At this year’s edition of Watches & Wonders — the Genevan trade show that brings the bulk of the Swiss watch industry together — Vacheron Constantin unveiled a plethora of complicated novelties, many unified by their fixation on the retrograde date.
As such, the debut of two smaller sizes (34.5mm and 35mm) in the sporty-chic Overseas collection passed relatively unmarked, but with Watches & Wonders months in the rearview, we thought it high time to revisit these — especially now that three versions have arrived in Australia.
Likely to prove the most commercially compelling new watches Vacheron has released in 2023, the addition of 35mm and 34.5mm cases mean there’s now something fit for everybody, in the overarching Overseas line-up.
In the past, the collection has veered between discreet (e.g. 33mm) quartz-powered designs or a more robust 42.5mm format — admittedly understandable when you’re incorporating chronograph movements or a skeletonised tourbillon.
Christian Selmoni, Director of Style & Heritage at Vacheron Constantin — a man who lives up to the former half of his title in a big way — explains these new sizes “correspond to an aesthetic trend dictated by more classical standards”.
Not too big, not too small, the new Overseas in pink gold is calibrated perfectly for discretion. Importantly, Selmoni asserts that these diameters are “equally suited to both men’s and women’s wrists” — even those models with diamond-set bezels.
Slender Man: The Vacheron Constantin Overseas, Non-Set & 34.5mm
Even in the case of the new gem-set Overseas models (more on those shortly), the tech and form language are derived from the 34.5mm size. Hence where we’re starting.
A watch that will immediately resonate with a good chunk of the Boss Hunting audience, it takes the spirit of the long-running Overseas collection — travel, elegance, robust wearability — and distils it into a mid-size diameter that appeals to good taste, as opposed to the arbitrariness of gender.
Slimmer, and with a finer contour, this new model still nails the hallmarks of the collection. There’s the six-sided bezel, evoking the branches of Vacheron Constantin’s iconic Maltese Cross logo; the velveted minute track; a superb sunburst dial (the brand has ‘played the blues’ well for years); and distinctive tonneau case. (The last is crucial to the way that the 34.5mm Overseas wears slightly large-to-size.)
What really solidifies this gem-free Overseas’ wearability is the interchangeable accessories. Even amongst its gilded ‘Holy Trinity’ peers, Vacheron Constantin was the first to embrace such a system: beginning in 2016 with the launch of the third-generation Overseas.
In 2023, that innovation continues. This pink gold number is usually seen on the matching 18K bracelet — there’s something to be said for the fashion-forward energy of that look — but collectors are able to swap this out, as they please, with two accompanying straps in calfskin and rubber. To take this ease of customisation a step further, wearers can even change each strap’s clasp/buckle, so that new rubber straps can be added to your collection without doubling up on metal hardware.
On the flipside, Vacheron Constantin opted to kit these top-shelf sports watches with the calibre 1088/1: a movement Selmoni says has “already proven its worth within our collections”. This being the work of a grand old Maison, its bridges are adorned with all the usual Côtes de Genève and bevelled finishing. But our favourite centrepiece? The rotor.
This solid gold winding mass (22K) rotates, with the wearer’s usual range of motion, to generate a 40-hour reserve of power and (more importantly) shows off an impressive array of finishes. As with previous generations of the Overseas, this includes a motif embodying the collection’s core theme of “travel and exploration” — the compass rose.
‘Game Of Tones’: The Gem-Set 35mm Overseas Models
Utilising the same calibre, design motifs, and (in one case) even the same dial execution, these sparkling examples of the mid-sized Overseas are a more wearable proposition than you might think.
Vacheron Constantin executives make no bones about the fact that they want uncompromising female collectors with a “taste for adventure” to wear this icy 35mm reference — as showcased by the brand’s latest artistic collaborator, Zaria Forman — but that does nothing to diminish the watch’s wearability with male tastemakers.
Pink gold is, by many accounts, the rarest non-white metal employed at Vacheron. (It was big in the early 20th century, before undergoing a multi-decade hiatus in the 1960s.) To us, the nuanced way in which it’s now being reintroduced is embodied in the 35mm Overseas set with 90 diamonds.
Two columns of round-cut gems gild the bezel, with the white-hot brilliance of a cosmic halo. Beyond the hint of extravagance that such setting brings, Selmoni was quick to point out that these embellishments help to accentuate the watch’s nuanced tone-on-tone aesthetic.
“We wanted to offer a shade that would be different from the classic silver tone that usually goes with this type of pink gold watch fitted with a bracelet in the same metal,” explains Selmoni. “And yes: we were inspired by the pink gold combinations found in many of the Maison’s creations since the 1940s.”
If you’ve enjoyed this exploration of Vacheron Constantin’s latest Overseas references in pink gold, then why not consider other watch-related stories? Here are a few favourites to get you started:
- Vacheron Constantin Moves Forward By Looking Back, For Its New 2023 Novelties
- Breitling’s Australian Limited Edition Has A Dial To Die For
- Collector’s Corner: The Watches (And Wisdom) Of Mark Cho, Co-Founder Of The Armoury
- Omega’s Sandstone Aqua Terra Offers Quite A Bit Of Bang For Your Watchmaking Buck