Inspired by the notion of travelling, Vacheron Constantin presented Overseas, a brand new sports collection in 1996. We take a closer look at the cornerstones of this collection, and novelty highlights of the 2020 collection.
In 1977, Vacheron Constantin introduced a luxury sports watch called the 222, which was aptly named in commemoration of the Maison’s 222 years of high-quality watch making. Designed by a young talented watch designer Jörg Hysek, the 222 was a simple and neat luxurious timepiece. It bore a standout tonneau case with a scalloped bezel, and an integrated hexagonal-centric link bracelet. Created in limited quantities, the Vacheron Constantin 222 remains highly valued by collectors today, and is a distinct defining timepiece in the subsequent development of the Overseas collection.
The Vacheron Constantin Overseas collection of 1996 may have been hailed as a direct descendant of the 222, but the round-cased Phidias launched in 1989 is fondly known as the “missing link” between the 222 and Overseas collection. Both the Phidias and Overseas collection are designed by Dino Modolo. The latter would carry distinct features and spirit of both the 222 and Phidias.
Because Phidias was birthed at a time where air travel was increasingly democratised, it featured the world time complication with a rotating bezel engraved with different cities representing various time zones.
Fast forward to 1996, in a globalised world made smaller and more connected, “time was set free” with the travel-inspired Overseas Collection. Like the 222, the Overseas had a tonneau-shaped case. Its fluted bezel was also reminiscent of the Maltese Cross on the 222. Presented in three sizes with self-winding calibres, conceived for the traveller in mind, the Overseas collection have since been been refined over the years to include dual time, chronograph, self-winding and the perpetual calendar.
At this year’s 2020 Watches and Wonders, Vacheron Constantin introduced its ultra-thin Overseas perpetual calendar in pink gold and shiny glossy lacquered blue dial. This handsome all-gold version comes with the hexagonal Maltese cross-inspired bezel on the bold tonneau silhouette case, with matching Maltese cross style bracelet, and the most practical self-changeable straps – my favourite feature of all.
This self-winding calibre 1120 QP/1 has 276 components, 36 jewels, 29.6mm diameter, and is only 4.05mm thick. The case is 18K 5N pink gold, 41.5 mm diameter, and ultrathin at 8.1mm thick, a 40 hour power reserve, with a sapphire glass case back. The dial is not too cluttered and pretty well organized, granted that it is a perpetual calendar. The day and date display sits at the 9 and 3 o’clock position respectively; in order to accommodate all the months and the leap year indicator, the months are intelligently displayed in quarters with the leap year in a different colour. Just like the hands and hour-markers, the moon phase, at the 6 o’clock position comes with a matching pink gold moon and similar blue night sky.
As if this exquisite winsome lacquered blue dial was not perfect enough, Vacheron Constantin had this visceral need to make better, best. They made, the first in the Overseas family, an open-faced skeletonised timepiece. The entire watch from front to case back is hollowed out, including the sub-dials and their indicators; the components were specially electrolyte-treated to obtain the classic anthracite grey shade. What I found admirable is the skeletonised version has an open rotor (with the skeletonised Maltese cross) that showed the timepiece mechanism in its entirety.
Together with the 3 interchangeable straps (gold, blue alligator, and blue rubber), this timepiece is the true epitome of a traveller’s versatile luxury sports timepiece. The best part yet, you need not adjust it till March 2021.
One of Not Many, That Many Would Want.
In conjunction with the 10th anniversary of Vacheron Constantin’s boutique at Marina Bay Sands, a special exhibition: “Vacheron Constantin and Sports Watches” devoted to the world of its sports watches and the precision instruments that preceded them, from July 13 to August 24, 2020.
Here are some highlights of the watches of the remarkable journey at the Exhibition:
What: “Vacheron Constantin and Sports Watches”
Where: Vacheron Constantin boutique at Marina Bay Sands
When: 13 July to 24 August, 2020
Images courtesy of Vacheron Constantin, artwork by Curatedition. All rights reserved.