BY HARLAN CHAPMAN-GREEN
Panda chronograph dial are exceedingly popular with the watch-collecting community. I’m not sure why. Perhaps it’s the contrast between the two, perhaps it’s just because some people like the different options available to them within a range. Vacheron Constantin has made multiple different variations of the current third-generation Overseas chronograph. Typically, these sport dials which are all one colour (excluding accents and printing) or a ‘reverse panda’, which is a dark-coloured dial with light subdials. These reverse panda watches are popular, but it’s the standard panda dials, which have a light main dial and dark contrasted subdials, that people really love.
At the beginning of 2023, Vacheron Constantin finally relented and created a panda variant of the Overseas chronograph. The dial is mostly silver, with white gold applied markers, hands and a white gold frame around the date window. The outer flange ring around the edge of the dial is black with white markings, and the three subdials are matte black with white markings. To me, the press photos make it seem like the time hands blend a little too well into the silver backdrop, but images like this don’t usually give us any sense of depth. I’m sure the hands with their polishing and SuperLumiNova stand out more in real life.
That’s the main change about the new Overseas chronograph. The rest is business as usual, albeit a very classy business. The stainless steel case measures 42.5mm x 13.7mm and has excellent contrasting brushed/polished surfaces and 150m of water resistance. There’s also a sapphire crystal on the back, showing off the solid 22k gold self-winding rotor for the calibre 5200. In-house made, this movement has a column wheel chronograph with a vertical clutch, a 4Hz beat rate and a 52-hour power reserve. It’s also received the Poinçon de Genève, the Geneva Seal, which signifies the excellent workmanship of Vacheron Constantin. We’ve done a Jargon Buster on that if you want to know more.
This reference 5500V/110A-B686 Overseas is a non-limited edition, thankfully, and comes with a retail price of $32,400/€36,700.
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