There is an elite clutch of watches which have stood the test of time in terms of what can be classed as classic sports/dress watches, and the late Gerald Genta designed two of the most famous models still in production today, but he did not, as some believe, design the Vacheron Constantin Overseas Chronograph, which was introduced shortly before the 222 went out of production. It was designed by another legend of Swiss watch design, Jorg Hysek.
These three models from three of the most respected names in watches have all become what people love to call ‘iconic’, although it’s probably fair to say that of the three the Vacheron Constantin Overseas Chronograph is the least well known to mainstream collectors. That should not detract from the fact that it is a beautiful watch that oozes class. If James Bond were not wearing an Omega Planet Ocean, he could just as easily slip this undeniably elegant watch on his wrist.
There is more to the Overseas Chronograph than at first meets the eye. Cleverly, the subtle cutaway shapes on the bezel have been designed to reflect the manufacture’s insignia of a Maltese Cross. On the case back there is the image of a sailing ship, denoting, as the name implies, overseas travel. Vacheron Constantin describe the collection as “An invitation to travel. The sleek, sporty Overseas line is intended for all those who love complications that are useful in everyday life.”
It’s a watch designed for the suave, cosmopolitan traveller, an image which sits well with those who like to see themselves as men of the world.
The Vacheron Constantin Overseas Chronograph comes in various metals and with the usual run through of complications, including dual time, a perpetual calendar, chronograph and automatic date. Each of these also have a handful of different models to choose from so there is plenty of choice in this collection. A personal favourite is the Overseas Chronograph Ref: 49150/B01R-9454 which comes in 18k pink gold with a silvered dial.
The watch measures 42 mm in diameter, this size was introduced in 2004, and reflects the current trend for larger watches – although it should be noted that watch diameters are starting to shrink back to more modest sizes once again.
The watch is powered by Vacheron’s streamlined 26.2mm by 6.60mm calibre 1137, a movement whose blueprint is the Fredric Piguet calibre 1185. This is an excellent movement which has been employed in several high-end watches including some of the older AP Royal Oak Chronographs and many a Blancpain chronograph.
The 1137 has a power reserve of approximately 40 hours and features hours, minutes, small seconds, date, and chronograph with a 30-minute counter at 3 o’clock and a 12-hour counter at 9 o’clock. With a classic tricompax design, the date can be found in a double window at 12 o’clock. The seconds counter at 6 o’clock features the words “automatic” and “antimagnetic”. The watch has an inner case that helps to protect the watch from anti magnetic forces of up to 25,000 A/m.
The watch comes on a choice of an alligator strap or an 18k metal bracelet, the latter being the option I would go for. As for price, this particular model retails for around $46,000 it’s possible to get them for less, but your first port of call should always be an authorised Vacheron Constantin dealer. You can compare the Overseas Chronograph with Patek Philippe Nautilus and the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore to decide which suits you best. All being exquisite examples of their kind it would definitely be a tough choice make.