November 26, 2017
by Jason Swire
The name “Overseas” immediately calls to mind travel and foreign places, and with a well-executed dual time zone display, the Vacheron Constantin Overseas Dual Time is perhaps the most appropriate traveler’s watch in the collection since their World Time 7700V watch released last year. This latest release is arguably even more wearable than the World Time, with a slimmer profile, an impressive manufacture caliber, and a much more approachable sticker price (for the steel models, anyway), while remaining just as useful for frequent flyers.
Vacheron Constantin was founded in 1755 in Geneva, Switzerland by Jean-Marc Vacheron. Although the company changed hands many times over the years (culminating in the brand’s purchase in 1996 by the Richemont Group, then known as the Vendôme Group), it has remained in continual operation throughout its entire 262-year history. Two and a half centuries of watchmaking from a single company is remarkable. Vacheron Constantin is considered by many to be one of the world’s top watchmakers, and it’s a position they continually defend with pieces like the Les Cabinotiers Celestia Astronomical Grand Complication (hands-on here) or the deceptively nondescript Reference 57260 (discussed here).
But as technically impressive as these halo pieces are, they are also well beyond the reach of mere mortals like most of us. Our relationship with high-end brands tends to be defined by their more accessible (it’s a stretch to call them affordable) collections. The ones that we might actually be able to afford one day if we save our pennies and do a lot of fast-talking with our significant others. For Vacheron Constantin, that collection is the Overseas line, and in my opinion the Vacheron Constantin Overseas Dual Time is one of the coolest models to carry the brand’s flag forward in years.
The dial on the Vacheron Constantin Overseas Dual Time features central hour, minute, and second hands for the local time, while a fourth hand marked with a distinctive red arrow indicates an additional timezone, or “home time.” The AM/PM indicator at 9 o’clock allows the wearer to tell at a glance whether it is daytime or nighttime back home, preventing any unintentional late-night phone-calls. The pointer-style date sub-dial at 6 o’clock is linked to local time and can be set via a dedicated screw-lock pusher at 4 o’clock. The crown can be used to advance local time in one-hour steps in the first position, or dragging adjustment of both time zone hours and minutes hands in the second position. This allows for quick changes to be made to the local time as you travel between time zones, as well as the ability to set the date quickly without interfering with either of the dual time’s displays.
Three versions of the Vacheron Constantin Overseas Dual Time are available. The first two versions are cased in steel, offer the option of either a rich blue dial (reference 7900V/110A-B334) or a silvery white dial (reference 7900V/110A-B333), and come with an attractive steel bracelet as well as both an alligator leather strap and a rubber strap. Color options are available for the straps as well, with both blue and black versions of each on offer. The blue straps seem like a natural fit for the blue dial version, while the black straps offer a monochromatic and dressier look for the silvery-white dial.
An 18K 5N pink gold cased version is also available (reference 7900V/000R-B336), which dresses up this model even further. The gold option omits the bracelet entirely in favor of a brown leather and rubber strap. A tool-free fitting system enables the wearer to switch between strap options with ease, providing on-the-go style versatility. The hour markers, hour hand, and minute hands are made of 18K white gold for the steel-cased versions, or a matching 18K pink gold for the gold-cased version.
With a case size of 41mm by 12.8mm, the Vacheron Constantin Overseas Dual Time is stylistically versatile yet modern in proportion, and should occupy that sweet spot of feeling substantial on the wrist without wearing too large. The case is water-resistant to 15 bar (or approximately 150m), making it suitable for wearing during most water sports, although this is not a diving watch and isn’t designed for wearing over a wetsuit. A soft iron casing ring around the movement also provides enhanced magnetic resistance, but unlike the typical Faraday Cage, it still allows for viewing the movement via the sapphire exhibition caseback.
The high water resistance combined with soft iron casing ring make this a rather durable timepiece, in particular the steel cased versions, which is rather unusual from high-end watchmakers like VC. Many of Vacheron Constantin’s peers tend to produce beautiful yet fragile works of wrist art, which I can’t help but feel shackle their owners into wearing their watches very cautiously, or worse, keeping them in the safe for fear of damaging them. A watch is meant to be worn, and the Vacheron Constantin Overseas Dual Time is one of those rare pieces that combines beauty and pedigree with a certain nonchalance about the lifestyle of its wearer.
All three models feature the manufacture caliber 5110 DT, which properly fills up the watch case unlike the previous generation World Time model. This movement features 234 components, 37 jewels and oscillates at a modern 28,800vph, or 4Hz. A generous 60-hour power reserve is also on offer, provided via two barrels. The rotor is crafted of 22ct gold and is adorned with the emblem of a wind rose, a predecessor to the compass rose found on maps and charts, which enhances the style of this watch as a traveler’s timepiece. The movement is beautifully decorated and stamped with the Geneva Seal, which certifies that the movement is finished to the highest degree as specified by 12 individual criterion by the Swiss Canton of Geneva. The Geneva Seal requirements were also updated in 2012 to include testing the cased-up watch for accuracy, water resistance, power reserve, and functional reliability.
It should be no surprise to anyone who’s read this far that I really like the Vacheron Constantin Overseas Dual Time. While the final judgement will need to be reserved for when we can handle this watch in the metal, I think this is a really clever watch design from the brand. The Overseas Dual Time offers a mix of high durability, style versatility, beautiful finishing and a useful complication in the one package. This could serve very well as someone’s “one watch,” dressy enough for all but the most formal events and durable enough for a weekend on the beach, in whatever foreign country the wearer finds themselves. Both steel-cased versions have an asking price of $24,700, while the pink gold version is priced at $39,500. vacheron-constantin.com