Pre-Owned Picks — Vacheron Constantin Overseas And Others
During the summer, I went hands-on with three variations of the Vacheron Constantin Overseas Perpetual Calendar in pink gold. To say I was a bit spellbound would be an understatement. Of all the watches that have come my way this year, the full gold Overseas was my favorite. But like any sin, it comes at a price. Which is why this week, I am selecting four classic Vacheron Constantin watches that inspire the modern collection.
VC may well be best known for its art deco and opulent collection of classic timepieces. In an age that generally requires strict trend conformity, Vacheron Constantin steadfastly believes in its traditional watchmaking and design. You don’t survive 265 years of continuous operation without sticking to your core values. But the Overseas spawns a different ethos for Vacheron. It modernizes at a frequent rate leading to the blue dial perpetual calendar in pink gold that sent me weak at the knees. This list looks at the models from Vacheron that either directly or indirectly led to the modern-day Overseas.
All these watches were selected carefully by me without any influence from Chrono24. I chose the topic and found suitable wristwatches that related to the topic. I only request the high-resolution photos from Chrono24 without the watermark. As these are only my suggestions, it is worth always carrying out your research on the watch details and the seller. Ask as many relevant questions you feel are necessary for the watch, and a good seller should answer with accuracy and honesty.
1980 Vacheron Constantin 222 Jumbo Stainless Steel
In 1977, Jorg Hysek put pen to paper to design the origins of the Overseas. Reference 222 commemorates the 222nd anniversary of the brand. The robust and sporty timepiece was uncharacteristic of Vacheron. It certainly shares design cues of the ‘70s with similar sporty watches from Audemar Piguet’s Royal Oak, IWC Ingenieur SL and the Nautilus from Patek. But Gérald Genta had no involvement with the design of the 222 — it is just a popular misconception. To read more information on the watch designer, Gérald Genta, and his backstory, check out my previous article here, that delves into more detail.
This example I select from Chrono24 has a silver/gray dial. To me, the blue dial is the most luscious and sought after. But there is something about the matching gray dial with the stainless-steel sheen that lands the concept of integration. An entirely seamless bracelet with only a tiny gold Maltese cross on the lower-right corner. The papers have been lost to time, but the watch comes with the original box and an archive extract from a recent VC service.
1972 Vacheron Constantin Prestige de La France
My next option is a quirky design from Vacheron that has been a part of its family for many years. The Prestige de La France lives on in the current collection as the 1972 Prestige. From looking at the original in the listing, you can see the clear lineage in the case design. At first, the horizontal trapezoid shape seems jarring. But look closer, then look at your wrist. You’ll notice your wrist may not be a straight cylindrical shape — instead, it is more likely to be conical. The Prestige conforms to this shape with a broad left side and narrower right side when looking above the dial.
This orientation does limit those who sport wristwatches on the right wrist to confine it to their left wrist. Yet, it is worth it to achieve an increased level of ergonomic wearing comfort. To accentuate the rich yellow gold case, the shark-skin-style bracelet follows the lines to the underside of the case. And Vacheron did not cop out with an invisible straight line on the case-back. If you turn the watch around, you will see the bracelet ends align with the slant of the case shape. This level of persistence indeed led to the form over function for later bracelets, including the Maltese cross motif links in the latest Overseas.
1981 Vacheron Constantin 222 Square
Huey Lewis and the News once said it was hip to be square. This 222, also from the ‘80s, must have taken that advice literally. The 222 Square combines the bezel pattern and bracelet from the Hysek-designed 222 but straightens the lines. While technically, this is octagonal, the diminutive diagonal facets do little to hide the overall square shape impact. The outcome is a far more industrial design than the curvaceous flow of the initial 222.
This seemingly more “in your face” case shape may not be as svelte as the round version. But I do like the punchy ‘80s ethos. Just as Jorg said here, the decade was “big, loud, and over the top”, yet worth embracing. The movement stays mechanical, however, in the form of the caliber 1124. Seemingly a derivative of the ultra-slim self-winding caliber 1120, that has powered so many of VC’s pieces over the years. Which itself is a derivative the Jaeger Le-Coultre caliber 899. The listing includes the original box but no papers.
1999 Vacheron Constantin Overseas 42040
At last, I arrive at the mac daddy of the Overseas. The reference 42040 was the first Vacheron Constantin to be referred to as the Overseas. That circular saw-blade bezel looks lethal, but thankfully the tonneau stainless steel case leading into the bracelet offers some protection. You can now see that classic Overseas silhouette start to take shape. It is somewhat smaller, however, at 37mm diameter, with an ornate arching logo.
As sharp as the case and bracelet are, the border around the Vacheron Constantin dial text is quite aged and misshapen. I wouldn’t say it was “puffy” as we have seen on may vintage lume plots. But rather the printing material is spreading a bit like ice forming on glass. Still, to be first in the line of the seminal sports watch collection from the oldest continually operating watchmaker is quite something. For this price as well, it is worth checking out.