Watches & Wonders 2021: Vacheron Constantin Unveil A Raft Of New Overseas Watches
When I took a look at the 2020 Vacheron Constantin Overseas QP in pink gold, I still longed for the steel version. The pink gold case with matching bracelet certainly had an allure with the luscious blue dial. But for many, gold is still a barrier of entry for those looking to upscale to a complicated timepiece with sumptuous hand-finishing, but in stainless steel. One of today’s announcement offers a glimpse to the potential of white metal on the QP, but if anything is more expensive in the white gold case and bracelet.
Sorry to bait and switch with the promise of steel on blue dial Overseas QP. I, too, had the hope for a utilitarian material mixed with high-end hotness. For now, Vacheron introduces a full white gold model to the Overseas roster with the perpetual calendar function. White gold materials typically command a premium due to the additives that overturn the natural yellow color of gold. The exact mix is not disclosed but be sure to expect traces of noble metals such as palladium and platinum. Other than the case material, all essential features remain consistent with the range thus far.
Vacheron Constantin Overseas Perpetual Calendar Ultra-Thin Skeleton & Blue Dial in white gold
Namely, a 41.5mm×8.1mm case with Caliber 1120 QPSQ beating away inside with a 22-carat rotor and the Poinçon de Genève seal of approval. Along with the Maltese cross motif bracelet are two additional blue straps in rubber and alligator leather with quick-change connections. The bunched-up 48-month sub-dial at 12 o’clock is still not my favorite. But I do appreciate the white gold moon disc on the phase aperture set against the blue backdrop. The Overseas Perpetual Calendar Ultra-Thin with sunburst blue dial is yours for €106,000. The use of white gold ramps up the price from €94,500 of the pink gold version.
White gold tax
In tandem with the solid dial is the skeletonized version that carefully skims away the dial to reveal the mechanism. Not only that, but the 22k rotor is also scaled back not to impede the transparent nature of the piece. Openworked watches are not always my preference, but I do like how the indications remain crisp with a translucent moon phase showcasing the passing of our lunar cycle.
Balancing the masterful technique of retaining structural rigidity with delicate beauty is no easy feat. Yet straight graining of the surfaces and chamfering of the edges still lend a sense of sturdiness. As expected, the Skeleton version is more expensive at €141,000. It also moves in parallel with the white gold material €11,000 over the pink gold version. I don’t have any personal wrist-shots with the white gold Openworked version, but you can get a sense of its legibility with the pink gold version on my wrist in the shot above.
Vacheron Constantin Overseas Tourbillon in pink gold
Don’t think that Vacheron is phasing out the pink gold, however. Alongside, the two white gold perpetual calendar models is the new Overseas Tourbillon model in pink gold. Combining the pink gold case with the blue dial is still a winning formula despite — as seen in our March Mania — even with the open aperture taking out a decent proportion of the dial’s real estate. I’ve never been one for the opulence of a tourbillon window. But as Vacheron is one of the oldest watchmakers in operation, the gravity-defying balance wheel brings tradition to the otherwise modern Overseas.
The caliber 2160 tourbillon movement is still incredibly thin at 5.65mm, making it worthy of the Ultra-Thin moniker. It even achieves 80-hours of power reserve versus 40-hours of the QP models above. However, the case diameter is slightly larger at 42.5mm than the perpetual calendar’s 41.5mm. The peripheral 22k gold rotor ensures an unimpeded view directly through the tourbillon carriage to the dial side.
This may be more a show than a grab-n-go timepiece, but the case retains the Overseas’ youthful edge. The blued screw on the tourbillon’s Maltese bridge doubles as the running seconds indicator, with a 60-second rotation. Vacheron’s Overseas Tourbillon is the top echelon of this trio, with the price to boot. €165,000 will earn you this piece.
All Overseas models are available exclusively from Vacheron Constantin’s worldwide boutiques. They all come with 50-meters of water-resistance, so will easily handle spilled cocktail and a dip in the hotel’s fountain. You can find out more on the Vacheron Constantin site here.