Why The New Pink Gold Vacheron Constantin Overseas Chronograph Is Reigniting An Old Flame
Like reuniting with an old crush, Vacheron Constantin is tempting me with its new Overseas Chronograph in pink gold with a blue dial. My exposure to this harmonious mix of dial and case material stretches back to 2020 when I met the gorgeous Perpetual Calendar Ultra-Thin model in person. This week, Vacheron Constantin renders this tantalizing blend with its in-house column-wheel chronograph movement. The results are equally stunning, but does it set my soul ablaze the same way as the pink gold Perpetual Calendar? Let’s find out.
I recall the day I first met the Overseas Perpetual Calendar. Among the opaline and skeletonized dials was the blue dial sitting radiantly within a shroud of pink gold. I’m not usually one to covet excessively luxurious timepieces. A well-constructed stainless steel or titanium watch is usually my preferred choice. But this Overseas sunk its claws into me. In fact, it’s partly why I recently bought the Oris Aquis Calibre 400 Bicolor. The Aquis has a similar vibrant blue dial (albeit more turquoise than the Overseas) with gold hands, indices, and bezel knurling. While my Aquis is not quite as striking as this beautiful full-gold Overseas, it’s about as close as I’ll get within my price range. That’s the effect the Overseas had on me in 2020, and it still lingers to this day. Hence, this new release has reignited that flame, for better or worse (to my bank account).
Vacheron Constantin Overseas Chronograph
The new Overseas Chronograph utilizes Vacheron Constantin’s in-house-developed caliber 5200 for elapsed timing. The two screw-down pushers flanking the crown at 3 o’clock are responsible for starting, stopping, and resetting the chronograph mechanism. The winding/setting crown also screws down, helping give the Overseas an impressive 150m water-resistance rating. On the dial side, three sub-dials sit at the 3, 6, and 9 o’clock positions, slightly cutting into the stepped-down minute chapter ring. The chronograph seconds hand mounts centrally with another scale on the rehaut. This pronounced rehaut has a golden ring running the circumference with five-minute numerals and smaller intervals to match the caliber’s 4Hz (28,800vph) frequency. At the 6 o’clock counter is the indication for elapsed hours up to 12, with the 3 o’clock counter displaying elapsed minutes up to 30.
With the subsidiary seconds at 9 o’clock, the Overseas has a familiar Compax layout made famous by iconic chronographs of the watch world. Come to think of it, all the mechanical chronographs I own — Daytona, Speedmaster, and Chronomat — have this same chronograph layout. The “Mickey Mouse” separation of sub-dials offers excellent readability and symmetry. Completing the set of functions is the date window between 4 and 5 o’clock. The date aperture has a frame in pink gold to highlight this feature. However, the off-angle placement has never been a favorite of mine as it somewhat spoils the symmetry. This date placement reminds me why the Perpetual Calendar appeals so much to me, thanks partly to its equalized spacing.
Overseas Chronograph dial spacing
What I also notice as a result of the sub-dial placement is the differing lengths of each index. It’s typical for the 12 o’clock index to adopt a unique shape to orient the watch in low-light conditions. The same goes for the batons at 3, 6, and 9 o’clock due to the reduced space available. But even the south-side indices here are shorter than their north-side counterparts. I am assuming this varying baton length somehow balances the visual area of the dial from the indications to the logo side. But the variance is a notable mixture of markers. The distinguished Maltese cross emblem is applied to balance this, with the motif repeated on the shiny saw-blade bezel and the bracelet’s central links. The bracelet has a fantastic integrated construction with the added benefit of quick-change release and comfort adjustment.
Provided with the Overseas Chronograph are blue rubber and calfskin straps with the quick-change mechanism and matching 18K pink gold pin buckles. It’s a rare treat for Swiss manufacturers to provide alternative straps right out of the box, and I am happy to see Vacheron Constantin continue this tradition for its Overseas collection. Flipping the watch over provides a glimpse of the caliber 5200. However, it is difficult to judge the Côtes de Gèneve movement finishing as the solid 22K gold rotor occupies a significant proportion of the case-back view. I suppose you can see each of half the Poinçon de Genève-bearing movement — certifying it is manufactured within the Canton of Geneva — on occasion. But with an inhibited exhibition window, the mechanism loses that unobstructed “wow factor.” Nevertheless, it is neat to see the column wheel screw continuing the Maltese cross motif.
Final thoughts and pricing
Maybe I am harsh in comparing the case back view to the intricacies of a hand-winding or peripheral-rotor caliber from Vacheron Constantin. A self-winding movement has many benefits, at least. But it does mean the Overseas Chronograph, at 13.7mm thick, is not svelte as the 8.1mm ultra-thin Overseas Perpetual Calendar. Yet, with its 42.5mm 18K pink gold case and multi-layered, blue lacquered, sunburst satin-finished dial, the Overseas Chronograph still reels me in with its alluring combination.
I appreciate the Overseas design a great deal. Stemming from the Jörg Hysek-designed reference 222 in 1977, the Overseas became its own range with the reference 42040 in 1996. Consequently, 2022 saw a revival of the ref. 222 as an authentic and extravagant recreation of the original. But interestingly, the 222 sits in the Historiques collection, which is Vacheron’s archive of 20th-century watch designs with modern production techniques. Despite being an evolution of the 222, the Overseas remains a robust and distinct range of watches. I may have bemoaned the addition of the 222 during Sunday Morning Showdown as a disruption to the stable trajectory of the Overseas. But this Overseas Chronograph cements the current lineup as the future for Vacheron’s integrated luxury sports watch. The price of this model is CHF 74,000, and you can check your local pricing and taxes via Vacheron Constantin’s official website.
What do you think of this Overseas Chronograph? Is the combination of a blue dial and pink gold as alluring for you as it is for me? Feel free to let me know your thoughts in the comments.