The Vacheron Constantin Overseas collection represents sports watch pedigree through and through and the Dual Time is no exception. While the collection features everything from simple three-handed time-only watches all the way to tourbillons and perpetual calendars, arguably the most important complication for a sports watch is the GMT function. After all, what self-respecting professional athlete in the 21st century isn’t jet-setting around the world as they compete, skipping time zones like a stone over a pond. If that’s the lifestyle you’re living, then the Vacheron Constantin Overseas Dual Time is not only an interesting take on a contemporary watch by a very traditional watchmaker, but it also just makes sense.
The 41mm stainless steel case features the angular design that you see across the entire Overseas collection, which draws clear historical inspiration from the first Vacheron Constantin sports watch from 1977, the ref. 222. The ref. 222 was released in 1977 in response to the moves by both Patek Philippe and Audemars Piguet to produce steel sports watches with their Nautilus and Royal Oak collections respectively. While the two sports watches from the other two members of the Swiss Holy Trinity were designed by the legendary Gerald Genta, the ref. 222 was designed by the German Jorg Hysek who was only 24 at the time. In turn, the Overseas collection was launched in 1996 as a direct descendent of the ref. 222, designed by two gentlemen by the names of Vincent Kaufmann and Dino Modolo.
Standing just 12.8mm tall, the Vacheron Constantin Overseas Dual Time has been finished with a mix of brushed and polished techniques that serve to highlight the sharply faceted case lines. The integrated bracelet design means that the lugs are very much a part of the case, angling downward to meet the curvature of the wrist. The instantly recognisable bezel features six notches that are inspired by the Maltese Cross that forms the brand’s insignia.
Turning the watch over, and you find an exhibition caseback that exposes the finely finished movement within. The case-back screws down to guarantee 150m of water resistance, just as you would expect from a watch designed with a vigorous lifestyle in mind. The watch features two crowns, both of which screw down to protect against intruding moisture. The first crown at 3 o’clock is for time setting, including the second timezone, while the second crown at 4 o’clock is actually a pusher that can be used to adjust the date mechanism.Visible through the sapphire crystal caseback is the automatic calibre 5100DT, which features a 22k gold rotor. Running at 4Hz and offering a decent power reserve of 60 hours, it features an understandably complex 234 components.The number of components is more than the standard caliber 5100, thanks to the additional functionality that the watch offers with an AM/PM indicator and second timezone. As you would expect from Vacheron Constantin, the movement is expertly finished, with richly textured Côtes de Genève stripes and even bevelling on the edges of the movement bridges.
The dial is a totally different proposition than the other blue and white options the Vacheron Constantin Overseas Dual Time is available in. The black has a shimmering depth to it that you only find in lacquer dials.While black might be the most conservative and potentially boring colour available in the collection, the details are what really bring it to life. The date subdial features a concentric pattern, while the AM/PM indicator and minute track both have matte textures that contrast well against the gloss of the rest of the dial.Despite its asymmetry, the overall impression of the watch is one of balance with the AM/PM indicator at 9 o’clock countering the double crowns on the right-hand side of the watch.
Strap and bracelet technology is an area where the Vacheron Constantin Overseas has dominated their peers in the Holy Trinity, offering simple to use quick-change mechanisms that make switching between rubber, leather or steel bracelets very easy. The steel bracelet is finely executed with the central part of it taking the same inspiration as the bezel from the Maltese Cross. Both the bracelet and the rubber strap are secured with double folding clasps that can be opened and closed with a double button mechanism.
All considered, the Vacheron Constantin Overseas Dual Time with a black dial is a strong offering from one of the best watchmakers of all time. While the market for steel sports watches with blue dials is magma hot right now, the black dial is a reprieve that is also arguably more versatile. The case design and bracelet are aggressive and contemporary, while still paying respect to the original Vacheron Constantin sports watch in the ref. 222.What’s even better? The Vacheron Constantin Overseas Dual Time is actually relatively accessible, without requiring you to sign up for wait lists of multiple years after you’re forced to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to qualify for the privilege. So if you’re looking for a steel sports watch that offers the best of Swiss watchmaking in a package that is thoroughly wearable as a daily option, the Overseas Dual Time is well worth considering.
Back at Dubai Watch Week 2017, Vacheron Constantin added a dual-time watch back to the Overseas collection (after having phased out the previous model along with the rest of the old Overseas). What we’ve got here is a new and improved watch that utilizes an in-house movement too. Fortunately for me, I had the opportunity to see the newest pieces up close and personal, and they did not disappoint one bit.
The Overseas has always been a bit of a polarizing collection. Some people love it, some people don’t. I think this simply comes down to people having a hard time accepting a sports watch from Vacheron Constantin, a manufacture traditionally known for dress watches and complications. I mean, why buy a Vacheron Constantin when you could buy a Rolex, right? But I think that way oversimplifies the question and, frankly, misses the mark by quite a bit. When the Overseas was relaunched two years ago, we got a collection that was plenty sporty but also with serious Vacheron movements inside and lots of extra detailing outside. Vacheron was able to capture the true essence of what people wanted in a sport watch – reliable, wearable, practical – in an elegant way, especially with the Ultra-Thin.This brings me to the latest Overseas. The dual-time or GMT complication is one of my all time favorites. It’s practical, it’s useful, and it’s cool. This Vacheron Overseas is no different. The watch itself comes in pink gold or stainless steel and features the same Overseas case that we know and love. It has the notched bezel, tonneau-form case, and brushed finish. The case for the Dual-Time measures 41mm in diameter and 12.8mm thick.Now, when you read 12.8mm, it doesn’t sound like much, but I can tell you when you see this watch in the metal it certainly looks and wears on the heftier side. For me personally, it felt too robust, and I would like to have this in a 38mm case that measures no more than 11mm thick, but alas, that is not the case and realistically my wrists are a lot daintier than those of most of you reading this article right now. But I digress.Thickness aside, the watch looks great on the wrist. It has the cool factor you want, and the brushed steel works well. The watch comes with a few dial options – silver and blue for stainless steel and champagne for the rose gold version – and the second time zone is nicely displayed by a fourth hand anchored in the center of the dial. It is changed by the second crown located at four o’clock There is also a subsidiary dial for the date display, which is a nice touch (read: no date window) and the AM/PM indicator. Now I know that the AM/PM indicator is practical, I do, but I wish this weren’t there. To me, this dial would be so perfect if it was just the subsidiary seconds and the fourth hand, because simple is best. But to circle back, practicality is what we are going for here, so I am going to let it slide.
The movement is the automatic caliber 5110 DT, which is a variation on the existing caliber 5100 that was introduced in 2016 with the Overseas Self-Winding. The case is a sapphire crystal case back, which we all love and know so no surprises there. The Vacheron Constantin Overseas Dual Time also features the same special interlocking bracelet system that the Overseas are known for. For me this is such a nice option because it allows for options and wearability. It comes with the stainless steel bracelet, rubber strap, and alligator strap. And isn’t that all we want in our watches?