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Vacheron Constantin Overseas ‘Simple Date’ Watch Hands-On

Vacheron Constantin Overseas 'Simple Date' Watch Hands-On Hands-On

SIHH 2016 sees the welcome release of a totally fresh and updated Vacheron Constantin Overseas watch collection – something I have been awaiting with baited anticipation for quite some time. Originally devised by watch designer Jorg Hysek, the Overseas “luxury sport watch collection” was always Vacheron Constantin’s answer to the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak or the Patek Philippe Nautilus. Of course, one major difference was in that it was not designed by Gerald Genta – a detail that, according to Vacheron Constantin during our private conversations, is not often realized by people who cover the Overseas, mistakenly believing it to be a Genta design.

While the Vacheron Constantin Overseas collection of old continues to be produced (while in truth, it will be phased out soon) and is handsome, in my opinion, it suffered from a lack of any visual updates for too long a time, as well as a movement that was no longer able to compete as well against much of the competition. Vacheron Constantin produces very beautiful movements, but some of them are a bit too “vintage” in their focus on mechanical designs from a few generations ago. With the in-house-made Vacheron Constantin calibre 5100, 5200, and 5300 movements – that all changes. The 5300 will be the movement inside of the new smaller women’s versions of the Vacheron Constantin Overseas, and the 5200 movement is fitted into the Overseas Chronograph. For these Vacheron Constantin Overseas (aka “Overseas Simple Date”), my focus is on the calibre 5100.

Vacheron Constantin Overseas 'Simple Date' Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Finally, in 2016 we welcome a truly modern movement in Vacheron Constantin’s flagship sport watch collection. Very attractive in its design and featuring a more modern diameter of 30.6mm wide (for the movement), the caliber 5100 is 4.7mm thick and produced from 172 parts (a suitably low number for what is supposed to be a pretty workhorse). This is also one of the few such modern sport watch movements to bear the Geneva Seal – which, for enthusiasts, is an extra added treat and sign of both aesthetic quality and mechanical performance.

Vacheron Constantin Overseas 'Simple Date' Watch Hands-On Hands-On

The calibre 5100 movement has a power reserve of 60 hours and finally offers 4Hz (28,800 bph) of operating frequency. This is up from the much less competitive 3Hz of the outgoing movement. The 4Hz operating frequency is part of the 5100 movement, as well as the 5200 chronograph, and smaller 5300. Affixed to the automatic movement is a “compass-inspired” (given the engraved design) 22k gold rotor, and you can view the movement through the sapphire crystal exhibition case back.

Vacheron Constantin Overseas 'Simple Date' Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Vacheron Constantin Overseas 'Simple Date' Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Functionally, the 5100 offers the time with central seconds hand and the date. For the new Overseas models, Vacheron Constantin designed a pretty kick-ass dial that is actually an improvement over the previous Overseas dial which wasn’t too bad to begin with. The applied hour indicators are lume-painted and super crisp, offering truly excellent legibility.

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At launch, the brand will offer two dial versions of the Vacheron Constantin Overseas that are both very nice. These same dial colors are available for both the three-hand Vacheron Constantin Overseas Simple Date and the Overseas Chronograph. They are a sunburst-finished silvered dial as well as a gorgeous lacquered blue dial. For me, the three-hand Vacheron Constantin Overseas is best in silver, and the chronograph looks best with the blue dial. Budget notwithstanding, I’d gladly get one of each to get both dial colors.

Vacheron Constantin Overseas 'Simple Date' Watch Hands-On Hands-On

I really can’t see anyone not having a lot of fondness for these dials since Vacheron Constantin satisfied what they should be doing by having a legible dial that is both sporty and extremely classy. The new 2016 Vacheron Constantin Overseas watches are brilliantly conceived despite prices that don’t make the collection any more accessible that it was before – not that we were expecting as much.

Vacheron Constantin Overseas 'Simple Date' Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Case changes to the Overseas are remarkably subtle visually, even though the cases and bracelets are totally new. While the Overseas Chronograph comes in a 42.5mm-wide case, the Vacheron Constantin Overseas Simple Date comes in a 41mm-wide case that is 11mm thick. Given the wide stance of the case with the broad bezel and lugs, it wears extremely well, and I easily prefer it over the Nautilus (at least personally). The Royal Oak is a very different watch, but finally the Vacheron Constantin Overseas is a serious competitor that will no doubt present itself as a desirable option to those who traditionally would have considered the Royal Oak to exist in a class of its own.

Vacheron Constantin Overseas 'Simple Date' Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Like the older Vacheron Constantin Overseas model, the case is water resistant to 150 meters. An interesting feature is the inclusion of a soft-iron “Faraday cage” core which is meant to ward of magnetic fields making the watch “anti-magnetic.” That isn’t the interesting part though. What Vacheron Constantin was able to do is offer a high degree of anti-magnetic resistance but also offer an exhibition caseback. Not sure how this works out in real world performance, but it sounds like a nice solution for those who want an anti-magnetic watch but who of course also want to get a view of the movement.

Vacheron Constantin Overseas 'Simple Date' Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Vacheron Constantin Overseas 'Simple Date' Watch Hands-On Hands-On

One of the most appreciated new features in the 2016 Vacheron Constantin Overseas case is the addition of a quick-release system for the bracelet or straps. A small pusher on the bottom of the watch at each end on the lug structure allows for a quick, tool-less release of the bracelet or strap. Even better is the fact that Vacheron Constantin includes with each Overseas the steel bracelet, alligator strap (with a great perforated nubuck lining), as well as a rubber strap. The 18k pink gold version of the Vacheron Constantin Overseas does not have a bracelet option (yet), but comes with an alligator strap as well as a rubber strap.

Vacheron Constantin Overseas 'Simple Date' Watch Hands-On Hands-On

It is so nice to see a brand like Vacheron Constantin not attempt to nickel-and-dime its customers when it comes to straps, but offering three options with the steel watches. Of course, there will likely be additional strap colors and options available in the future that will need to be purchased – and the straps’ attachments are totally proprietary – but with each purchase, you get a solid set of strap options and that is good news, as far as I am concerned.

Also worth mentioning is that in addition to the quick release system for the straps, there is a new tool-less way to change the deployant buckle between straps. It takes some study of the instructions to train yourself on the process, but I like that this level of detail was engineering into the wearing experience of the new Vacheron Constantin Overseas.

Vacheron Constantin Overseas 'Simple Date' Watch Hands-On Hands-On

While there are a lot of options out there when it comes to high-end sport watches, the Vacheron Constantin Overseas is back as a very desirable option with a nice showy design and a lot of tool watch character. Vacheron Constantin really did not let us down after so long a wait for a new Overseas collection, and I look forward to noticing the type of watch lovers I see out in the world wearing one of the new Vacheron Constantin Overseas models. The Vacheron Constantin Overseas reference 4500V/110A-B126 (silver dial) and reference 4500V/110A-B128 (blue dial) are priced at $19,900 while the reference 4500V/000R-B127 in 18k pink gold is priced at $39,600. vacheron-constantin.com

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  • A_watches

    nice although looks quite similar to a DjII smooth bezel!

  • Very VERY nice! Only minus for me is the seconds hand, which is too prominent–the eye falls on the seconds hand before the hour/minute hands.

    As for the price…i’ve stopped paying attention to them anyway 🙂

  • A_watches

    and that’s a lot of money for “pretty workhorse movement”

    • srs144

      Are you referring to this or every Patek made with the 324 movement?

      • Beefalope

        The correct answer is yes.

  • cervantes

    Nice and needed update. The older Overseas utilized both JLC (3-hand, Dualtime) and F. Piguet (chrono) movements. Not sure what ‘vintage’ movements means. Also there is no faraday cage on the new model as it is indeed impossible to use a straight faraday cage and contain a clear case back. What is being used is a modified version of the technology used in the faraday but without a full enclosure of the movement. This was described yesterday by Mr. Torres in interviews.

  • DR

    Should be fun blowing the dust out of the bezel every night before bed – even the demo models have already picked up a lot of fluff!

    And God knows why the seconds hand runs outside the hour markers.

    The longer I look at these watches, the more confused and frustrating they become.

    • cervantes

      They for some reason decided to use two outer tracks – one for both minutes and seconds. So the second hand extends all the way to the outer track (which sits on a flange). Unnecessary in my opinion, just makes the outer part of the dial too busy.

      • DR

        Yes, I noticed that, too. Once again, the collected genius of the watch industry convenes to drop a couple of flies in an otherwise-delicious soup! 🙂

      • It adds a few mm to the diameter and it looks ok from the angled shots. As far as beefing up the diameter, this is one of the better approaches I’ve seen.

  • iamcalledryan

    It’s handsome, very handsome

  • Astronuts

    This is great watch design. Tastefully repeated shaping on bezel and bracelet, beautiful case back and no numbers except for the date.

  • Raymond Wilkie

    Perfect.

    • Beefalope

      Perfectly boring.

      • Raymond Wilkie

        erm,…….use your own thread. I think its lovely

        • Beefalope

          What, is there a law on thread use?

          Oh, there isn’t.

          Then have a Coke and a smile and …

          • Raymond Wilkie

            Their you go again ! : )

  • Mark Baran

    Very nice updates. I will be curious to see how the new movements perform over the long haul. At that price point, my choice would be an AP 15400ST.

    I do like the brand. One of my favorite designs is the American 1921. VC is at it’s best with classic designs like the reference 82035.

  • BNABOD

    very nice, simple to the point no fuss. drop the 24K gold rotor and then save some dough? is that an option, almost like a salad w no dressing. either way a nice offering here. is the movement hand finished? cannot see beveled edges on it so @ 20K it seems exaggerated but what do I know.

    • Beefalope

      You know that it’s overpriced. Trust your instincts.

  • Feature-for-feature, the new Overseas has a leg up on the Royal Oak and Nautilus.

    Question I’ve asked about at least two recent VC releases, so please help me. The new movement runs at 28,000 bph – eight beats per second. The outer track, there for visual effect only, is incremented for five or ten beats per second. There’s no way to stop the seconds hand, but it’s such an easy detail to get right.

    Is it wrong or am I missing something?

  • Beefalope

    Someone wake me when VC starts doing something interesting with their sub-$50k watches. Above that price point, VC does great stuff. Below it, VC is a snooze fest.

  • yb

    Common, VC with modern metallurgical know how can’t you get 72 hour power reserve.

    • TrevorXM

      Q-tip and Windex. Or, because it’s waterproof to 150m, why not simply put a little mild soap in some water and take a soft toothbrush to it once a month? Rinse. Dry with a soft towel.

  • Marius

    In my opinion, the older version had a more interesting dial. The new reference is nice, but nothing really special. I also find the movement a bit strange: it tries to combine the architecture and layout of a workhorse movement with the Geneva Seal finishing. I also find it very expensive, for $20,000 you can get the Patrimony Traditionell with a gold case and nicer caliber.

    For me, the Royal Oak would be the winner: it has a more interesting case and dial, a more attractive movement, a more iconic name, and it’s also cheaper.

  • funNactive

    I like the bezel style – very clean looking watch. @ 41mm, this is a large as I would want to go.

  • smoothsweeper

    Would happily wear the blue one everyday. 20K is just too much though (for any of those luxury “sport” watches).

  • TrevorXM

    “Workhorse movement” is a term that really doesn’t make a lot of sense to me — and not with this watch. Aren’t all watches worked the same? If they’re being worn regularly, as an only watch or in rotation with others and kept on a winder, then there is nothing that makes one movement a “workhorse” and one not a “workhorse”. If a movement is created and intended for rugged use in a tool watch where it gets knocked around a bit and experiences temperature changes, then that’s a term that might have some merit. However, most non-Japanese tool watches use movements like the ETA 2824 which was not specifically designed for a rugged tool watch. And how can a “workhorse” be in-house designed and made and then finished to the degree that it gets a Geneva Seal and has a gold rotor? If this movement is anything equine, it is a beautifully groomed thoroughbred show horse.

    I’m a big fan of the VC Overseas and VC in general. I think these new models are excellent in every way. Much better looking and more desirable than a fake screw bezel Royal Oak and all the negative association unofficial “brand ambassadors” of that watch, and many, many times better looking than the flat out ugly porthole Patek Nautilus.

  • Bert Kanne

    Don’t Rolex and Seiko offer very similar watches for far less money? I’d like to known why this watch is priced in the stratosphere!

  • Larry Holmack

    Ariel…you travel in much better circles than I do. Even during my working days….a Rolex was about a high end as I ever saw on someone’s wrist. I would rather purchase a Hamilton Spirit of Liberty and get just as nice of a watch for about 5% of the asking price for this one!! I can walk into my local Macy’s and get it for $1145 plus tax.

  • Bruce

    Love that blue, and love the overall simple design. However, I’d sooner get a Rolex Date before this one. Also, while the bezel is certainly unique looking, it reminds me of what a bezel-less dive watch looks like..

  • JimBob

    That’s Nautilus money.

    • simon

      Yes, and they are Pateks direct competitor. The 5711 is 25k retail, this is 20k. One has Geneva Seal and the other Patek Philippe seal movements.

  • spiceballs

    Nice enough, but 20K (for s/s) – – mmm – – – no thanks.

  • commentator bob

    I guess this is Richemont’s response to the claims that the IWC lineup is overpriced (it is). “You want to see overpriced? We’ll show you overpriced.”

    Everything else in the Richemont stable shows what an incredible value Cartier is. Its classic Tank in automatic Solo XL format for $3,450 msrp, the Santos 100 for $7,000 msrp and manufacture dive and chronograph watches with msrps under $10,000.

  • Josh Krut

    It is a great watch standing on its own. Hard to understand how it is going to compete with the Royal Oak given that VC chose to price it on top of the Royal Oak.

  • Maxwellllll

    I read the whole article waiting to find out what the amazing new complication known as a “simple date” was. I’m now thinking that it means that it’s a very simple watch that shows the date. Do I have that right? (And for the record, yes…it’s beautiful, but I’m having a hard time seeing the value proposition vs. Patek or JLC (at half the price!).

    • JP. Coqueran

      Or a Datejust for 1/3 – 1/4 that price…

    • PleaseSpellRoman4AsIV

      The simple date means that the date wheel is simply the same for all watch dials. Which is fine for the white dial, but the blue dial with the white date is barely acceptable on a Tissot PR100 for £170 and definitely not on this watch.

  • frauss

    It’s VC’s Grand Seiko model.

  • I love that when wearing mine no one has any clue what it is.

    Until I go into a business meeting. I know for a fact I’ve gotten contracts just because of this watch.
    My other favorite is my Milgauss GV. People never believe it’s an actual Rolex because of the lightening bolt…which I love.

  • somethingnottaken

    At this price point, surely they could have made custom date wheels to match the dials?

  • Bill

    Having the original VC OS 1 (42040), it’s nice to see that the new face is still a familiar one. With the new movement, it’s a real incentive to start saving…right after my VC H 1912.

  • Jose

    I´d like to introduce my unique Pocket watch from VACHERON AND CONSTANTIN circa1824!
    It has been among my Genoese´s origin family for over 5 generations!

  • Jose

    Have add. pics if you´d like!

  • Jose