INTRODUCING: The Vacheron Constantin Overseas Limited Editions “Everest”Zach Blass
Today is a neat day for the watch community, and especially for VIP Vacheron Constantin collectors. When I received this press release, I had to pinch myself to see if I was dreaming. Fortunately I wasn’t. When Vacheron Constantin first debuted their prototype Overseas, made for adventurer and photographer Cory Richards to wear on his summit of Mt. Everest, the initial reaction was something like: “C’mon Vacheron, make this a standard production watch.” With only one made, many envied Cory Richards for getting to wear this watch, and later the individual who was lucky enough to win it at auction from Phillips. While not standard production, Vacheron fans have gotten the next best thing – a slightly tweaked limited edition run of 150 pieces alongside a new chronograph variant also limited to 150 pieces. Let’s dive into the new Vacheron Constantin Overseas Limited Editions “Everest” collection.
Starting with the dual time, the new limited edition watch is nearly identical to the original prototype with a few minor tweaks to refine the offering for the larger marketplace. The dimensions and essence are the same, with a titanium and stainless steel case 41mm in diameter and 12.8mm thick. Its bezel, crown, pusher guard, and pusher are made of a darker bead-blasted titanium with the bezel ring fabricated in stainless steel. This is the first small difference between the new dual time and the prototype, as the original utilised a combination of titanium and tantalum instead of stainless steel. The original also had an orange arrow etched/engraved into the case that aligned with the pusher below the crown. It is a subtle switch up that keeps the prototype unique while also ensuring the allure of the limited edition is not diluted.
While the Overseas has always positioned itself as a dressy sports watch, this watch definitely skews towards sporty in nature. There are darker and more matte tones to the case thanks to its titanium elements, especially noticed in the Maltese Cross bezel which usually shines brilliantly with polish in standard models. That being said, mixed finishes are still present on the case body, with the caseband, lug bevels, pusher head, and outer bezel ring perimeter mirror finished. But the front-facing elements are primarily executed with rich brushing. Befitting of a watch that was originally designed to summit one of the hardest climbs in the world, the Dual Time is 150 metres water-resistant and further secured by its screw-down crown and date correcting pusher.
The new Chronograph variant shares the same design elements, a mixed finished stainless steel/titanium case, bezel, crown, pusher guards, and pusher made of titanium, and a bezel ring fashioned in stainless steel. It is, however, just a tad larger with a diameter of 42.5mm and a thickness of 13.7mm. In the same sporting spirit, the Chronograph “Everest” is also 150 metres water-resistant with a screw-down crown and screw-down pushers to ensure maximum robustness.
The common thread between the new and limited duo is the grained blue-grey dials, a fresh change of pace from the lacquered dials of norm. It is rugged yet elegant, its texture meticulously and masterfully created to give this Overseas pair a distinguishing look practically identical to the prototype it was inspired by. While at first glance the Dual Time might appear to be a GMT, you will notice the inner bezel scale does not signal 24 hours. Instead it serves as a stepped secondary minutes track that ensures legibility of the time. The central orange arrow hand will actually make a full revolution around the dial every 12 hours instead of 24, with the AM/PM indicator at 9′ conveying what section of the day the second time zone is in. At 6′ a date indicator breaks up the grained nature of the dial, with a concentric textured sub-dial that is far more discernible thanks to its contrasting tone.
The chronograph follows suit with the design codes, blue-grey grained dial, orange hands tied to its complication, and sub-dials with a concentric texture to make them pop against the grained dial. At 9′ is your running seconds register, 6′ your 12 hour elapsed hours register, and 3′ your 30 minute elapsed minutes register. I know the 4:30 date position is not particularly a fan favorite, but its white on blue grey disc blends well into the dial and ultimately is a functional necessity of the movement. Perhaps down the line the operatic 12:00 date window will return, but I don’t think this style of date window is a deal breaker by any means. Both watches have luminous coatings to the central 18K gold hands (hours and minutes on the chronograph and hours, minutes, and dual time hours on the dual time) and 18K gold applied hour indices for increased visibility in darkness. You also have an applied Maltese Cross logo above the printed Vacheron Constantin branding at 12′.
The Vacheron Constantin Overseas Limited Editions “Everest” watches are both packaged with a quick-change (see the tabs on the underside) grey Cordura fabric strap with orange stitching and black nubuck leather under alongside a a second quick-change grey rubber strap more befitting of the 150 meter depth rating. Each are secured by a titanium/stainless steel folding clasp for optimal comfort. Notably missing is the usual three strap bundle that includes a bracelet as well, but even as bracelet-man myself I actually think this watch looks best on its Cordura strap. Perhaps this ties it the most to the original prototype, which had a slightly different Cordura strap paired to it. The grey rubber, as I mentioned before, is a welcome summertime addition as it is the most apt for beachy adventures.
Both movements are proudly displayed via an exhibition caseback. The Dual Time uses the in-house self0winding caliber 5110 DT/2 developed and manufactured by Vacheron with a NAC treatment that provides a contemporary anthracite gray tone to the bridges and a 22K pink gold Overseas oscillating weight with an Everest engraving directly pulled from a photograph taken by Cory Richards. It boasts 60 hours of power reserve and 234 components finished to the standard of the Hallmark of Geneva with chamfered bridges and Côtes de Genève.
A self-winding column wheel chronograph movement powered the Chronograph “Everest”, the in-house caliber 5200/2 also developed and manufactured by Vacheron Constantin. The 263 component movement is Hallmark of Geneva certified as well, with equally illustrious decorations and a solid 52 hours of power reserve.
If I had one critique for these watches, it would be my assumption that these 300 pieces will be very difficult to secure unless you have a past purchase history with the brand. I could be wrong in this regard, and perhaps it will be more “first come, first served” then I imagine. Either way, it is likely demand will far exceed supply and I would not hesitate to make an inquiry for this piece if you are interested because it is likely to go quick. We can’t be too fussed, as it is a limited -dition collection after all – one none of us necessarily expected would follow the piece unique prototype – but whoever does manage to secure one will own a timepiece that lives up to the brand’s motto in many respects: “One of not many”.
Vacheron Constantin Overseas Limited Editions “Everest” pricing & availability:
The Vacheron Constantin Overseas Limited Editions “Everest” are limited to 150 pcs. each, sold exclusively through Vacheron Constantin Boutiques worldwide beginning in October. Price: Dual Time – $44,900 AUD, Chronograph – $53,500 AUD