It’s the John Wick henchman watch. The Eastern European oligarch bath house special. It’s super thin, and super over-the-top, but the heart wants what the heart wants. And even though the heart really wants the Vacheron Constantin Overseas Perpetual Calendar Ultra-Thin in stainless steel, I’ll consider this whisper-thin rose gold case set with a new full-gold bracelet and a gorgeous new dial option a damned decent consolation prize.
Truth be told, we’ll probably never get an Overseas Ultra-Thin in anything but precious metals, despite our annual post-SIHH mutterings, ever since it was introduced back in 2016. And honestly, it just doesn’t make a ton of sense given the Overseas’ general product map. In short, this is a collection designed around the worldly and well-heeled traveler, so its sportier elements naturally get stainless steel cases, 150 meters of water resistance and more practical complications (3-hand, GMT, chronograph, worldtime, etc.). Ultra-Thin references lean more towards genuine haute horology, and are thus only available in precious metals with 50 meters of water resistance, and in either time-only (no date or running seconds) or the perpetual calendar, found here. I can’t argue with the logic – the Overseas is inherently a luxury sports watch, but when you experience the intoxicating sleekness and incredible comfort of the Ultra-Thin, it’s hard to imagine wanting to wear an Overseas any other way. Which is a shame, because the steel Overseas is hardly ‘thick’ by any standards, measuring a relatively slim 11mm. But at 8.1mm and now with a solid gold bracelet, the 41.5mm Ultra-Thin is a whole new ballgame.
The bracelet isn’t the only new addition here – the Ultra-Thin perpetual also gets a lovely new blue dial, though I’d argue that the silver remains the one to get. Now, a new bracelet option and dial color certainly don’t seem deserving of too much of a response, especially when viewed on the same stage as Vacheron’s show-stealing Twin Beat Perpetual Calendar, but they’re collectively enough to lightly re-shape the wearing experience of the Overseas – especially important for those that like a little wrist presence, but still want the wispy thin case profile. Just don’t over-think the added weight of the solid gold bracelet – the signature downturned lugs of the Overseas keep things snug and locked in place.
As exceptional as the bracelet comfort may be, I personally have never loved the overlaid Maltese Cross design – or really the Overseas’ general obsession with incorporating the symbol on nearly every aspect of the watch – from the dial, bezel, and crown to the caseback, clasp, and each of the three included strap options. My favorite of the three would have to be the textured rubber strap – it preserves the sporty underpinnings of the Overseas, while lightening the overall wrist presence and breaking up the visual homogeny that an integrated case and bracelet often produce. Plus, c’mon – an interchangeable rubber strap on a solid gold perpetual calendar that should never see a drop of water? If that doesn’t get you a little warm under the collar, I don’t know what will.
Inside, we’ve got Vacheron’s 1120 QP (an abbreviation for ‘quantième perpétuel’) automatic movement, which is only 4.05mm thick – a hair thicker than two nickels stacked on top of each other. It houses 276 parts, and runs at 2.75 Hz (19,800 vph) which delivers a power reserve of around 40 hours. Bearing a Geneva Seal for presentation and timekeeping, it’s an unsurprisingly meticulously finished movement exhibiting the day of the week in a subdial at 9 o’clock, the date in a subdial at 3 o’clock, the month and leap year on a 48-month subdial at 12 o’clock (with a leap year indicator), and the moon phase at 6 o’clock. I particularly love how the blue moonphase aperture tends to stand out a bit more against the silver dial – another reason to stick with the more classic reference amongst the three options.
Logic of the gold aside, I’d be remiss if I broke tradition – so in a word, the Overseas Ultra-Thin Perpetual Calendar is great and all, but if we could just get it in stainless steel, the world would be right again. For now, you can get it in white gold with a gray dial, or rose gold with silver (ref. 4300V/120R-B064) or blue dials (ref. 4300V/000R-B509). On strap, the Ultra-Thin Perpetual has a price of $77,500. That price jumps to $92,500 on the solid gold bracelet – an option which includes both the leather and rubber straps as well. Learn more about the Overseas collection over at vacheronconstantin.com.