Vacheron Constantin throughout the twentieth century introduced a number of very unforgettable design. From simple and elegant style to complex designs crafted from everyday wear to expensive diamond watch styles, each one represents a culmination of Swiss Haute Horlogerie watchmaking.
We’ve had virtually no news for six years. A number of variations of the Overseas still available in boutiques served as a reminder that Vacheron Constantin did indeed have a sports watch, and that it was available in steel, as well as with titanium accents. In 2015 two limited editions with the blue Overseas dial showed their faces, reminding the public of the existence of this distinctive timepiece. The Overseas, you see, has an unusual design. Its bezel is circular but with accents inspired by a Maltese cross, Vacheron Constantin’s logo. The links of its metal bracelet are also reminiscent of the motif. Articulated, rounded and satin-brushed, they were a feature of the heyday of exclusive high-end sports watches, when the Overseas was one of the gang.
2016 is the comeback year for this model, which has always been dedicated to explorers and travel in the broadest sense of the word. Its case has been completely redesigned: its lugs are now integral to the one-piece case and the bezel is wider and more dominant. But it’s the dial where most of the efforts have been concentrated. The distinctive blue hue is deeper, and accented with a fillet of white gold. In the sunburst grey-beige version, the dial is highlighted with strikingly vivid blue numerals. It is more steeply bevelled and the minute track has been doubled up, giving it greater volume, greater depth and greater density.
In fact, the range has greater everything. A 42.5mm self-winding chronograph, a 41mm three-handed version that can be considered the entry-level and a 37mm ladies’ model set with diamonds around the Maltese cross portion of the bezel, accentuating the motif. All three models are available in steel and rose gold. There is an ultra-slim version, available in white gold only, and a welcome return to the ultra-slim perpetual calendar, also in white gold.
The heart of the redesign of the new generation Overseas nevertheless lies at the heart of the watch. To equip this collection, Vacheron Constantin has introduced an entirely new family of movements: the calibre 5000 series. Designed and developed entirely in-house, Vacheron Constantin makes and assembles them and, finally, submits them to the stringent standards of its preferred arbiter of craftsmanship, the Poinçon de Genève. The calibre 5200 is the range’s chronograph and, by definition, the keystone of the collection. At 4 Hz, with column wheel, vertical clutch and date aperture, it is the final piece in the puzzle in terms of Vacheron Constantin’s quest for complete autonomy in movement production, which the brand has been working towards for ten years. The calibre 5100 is the family’s three-hand date model, an automatic with a 60-hour power reserve. Its little sister, the calibre 5300, with its smaller diameter is intended to equip ladies’ models.
Given that this is Vacheron Constantin, and that every movement is stamped with the Poinçon de Genève, they are finished to an exceptional level. As a final detail, the oscillating weight in the shape of a compass rose, the ultimate explorer’s tool, is worked in 22K gold, a feature shared by all the Overseas models. Even the ultra-flat model, equipped with a pre-existing ultra-slim movement, the 1120, has one.
Last, but by no means least, the new Overseas chronograph, date and ladies’ models are all available with a rubber, steel or alligator bracelet. The case and attachments are designed for quick and easy switching of straps, no tools necessary, no need to remove pins and no danger of scratching the case. The update is therefore comprehensive, encompassing movement, dial, case and lugs.