Jorg Hysek’s ref. 222 was revealed in 1977 to celebrate Vacheron Constantin’s 222nd anniversary and while it is often rumoured to be the inspiration for the iconic Overseas, the tenuous link has finally been confirmed during the Watches & Wonders interview between Style & Heritage Director Christian Selmoni and industry veteran Eric Giroud.
Admittedly, the Vacheron Constantin Overseas is a sports watch while the Ref. 222 was a response to the growing trend of integrated bracelet watches according to Giroud. We have come a long way since the first generation Overseas launched in 1996. Vacheron Constantin didn’t attempt to draw links to the iconic 222 but rather “looked for some elements that could be reinterpreted,” said Selmoni.
Indeed, the most recognisable design element – the bezel – notched on the Ref. 222 was interpreted as a Maltese Cross on the new Vacheron Constantin Overseas according to Selmoni. “This for me was inspired by the style of the 222,” he continued. Fact is, both timepieces were exemplars of their respective eras, the 222 being a child of the 70s while the Overseas being emblematic of the 90s. It is an assessment that Giroud shares as well, he added, “they’re not connected by DNA but rather by era. This willingness to challenge the world we live in.”
The Pinnacle: New Overseas Perpetual Calendar Ultra-Thin
There’s no mistaking that integrated bracelet luxury sports watch is the hottest, most competitive segment in watchmaking today; Exemplified by the Nautilus and Royal Oak, where the new Vacheron Constantin Overseas stands apart is in how evocative the current models are with regard to past iterations. Gone are the brutal and robust lines from the 2nd generation 2004 model with the newcomer introducing thinner, more distinctive, finely finished elements and accents to create a more sophisticated aesthetic for Maison’s established sportive line. For Watches & Wonders 2021, Vacheron Constantin has unveiled perhaps the most aesthetically evolved variants of the series yet – the Overseas Perpetual Calendar Ultra-Thin and the Overseas Perpetual Calendar Ultra-Thin Skeleton – in white gold with blue dials.
Understated luxury seems to be the name of the game at Vacheron Constantin. Unveiling a slew of white precious metal timepieces which look like steel until you get close enough to notice the distinctive sheen and shimmer, in everything from the Historiques American 1921 range to the new Vacheron Constantin Overseas Overseas Perpetual Calendar Ultra-Thin. At slightly under 42mm and 8.1mm thinness, the pair of new white gold Overseas Perpetual Calendar Ultra-Thin are quite unostentatious – that is until you feel that heavy metal on the wrist.
The Mark of Greatness: Geneva Seal
The new Overseas Perpetual Calendar Ultra-Thin in white gold is driven by the Maison’s manufacture calibre 1120 QPSQ/1 movement with complete perpetual calendar (date, day, month, leap year) and moonphases. Incidentally, the rose-gold edition bearing the same movement won the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève for Calendar and Astronomy. At just 4.05mm thick, the calibre 1120 QPSQ is finished to a technical and aesthetic standard which allows it to bear the Hallmark of Geneva: This feat of watchmaking artistry contains 276 parts supporting a 40-hour power reserve.
The Vacheron Constantin Overseas Perpetual Calendar Ultra-Thin in skeleton and lacquered blue dial models are presented with three interchangeable straps — a matching white gold bracelet, as well as a blue alligator, and a blue rubber strap with white gold buckles.
Vacheron Constantin Overseas Ultra-Thin Perpetual Calendar Price & Specs
Case 41.5 mm wide 8.1 mm thick white gold case with 50 metres water resistance
Movement Automatic Calibre 1120 QP/1 with 40 hours power reserve
Price US$97,000; US$130,000 for Overseas Ultra-Thin Perpetual Calendar Skeleton. Both are Boutique Exclusive
(Images: Vacheron Constantin)