Many of you may know what the “holy trinity” is in the watch world. Although interpretation has certainly shifted over the years, most would agree that it consists of Audemars Piguet, Vacheron Constantin and of course Patek Philippe. To own a watch from each member of the trinity is what most would kill for while all three would just be utter madness in its level of achievement.
Among the trinity, particularly in the “sports” category AP of course has the classic Royal Oak, while Patek Philippe responded with the Nautulis. Today, both of these watches are true benchmarks in the “luxury sports watch” category and do share lots of similarities such as both being released in the 1970’s and designed by the same mastermind Gerald Genta.
While both Audemars Piguet and Patek Philippe were viscously duking it out for collector wrists, Vacheron Constantin had also come out with their own version of a “luxury sports watch” which we know today as the “Overseas”. Although it does not share the same design provenance as both the Royal Oak and the Nautulis, the Overseas has certainly built quite a following on its own.
Even the earliest versions that began in the 1970’s, Vacheron Constantin’s overseas also sported a similar integrated design as both the Royal Oak and the Nautulis. With integrated designs like this one can always expect very smooth transitions between the case and the bracelets that makes it seem like the watch was constructed from a single block of metal. Although each member of the “Trinity” has their own version, between all of them execution is certainly flawless.
Throughout its history the Audemars PIguet Royal Oak and Patek Philippe Nautilus have largely taken the spotlight while Vacheron Constantin ultimately put the Overseas through quite a number of transformations in order to keep up with the other two powerhouses. In the latter 2000’s Vacheron had reintroduced the overseas again but this time with quite a number of drastic differences compared to the earlier references.
First and most noticeable is of course the bracelet which still maintains the integrated design, only now with the beautiful difference of making their iconic maltese cross the main point of inspiration. As you can see, the maltese cross has been split in half and perfectly placed with every link to continue that luxurious appeal primarily achieved with integrated designs. Additionally, Vacheron also fitted the newer pieces with a beautiful guilloche dial in the time only and dual time iterations, while the chronograph was fitted with the beautiful big date window at 12.
For a long time this newer design layout has received many praises and collectors from all over were making some serious considerations for the Overseas even over both the Royal Oak and the Nautulis. Come 2016 it was time for another change and with anything that’s already “good” there is always that concern of possibly fixing something that’s not broken to begin with.
For the newest iterations, Vacheron Constantin has kept most of the good things largely intact. One of the features that I’m gladdest they kept is the integrated bracelet and case design that still continues to incorporate the cut maltese crosses that truly give the overseas collection their unique identity.
As for the other changes, its fair to say that they are indeed drastic. Most noticeably obvious is the dial and of course the movement. Although there were many who criticized these changes, Vacheron Constantin, had decided to make these cases much rounder compared to the last versions which were much sharper and sported a much more industrial look. The goal behind rounding off the cases was to provide a much more elegant appeal versus the rugged from before.
Last but certainly not least is the change to the movements. Originally and for quite some time, the Vacheron Constantin Overseas was the last remaining collection in Vacheron’s line up that completely used outside made movements from either Jaegar Le Coultre and even Frederic Piguet. That is not too say that movements from both those houses are just simply ‘respectable”, they have been a preferred choice for even Audemars Piguet and Patek Philippe in their earlier iterations of both the Nautulis and Royal Oak.
This time, all completely brand new calibers have been fitted in the new Overseas collection. One can now truly enjoy some of the best parts of owning a Vacheron Constantin and that is largely due to the painstaking labor that is involved in the actual finishing of each movement. Since all of these movements are awarded with the Geneva Seal, once can certainly expect only the highest level of finishing down to the perfect chamfers of every last finely polished edge.
With the addition of the new interchangeable strap system, each watch now comes with three straps where owners can easily change into either a crocodile or rubber strap with an easy lock system that activates with a simple switch flip.
Bonus material a look at the Patek Philippe Perpetual Calendar chronograph complication, what a beauty