Photography by Jacob Witkin

If you’ve been paying attention to what watch brands have been releasing over the last few years, you’ll no doubt have noticed more choices in the smaller watch category. Plenty of mid-30mm variants sit comfortably alongside counterparts that hover around the 40mm mark. What’s not to like about more options; it’s a win for watch buyers everywhere. And it’s not just the lazy “shrink it and stick a quartz movement” strategy of yesteryear but rather a more thoughtful approach to building a smaller version that’s as close to the original as possible that doesn’t feel “less than.” It’s just a size choice, no let-down necessary. This brings me to the 34.5mm editions of Vacheron Constantin’s smash hit, the Overseas. We went hands-on with the Vacheron Constantin Overseas Self-Winding 34.5mm watches, which include (almost all) the same bells and whistles as the flagship 41mm watches.

Vacheron Constantin offers the Overseas Self-Winding 34.5mm watches in stainless steel or pink gold. Contrary to popular belief, these are not strictly women’s watches. As Christian Selmoni, Director of Style and Heritage at Vacheron Constantin, explains, “These new watches correspond to an aesthetic trend dictated by more classical standards. It is characterized by a reduction in the size of the watches, which are equally suited to both men’s and women’s wrists.” I happen to agree with this sentiment. These Overseas watches include cases that measure 34.5mm in diameter, 9.33mm thick, and 42mm lug-to-lug, which looks and feels great on a range of wrists, whether on mine or Jacob Witkin’s 6.5-inch wrist, as seen in these photographs. The low-profile case can disappear under a sleeve when necessary or be proudly shown off when the moment calls for it. I’m a big fan of the design of the Overseas, so in my head, the moment always calls for it.

Advertising Message

The case is topped with the distinctive Overseas bezel, characterized by bezel notches that are shaped to mimic the branches of the Maltese cross. The bezel looks even more prominent on a smaller case, which, in my opinion, is not a bad thing since this component plays a sizable role in the watch’s personality. The surface of the bezel is polished, contrasting nicely with the satin-brushed surfaces of the rest of the case while also matching the other shiny finishes found on the beveled edges and bracelet links. On the subject of bracelets, like the larger versions, these petite Overseas models also benefit from Vacheron Constantin’s interchangeability system to easily swap out bracelets and straps. It’s a good thing that the watches come with three band options. The first is the bracelet with half Maltese cross-shaped links, which locks seamlessly with the case to create the classic integrated bracelet style of Overseas watches. Then there are the blue calfskin leather straps with light grey stitching and blue textured rubber straps. No surprises here, but the watches take on a whole new look depending on which bracelet and/or strap it’s paired with. Call me old-fashioned, but my favorite is the bracelet — but I do appreciate the variety of styles the extra straps offer. The bracelet is like a pair of killer boots that goes with anything, the leather band is akin to casual yet elegant loafers, and the rubber strap is like your favorite ready-to-go-wherever sneakers.

Both the steel and pink gold versions are furnished with the same blue-lacquered, sunburst finish dials; I’m sure I’m not alone here, but I think Vacheron Constantin makes some of the best blue dials out there. They’re rich in pigment, just shimmery enough to keep you looking, and the right shade of blue that’s never out of place. Those dials are home to blue Super-LumiNova-filled applied hour markers and hands, accompanied by a date window at 3 o’clock. A closer look at the periphery reveals that the minutes track does not have the same sunburst surface as the rest of the dial but a velvet finish instead.

The sapphire caseback shows us the Caliber 1088/1 automatic movement that powers the watch, built with 144 components and operating at a frequency of 28,800 beats per hour (4 Hz). This movement’s 40-hour power reserve is significantly less than the 60 hours supplied by the Caliber 5100 inside the 41mm versions of the Overseas Self-Winding, but that’s to be expected since the latter includes twin barrels — something this smaller movement can’t accommodate. The 22k gold rotor is beautifully decorated with the customary (for the Overseas) compass rose while the rear bridges are finished with the traditional Côtes de Genève pattern. It’s also worth mentioning that the case is — like its 41mm big brother — water-resistant to 150 meters.

Advertising Message

In short, aside from the aforementioned power reserve, the mid-size Overseas Self-Winding 34.5mm watches offer all the same specifications and appeal as the larger models. As is expected from Vacheron, the fit, feel, and finish are all superb. The pink gold Overseas 34.5mm ref. 4600V/200R-B979 is priced at USD 52,000  while the steel Overseas 34.5mm ref. 4600V/200A-B980, which is a Boutique Exclusive, is priced at USD 23,100. So, if you’ve been eyeing an Overseas and mid-size is what’s right for your wrist, then the 34.5mm Overseas is a solid option that doesn’t sacrifice specs and style for a smaller size. For more information, please visit the brand’s website

Advertising Message

Subscribe to our Newsletter