Constant Companions: Vacheron Constantin's New Overseas Collection
Although several watchmaking companies were founded before Vacheron Constantin, none can lay claim to the unbroken line of watchmaking that the luxury Swiss manufacture can, all having had periods of dormancy. Founded in 1755, Vacheron Constantin is the world’s oldest watchmaker in continuous operation, ceaselessly creating exquisite timepieces for more than 260 years.
That’s not to say the brand is stuck in the past. Its dedication to melding time-honoured craftsmanship with contemporary, cosmopolitan style was expressed in sharp relief at this year’s SIHH watch fair, where the house launched a new range aimed at the younger customer, Fiftysix, which was promoted with video footage of cool young dudes skateboarding in suits. Business up top, totally rad down below, yo.
But we’re not here to talk about that millennial-friendly novelty. Rather, it’s a hip 1970s throwback, the Overseas, that’s currently under discussion. The Overseas is based on Vacheron’s first luxury sports watch, named the 222.
Launched in 1977 to celebrate the manufacture’s 222nd anniversary, its unique lines were penned by the German watch design icon Jörg Hysek, forming the general aesthetic the Overseas range has explored and evolved since 1996.
This year sees the introduction of several new iterations of the Overseas, including these highlights:
Overseas Dual Time
Available in a choice of stainless steel case with blue or silver-tone dial, or pink-gold case with silver-tone dial, the new Overseas Dual Time allows the wearer to track the time in two zones simultaneously via its main hour hand, which shows the local time, and a secondary triangle-tipped hand that can be set to a supplementary location (with an AM/PM indication to ensure you don’t accidentally call your kids at 4am).
It’s perfect for the frequent traveller who needs to stay attuned to the hour both home and away, very much in keeping with the Overseas moniker.
Powered by the newly developed automatic mechanical movement Calibre 5100T, which boasts a 60-hour power reserve, the 41mm watch is water-resistant to 150 metres, meaning it needn’t be removed when hitting the shower after that long-haul flight or while loosening tired limbs in the hotel swimming pool.
We do suggest, however, that before submersion, you take advantage of the Overseas’ nifty facility to easily switch, tool-free, from moisture-averse leather to the impermeable rubber strap or metal bracelet.
The steel version comes complete with a steel bracelet and alligator leather and rubber straps (the latter two colour-matched to the dial), while the rose-gold model has alligator and rubber straps fastened by an interchangeable 18K pink-gold folding clasp. A sapphire crystal caseback exposes the beauty of the manufacture movement and its gold oscillating weight.
Overseas Black Dial
Though the new black dial versions of the Overseas do not show the time in two or more zones, they remain an excellent choice for the highflyer committed to travelling light, being adaptable to casual or formal, business or sporty occasions.
The contrast of stainless steel case and inky black dial could just as easily complement a grey pinstripe suit as a crisp polo shirt and shorts, while the interchangeable straps—which, again, can easily be switched without the use of tools—make it ridiculously simple to dress the timepiece up or down via the choice of versatile metal bracelet, sleek dressy leather or rugged, athletic rubber strap.
Both the 41mm self-winding chronometer and the 42.5mm chronograph feature slick black-lacquered dials adorned with 18K white-gold markers and hands, highlighted with white Lume, and transparent sapphire crystal case backs through which the movement and handsome gold oscillating weight may be viewed.
The chronograph, which has reaped the lion’s share of critical attention, particularly tickles watch aficionados’ fancy with its 1960s motorsport-inspired “reverse panda” dial design.
Here, a smooth black countenance is inset with contrasting silvery chrono sub-dials, providing the traveller with outstanding legibility while timing the swiftness with which the club sandwich he’s ordered upon landing at a new locale is delivered to his suite.
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