Vacheron Constantin launched the new Overseas collection at this year’s SIHH, it is pure, inspired, the finish is exquisite, and overall it’s desirable and luxurious. It is actually difficult to find flaws here. Whether we talk about the normal 3-hander, the Chronograph or the Ultra-Thin edition; when we got to see these new models we are very impressed. There’s one version that we didn’t show to you, yet, and this is the flagship one: the Vacheron Constantin Overseas Ultra-Thin Perpetual Calendar.
The Vacheron Constantin Overseas Ultra-Thin Perpetual Calendar is based on the same concept as the normal Ultra-Thin version. The exception is the QP module, and for the rest it’s approximately the same watch – same base calibre, same grey/beige dial, same white gold case and bracelet, however with some small differences.
Design-wise, the Vacheron Constantin Overseas Ultra-Thin Perpetual Calendar keeps the exact same design as the rest of the collection. A tonneau-shaped case is used as a base – more rounded than before and also more elegant, less “raw” than the previous edition of the Overseas – and on top of it is added a perfectly round bezel, circling the dial. This bezel is in line with the previous Overseas collection, and shows a notched profile, reminiscent of the shape of a Malte Cross – the emblem of Vacheron Constantin. Compared to the previous Overseas collection, it went down from eight notches, to six on the new models. We can find this specific bezel on all the other editions.
Then, this case is slim, very slim, and it measures only 8.10mm in height – which has to be regarded as rather impressive considering that we’re talking about a sporty watch with an antimagnetic case and a perpetual calendar module. That’s only half of a millimeter more than the Overseas Ultra-Thin (at 7.50mm). And just like the latter, the case of the Vacheron Constantin Overseas Ultra-Thin Perpetual Calendar is in 18k white gold… this certainly supports to the luxury feel of the complication. However the choice for white gold over steel has more implications: this has an effect on the price, it makes the watches more vulnerable to scratches and dings, and ultimately the watch is heavier than a steel version. On the other hand, white gold is extremely subtle and discreet. The difference with the normal Ultra-Thin version is not only the thickness of the watch, the diameter increases from 40mm to 41.5mm. On the wrist this is hardly noticeable and despite the increased size it remains a very comfortable watch.
Just like the other watches of the collection, the Vacheron Constantin Overseas Ultra-Thin Perpetual Calendar is delivered with 3 bracelets / straps in the box, with an extremely simple and practical system to exchange the strap/bracelet. You’ll get a dark grey alligator strap, a black rubber strap and of course, the white gold integrated bracelet. Just like we told you with the Ultra-Thin, this bracelet is just stunning. Its look ‘different’, and whether you like it or not, its finishing is simply stunning. It alternates between brushed surfaces, polished bevels on the sides and sharp, internal angles in-between the links… and these angles, like those in a movement, can only be polished by hand. Imagine the amount of time required to finish such a bracelet. Impressively qualitative. And comfortable too – as the old editions of the Overseas tend to “shave” the wrist.
The layout of the Vacheron Constantin Overseas Ultra-Thin Perpetual Calendar is typical for Vacheron Constantin, as it uses a known QP module. We find back the specific 48-month sub-dial at 12, displaying the months of four years, including the months of the leap year. The rest is traditional – date at 3, day at 9 and moon phase at 6. Because of the various finishings applied on the dial (sun ray, velvet, concentric pattern) in a single colour, which beautifully matches with the case, the look of this QP edition remains rather sporty, casual-chic and discreet. It doesn’t feel like being a piece of delicate horology, like a Patrimony Contemporaine QP can be – although it sports the exact same movement, complication and dial layout. It’s a matter of integration to the overall design – and it works.
In terms of movement, no big innovations here but don’t get me wrong, the Vacheron Constantin Overseas Ultra-Thin Perpetual is powered by a very, very fine movement. The base movement is well-known and praised calibre 1120 – the same as used in the ‘normal’ Overseas Ultra-thin – with an additional QP module on top. This movement used to be the reference for thin automatic high-end watches for decades and still, to this date, is exactly that. It’s still one of the finest calibres on the market, although it has to be sad that only VC and AP are allowed to use it. Altough the Overseas is a sports watch, it still comes with the precious Geneva Hallmark stamped on one of its bridges.
This calibre 1120 QP is perfectly executed and features a gold rotor that is shaped like a wind rose. Bridges are chamfered and polished by hand, the main plate is circular grained, the levers, gears and wheels are hand-finished on all surfaces and the bridges show continuous Geneva stripes. It comprises 276 components all packed in a slim height of 4.05mm. The movement boasts 40 hours of power reserve. Note that the movement is circled by a soft-iron ring and this is supposed to have enough antimagnetic properties to protect the movement from daily exposure to magnetism, while still leaving the movement visible through the sapphire crystal pane in the caseback.