By Dhananjay Pathak
The quest for creating the perfect luxury sports watch has given birth to many iconic watches such as the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak, the Patek Philippe Nautilus and the IWC Ingenieur Jumbo SL. Featuring a design language inspired by a “Porthole” all these watches penned down the success story for their respective brands in the 1970’s and interestingly all the three were the brainchild of the great Gerald Genta. But there is another brand which has a similar historical significance as the aforementioned names but somehow their watch collection with a similar design interest did not yield the expected success and fame. Yes, we are indeed talking about Vacheron Constantin and the collection in question is the Vacheron Overseas.
Born in 1977 and nicknamed the “project 222” initially, the Vacheron Constantin Overseas collection was a result of young designer Jorg Hysek’s labour. Hysek ended up creating a watch which looked similar to the Royal Oak given the Porthole influence and featuring an integrated bracelet, but with a distinctive looking bezel influenced from the Maltese cross (the brands logo) giving the watch its signature design element. Since its inception the Overseas collection has constantly evolved and today we are going to have a look at our top 5 favorites from the current Overseas line-up which entered into its third phase of execution in 2016.
5. Overseas Small Model
At number 5 we have the Overseas small model. As the name suggests this model features a small second complication alongside the normal timekeeping functions. Not only that, it is also a watch targeted towards people with smaller wrists as is evident from the rather small 37mm diameter of this watch. The case on this particular reference is made out of stainless steel and is nicely finished with a mix of brushed and polished surfaces. Up top is a sapphire crystal which is securely kept in place with the help of the unique bezel which features six Maltese cross elements. The case is water resistant to a healthy 150 meters and there is a sapphire crystal exhibition glass at the back giving a nice view of the caliber 5300 that powers this watch. This is an automatic movement which consists of 31 jewels, operates at a frequency of 28800 bph, offering a power reserve of around 44 hours. It also gets the Geneva seal certification indicating that the movement has been finished and tested to some of the highest quality standards in the industry. The dial is finely executed and consists of applied hour markings which along with the hour/minute handset have been filled with lume to aid low light visibility. Completing the watch is the integrated bracelet whose links reciprocate the Maltese cross elements found on the bezel. There are several variations of the Overseas small model, including specific versions for women with diamond set bezels, but this all stainless steel version (Reference – 2300V/100A-B170) retails at 19200 EUR.
There are times when one needs a watch which is capable of playing multiple roles. It should look as good with formal attire as it should with casual clothing. And while the overseas collection on a whole was designed for this purpose, this simple time and date version makes for an ideal everyday watch. The dial on the Overseas might look straightforward and simple at first glance but look closer and you would encounter the rather complex execution with a nice interplay between brushed and matt surfaces. The applied hour markers along with the hour/minute handset have been filled with luminous material for low light visibility and there is also a nicely framed date window at 3. The stainless steel case measures a modest 41mm in diameter and is only 11mm thick suggesting that the watch would sit comfortably on the wrist. There is a sapphire crystal on the front as well as the back. The movement powering this watch is the brand’s caliber 5100 which operates at a frequency of 4Hz and provides a power reserve of 60 hours. The watch comes fitted with an integrated stainless steel bracelet and the brown dial version seen here (Reference – 4500V/110A-B146) is priced at 20300 EUR.
3. Overseas Dual Time
This is the sole GMT in the Overseas collection and is targeted towards the globetrotters of today’s connected world. A GMT complication as you might be aware enables a watch to keep track of multiple time-zones at the same time and the Vacheron Constantin Overseas dual time exactly that by tracking two zones simultaneously. The stainless case has a diameter of 41mm and is quite similar to the one found on rest of the Overseas collection except for that extra pusher at 4 which is used to set the date which is displayed through a sub-dial at 6. The dial on the dual time is where all the action is. It features central hour, minute and seconds hand for tracking the local time, a short-hand to track the second/home time and an AM/PM indicator to know whether its day or night back home. The dial does seem to be a little busy but still manages to be quite legible. There are 2 dial colors to choose from a beautiful deep blue and this steel variant which is the sportier of the two and also features a nice pop of red in the form of the tips on the day/night indicator and the GMT hand. The watch is powered by the brand’s in-house caliber 5110 DT which has 37 jewels, is Geneva seal certified and offers a power reserve of around 60 hours. The movement is beautifully decorated and can be admired through the sapphire crystal exhibition case-back. This variant (Reference – 7900V/110A-B333) of the watch comes on the brands signature integrated bracelet and would put you down by 24600 EUR should you wish to add one to your collection.
2. Overseas Chronograph
A chronograph might not be a very practical complication in today’s digital world, but watches featuring a chronograph function are highly sought after. There are a lot of different ways a chronograph function can be presented on a watch dial and the Vacheron Overseas chronograph collection utilizes the more traditional tri-compax layout. There are 3 sub dials at 3, 6 and 9 which are used to track elapsed minutes (up to 30 minutes), elapsed hours (Up to 12 hours) and running seconds respectively. The dial is quite well laid out and highly legible especially for a chronograph. The only thing we wish the dial would have been devoid of is the date window at the 4:30 position. While it does spoil the symmetry of the dial, it does seem to be out of place on this watch. The case comes in at a diameter of 42.8mm and bears the familiar Overseas DNA with unique touches such as the Maltese cross inspired bezel and bracelet. There are three basic touch points on the case including the crown at 3 and screwed down chronograph pushers at 2 and 4 further aiding the healthy water resistance of 150 meters. The powerhouse behind this watch is Vacheron Constantin’s caliber 5200 which beats at a frequency of 4 Hz and offers a power reserve of around 54 hours. There are once again a couple of dial/case options to choose from and the blue steel variant (Reference – 5500V/110A-B075) pictured here costs 29300 EUR.
1. Overseas Ultra-Thin Perpetual Calendar
Now coming down to what we feel is the best watch in the entire Overseas collection, the Overseas Ultra-thin perpetual calendar. A perpetual calendar is a complication which helps keep accurate track of the day, date and month of the year including leap years, and Vacheron Constantin has gone a step ahead by including a romantic moon-phase complication with this piece. The complication has been implemented using 3 circular sub-dials at 12, 3 and 9 to track the month, date and day of the week respectively, and a semi-circular window above 6 to display the moon phase. The 41mm wide case is made out of either 18kt white gold or pink gold as pictured above and is just 8.10mm thick, making it a super slim watch which would make for a perfect companion for those suit and tie events. Water resistance is marked at 50 meters which is apt for a dressy timepiece like this. Powering this watch is the brand’s in-house caliber 1120 QP/1 which is a 37 jewel automatic movement that operates at an unusual frequency of 2.75 Hz, offering a power reserve of around 40 hours. There are a few dial/case options to choose from and the pink gold version (4300V/000R-B064) that you are looking at right now costs 77000 EUR. Visit Vacheron Constantin here.