If there ever was a common ground shared between all the major haute horlogerie Maisons in Europe, it’s the fact that they all have a sports collection (or two). Patek Philippe has got the Nautilus and Aquanaut, Audemars Piguet, the Royal Oak and its offshoots, and Breguet, the Marine. Even A. Lange & Söhne has recently joined in on the fun with the Odysseus after 25 years of abstinence. For Vacheron Constantin Overseas Self-Winding, it is no different – the Overseas is the brand’s resident sports line. First introduced in 1996, the Overseas is currently in its third generation – and dare we say, it has never looked better. The simplest model available in the current Overseas range is none other than the Overseas Self-Winding, a clean time-and-date-only timepiece. Until this year, the Self-Winding model was only available in stainless steel variants or in precious metal, but with straps. During Watches & Wonders Shanghai back in September this year, Vacheron Constantin finally introduced a full gold version of its base sports model. With its blue and pink gold colour combination, the watch is one of the most vibrant in Vacheron Constantin’s Overseas collection, perhaps second only to the Overseas Perpetual Calendar Ultra-Thin with the same aesthetics. Here, we bring you the full details and our honest thoughts on the new and stunning Overseas Self-Winding in full pink gold.
The new Vacheron Constantin Overseas Self-Winding retains its previous sizing. At 41 mm in diameter and 11 mm in height, the watch is fairly moderate in size, enabling it to slide under all but the tightest sleeves. Crafted in 5N 18K pink gold, the case, as well as the bracelet, can easily be spotted from across the room. The design of the bezel and the individual links of the bracelet is inspired from the Maltese cross, the emblem of Vacheron Constantin. Needless to say – as is expected of one of the most prestigious manufacturers in the world – the case and bracelet feature exceptional finissage, with alternating polished and satin finishes on every facet. If one should ever grow tired of the gold bracelet, the watch also comes with a leather and a rubber strap which can be easily swapped on thanks to the proprietary quick-release system of the watch. Going from bar to boardroom to beach has never been easier.
The case and bracelet of the Overseas Self-Winding is so well-finished that only the Nautilus and Royal Oak can rival it.
Complementing the rosy hue of the case and bracelet is the oh-so delectable blue lacquered dial that has become quite the fan favourite. Perhaps the next best thing after an enamel dial, the lacquer dial in the Overseas Self-Winding has an ethereal luster that is bound to captivate onlookers. The blue of the dial is dynamic as it appears to change shades depending on lighting. These two properties combined, it is not hard to see why the dial has attracted fans of its own. For legibility, the hour markers and hands are rendered in pink gold and coated with luminescent material. A date window with a pink gold frame is placed at the 3 o’clock position in a manner that is elegant (or at least as elegant as date windows can be anyway).
Driving the new Vacheron Constantin Overseas Self-Winding is the same 172-part, 37-jewel Calibre 5100 that powered previous iterations of the model. The automatic movement boasts a respectable 60 hours of power reserve thanks to twin mainspring barrels and operates at a modern 4 Hz frequency.
The Calibre 5100 may be a basic time-and-date-only movement but it is Hallmark of Geneva-certified. This means that it meets the standards of high horology in terms of construction, assembly and finissage. And indeed, the finissage is most impressive. Take for example, the wind rose-inspired winding rotor which features multiple types of finishes, from circular graining and mirror polishing, to sandblasting and hammering. The bridges are decorated with even Geneva waves on the top surface while the edges are chamfered and polished. What we are particularly impressed by is the plentiful number of outward angles present, a property usually found in higher-end movements.
Every great sports watch today is the culmination of decades of evolution (think the Oyster Perpetual, the Nautilus, and the Royal Oak), and the Overseas is no different! In 1977, Vacheron Constantin’s first foray into luxury sports watches resulted in the Ref. 222, a watch that later served as the blueprint for the Overseas line. Fast forward 43 years, we now have the new Overseas Self-Winding in full gold with blue dial. With its bold colours, elegant design, and sublime finishing, sports watches at Vacheron Constantin have never looked this good. The Overseas has never come this close to catching up with its high-end Swiss peers – the Nautilus and the Royal Oak – in terms of recognition. With a full gold bracelet, the new Overseas Self-Winding is the priciest variation of Vacheron Constantin’s ‘entry level’ sports watch model – a cool SGD70,500.
For something a little less pricey but no less striking, look no further than this year’s H. Moser & Cie. Streamliner Centre Seconds, the Schaffhausen brand’s first time-only sports watch. Featuring the same fluid lines that first graced the seminal Streamliner Flyback Chronograph, the watch has a hypnotic green fumé dial that gradates to black at the periphery. The Streamliner Centre Seconds may not be as opulent as the Vacheron Constantin Self-Winding in full gold but it has more than enough charisma to be a serious contender for sports watch of the year. The Streamliner Centre Seconds, with no precious metal or complication, is priced at USD21,900, less than half the price of the Overseas.
The new Vacheron Constantin Overseas Self-Winding in full gold is many things; what it is not is boring. The watch is one of the most striking specimens from the Overseas collection thus far. The good news is that if you want to tone it down for the day, you can easily do so by swapping the bracelet out (without a tool) for a leather strap instead. While some may still feel that its colour combination is too jarring, we actually find it immensely attractive and refreshing. Here’s to more bold colour combos from Vacheron Constantin’s usually grounded Overseas collection.
Do you remember April? It was a few months ago, and while I recall neither its position nor its progression as a measurement of time, I do recall writing about how Vacheron Constantin announced that it would be offering its Overseas Perpetual Calendar Ultra-Thin with a blue dial and a matching bracelet in 19k pink gold. As time is a flat circle, we meet again, as Vacheron Constantin has just announced a blue and gold version of its Overseas Self-Winding as part of the news cycle surrounding Watches & Wonders Shanghai.
When the full gold and blue treatment was added to the Overseas QP, I said, “about damn time,” and I can’t say I feel any different about the time and date version of the same watch, aka the Overseas Self-Winding. With a 41mm-wide pink-gold case, this new addition to the Overseas line rocks a gorgeous blue dial, and you can now complete the quick-change strap triple-play as the rubber and the alligator will have to compete with a lovely pink-gold bracelet.
Like I said when the same treatment was applied to the Overseas Perpetual Calendar, while this new model doesn’t bring anything actually new to the table, it does expand upon a popular line with the addition of a mount that a lot of customers must have been asking for (especially for a watch characterized by its inclusion of several straps and a tool-free way of changing said straps). Functionality remains entirely unchanged, with the Vacheron Constantin Overseas Self-Winding sitting pretty at just 11mm thick with 150 meters of water resistance, Vacheron’s 5100 automatic movement, and a sapphire display caseback.
Hitting boutiques with a price tag of $46,200, this all-gold Overseas Self-Winding represents a considerable jump up from a steel version ($19,600), but may offer a strong middle ground for those wanting a more precious experience without having to pony up some $88,500 for the Overseas Perpetual Calendar. Regardless of complication (How long will we have to wait to see this bracelet added to the pink-gold version of the Overseas Dual Time?), it’s simply hard to beat the blue/gold effect, and this new model seems a strong addition to the Overseas lineup.