 CHF
>Size: 38mm diameter, 12.4mm thickness
>When reviewer would personally wear it: As a daily-wear sports watch, or as a colorful accent to a vintage-inspired outfit.
>Friend we’d recommend it to first: Vintage fans looking for a faithful retro chronograph experience, with modern reliability and build quality.
>Best characteristic of watch: Finely balanced proportions, lively green dial design, excellent movement performance.
>Worst characteristic of watch: Weak water resistance, somewhat anonymous strap pairing.

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