News October 2006

Happy Birthday Overseas!

Vacheron Constantin celebrates 10 years of the legendary Overseas collection

The Watch Quote™ - October 14th, 2006



In 1996, the sporty Vacheron Constantin Overseas Collection was launched and a legend was born. Ten years on, the legend continues to evolve and impress with its dynamic look, harmonious lines, and technical and aesthetic purity. To mark the ten years of this exceptional Collection, Vacheron Constantin is launching four new Haute Horlogerie Overseas watches – a yellow gold chronograph to compliment the already much sought after chronographs in the Overseas Collection, and three totally new dual time watches – a mouth-watering anniversary celebration limited edition 18K rose gold dual time with a unique chocolate-colored dial, plus a yellow gold dual time with a traditional Overseas silver guillochéed dial and, the dual time core of the Collection, a dual time in stainless steel, offered in a choice of silver or black guillochéed dials – perfect partners for the contemporary travelers overseas.


Travel across continents

Travel across continents is a concept that has been close to the heart of Vacheron Constantin since its inception. In 1810, Jacques Vacheron started the trend, traveling throughout Europe selling his handcrafted watches to kings, emperors and the rich and powerful. As the company grew so did the extent of its travels. In 1819, François Constantin expanded the concept – crossing oceans to promote the company’s masterpiece watches in both North and South America. By the 1930s many of Vacheron Constantin’s clientele were those who regularly traveled overseas for both business and pleasure, so it was natural that when in 1932, Vacheron Constantin created its first stainless steel watch it was with this group of sporty, energetic travelers in mind.


Changes Over Time

Since 1973, Vacheron Constantin has pioneered the use of stainless steel for dynamic, functional modern watches, so much so that now the modern Overseas is confirmed as one of the most accomplished timepieces in this class. It was therefore not surprising when, in 1977, Vacheron Constantin celebrated its 222nd anniversary launching an unusual stainless steel watch on the market. Code-named "222" its case was a sophisticated one-piece construction opened by a screwed-in, porthole-type bezel and designed for intensive use under trying conditions. Along with an integrated bracelet, the 222 featured a luminous dial and hour markers providing perfect legibility through a glare-proofed sapphire crystal, plus a crown with twin protective gaskets. Crafted in gold, stainless steel or a combination of the two, the 222 was water-resistant to 120 meters (nearly 400 feet) and the case, unusually for the period, featured a protective antimagnetic screen. A contemporary, functional and exclusive watch it carried the ultra-thin and shock-resistant automatic movement 1121 driven by a 21K gold rotor. Today, the 222 is a watch that is a “must” in any 1970s watch collection – the forerunner of the Overseas Collection it marked the coming of age of the world of adventure, travel, sport and recreation and its inherent need for accurate timekeeping.



In 1996, the Overseas Collection was launched, introduced in three versions – Large, medium and ladies’ sizes. It instantly distinguished itself, winning recognition as one of the most accomplished timepieces in its class, its crisp, stylish lines and functional efficiency complimenting its powerful personality. In 2004, the Overseas benefited from further technical developments perpetuating its predecessors’ unique character and confirming the design’s enduring relevance with discreetly increased dimensions and even more smoothly flowing lines, an extra supple bracelet, and luminous coated dials and hands for optimum legibility in all conditions – all emphasizing its sought-after contemporary look. A major feature of the 2004 Collection was the incorporation of Vacheron Constantin’s state-of-the-art totally antimagnetic screen in soft-iron to protect the Overseas’ precious movement and prevent the innumerable magnetic fields, which threaten modern precision instruments, from affecting the movement’s rate and accuracy.

Given such a powerful history, what could be more perfect in 2006, than to celebrate the Overseas Collection’s 10th anniversary and mark its continuation at the top of Haute Hologerie world than with four new, much-awaited complication pieces: three totally new Overseas Dual Time watches – a complication most useful to travelers “overseas” – and the long awaited yellow gold Overseas Chronograph.


The Long Awaited Yellow Gold Overseas Chronograph



Redesigned in 2004, the Overseas Chronograph was, until now, only available in stainless steel, but to mark the 10th anniversary of the Overseas Collection, Vacheron Constantin designers have created the long awaited Overseas Collection 18K yellow gold self-winding chronograph. The case’s 42 mm diameter reveals a broad, easy-to-read dial. With a power reserve of 40 hours, its caliber 1137 selfwinding mechanical movement – beating at 21,600 vibrations per hour – comprises the meticulously hand-finished components that are the hallmark of all Vacheron Constantin movements. Vacheron Constantin’s renowned soft-iron antimagnetic screen certified to 25,000 A/m shields the movement from modern magnetic perturbations that threaten the precision of such highly technical complications.

Carrying all the much-loved Overseas Chronograph classic features: discreetly increased dimensions, smoothly flowing lines, extra supple demi-Maltese Cross bracelet, luminous coated dials and hands and the Maltese Cross and Overseas emblems, the yellow gold Overseas Chronograph epitomizes the tradition and complication of the Collection. The case’s screw-locked crown and pushpieces, the latter fitted with a knurled locking nut, offers complete protection against external hazards. Built to withstand pressures equivalent to 150 meters (nearly 500 feet) under water, the Overseas Chronograph remains perfectly legible even in dim light thanks to the highly luminous white compound coating on its gold index hour markers and baton hands. Along with its chronograph functions, hours, minutes, and seconds, the yellow gold Overseas Chronograph dial features two totalizers, to 30 minutes and 12 hours respectively, each with oxidized 18K gold hands, and an oversized date calendar in twin apertures at 12 o’clock. The whole is set against a typically exquisite Vacheron Constantin silver guillochéed dial.

The strength of its design is exemplified and endorsed by the exclusive Vacheron Constantin Maltese Cross configuration of its bracelet links, which symbol is also to be found on its bezel. Classic and luxurious, expressing the sleekly functional elegance and sporty image of its predecessors in alternately gloss- and satin-polished finish, the Overseas Chronograph in yellow gold is superbly wearable for both men and women.


The New Overseas Dual Time Watches

Totally new to the Overseas Collection are the three special Overseas Dual Time pieces to be launched during the Collection’s 10th anniversary celebrations, complementing and reinforcing Vacheron Constantin’s position at the top of Haute Hologerie. Not content with producing two superbly seductive Overseas Dual Time pieces: a yellow gold Overseas Dual Time (with silver guillochéed dial), and, following the tradition of the Overseas Collection in stainless steel (this last with a choice of either a black or silver guillochéed dial), the designers at Vacheron Constantin have also decided to go that one step further and have created for us a unique watch, an absolute visual and technical delight, an exquisite Overseas Dual Time in 18K rose gold with a mouth-watering, celebratory chocolate-colored dial available in a limited edition of just 250 pieces.

Traveling between continents and being continuously on the move are an accepted part of everyday life for today’s average professional, as is the ability to juggle time zones and to keep track of contacts wherever they are in the world. This is why the distinctive look, technical functions and attributes of the Overseas’ Dual Time compliment both its sporty heritage and the needs of the modern traveler. Driven by Vacheron Constantin’s self-winding caliber 1222 – beating at 28,800 vibrations per hour – it offers, in addition to hour, minute and center seconds - the possibility of easily reading off a second time zone from a 12-hour subdial situated at 6 o’clock, with a smaller complementary 24-hour indicator, positioned alongside it, easily distinguished by its hand sweeping over the day and night zones. The second time zone is adjusted very simply by means of the winding and time-setting crown, the whole is complimented by a date subdial and a sweeping 40-hour power reserve indicator. The typical Overseas indexes and baton hands are coated with a luminescent substance for optimum legibility at all times.

Faithful to its sporting heritage, the Overseas Dual Time case weds dependable sturdiness to understated elegance and its discreetly large 42mm diameter makes for perfect readability of all its functions. Its bezel, featuring a Maltese cross pattern – Vacheron Constantin’s long-standing symbol – and case back are screwed tightly to the frame, compressing numerous water-resisting gaskets so as to provide the most effective protection against moisture and minute particles of foreign matter. This constructional approach provides full water resistance to 150 meters (approx. 500 feet). Screw-locked setting crowns and chronograph pushpieces complete the watches’ external protection systems. Following the long observed tradition, the case’s screw-secured back bears the collection emblem – a sailing ship carved directly into the metal.

Inside the case, its caliber 1222 movement benefits from equally efficient protection. Every Overseas movement is totally shielded by a soft-iron antimagnetic screen, to protect the precious movement and prevent the innumerable magnetic fields, which threaten modern precision instruments, from affecting the movement’s rate and accuracy.

Totally designed for ergonomic excellence, the Overseas Dual Time bracelet provides unprecedented suppleness and comfort on the wrist. Easy to adjust, it benefits from a three-ply invisible clasp with twin safety catch. The exclusive Vacheron Constantin demi-Maltese Cross configuration of its links and its meticulous alternately gloss- and satin-polished finish give the bracelet its arresting good looks.

Vacheron Constantin Overseas Chronograph Yellow Gold

Technical specifications


Reference:49150/B01J-9215
Movement:Chronograph: V.C. 1137 selfwinding mechanical caliber entirely protected by a soft-iron antimagnetic screen.
Functions:Chronograph: hours, minutes and seconds; totalizers to 30 minutes and 12 hours; oversized date calendar at 12 o’clock on the dial, 40-hour power reserve.
Movement thickness:6,60 mm
Movement diameter:11 1/2’’’
Ø 26.00 mm
Frequency:21,600 v.p.h.
Case:18K Yellow gold
Water resistance:to 150 meters (approx. 500 feet)
Bracelet:18K yellow gold satin and polish finished, half-Maltese-cross link shape
Clasp:Three-ply yellow gold with twin safety-catch pushpieces

Vacheron Constantin Overseas Dual Time

Technical specifications


Reference:47450/B01A-9226 and 47450/B01A-9227 (stainless steel),
47450/B01J-9228 (yellow gold),
47450/B01R-9229 (pink gold - Limited Edition of 250 pieces)
Movement:caliber 1222 selfwinding mechanical, entirely protected by a soft-iron antimagnetic screen.
Functions:hours, minutes and center seconds; date, second time zone, day/night indicator, 40-hour power reserve
Movement thickness:4.95 mm
Movement diameter:11 1/2’’’
Ø 26.00 mm
Frequency:28,800 v.p.h.
Case:stainless steel, yellow gold, pink gold
Dial:black or silver guilloche, silver guilloche, chocolate brown satin finish
Water resistance:to 150 meters (approx. 500 feet)
Bracelet:Stainless steel polished and satin finished stainless steel, polish- and satin-finish yellow gold, polish- and satin-finish pink gold - half-Maltese-cross link shape
Clasp:Three-ply stainless steel with twin safety-catch pushpieces

Nonmagnetic horology:

A constant concern for Vacheron Constantin, whose pioneering research into antimagnetic protection for watches goes back over 160 years

Designed to the finest and latest standards of functional performance, every version of the new Overseas design incorporates efficient protection against magnetic hazards. Whether its movement is mechanical or quartz electronic, this ensures that an Overseas will retain its exceptional precision unaffected by the numerous magnetic fields, which abound today.

Every version of the new Overseas is totally encapsulated with a three-part, soft-iron antimagnetic screen. The magnetic protection standard adopted by Vacheron Constantin ranks among watchmaking’s most stringent, providing a dependable shield against potential magnetic perturbations and ensuring in this way that it maintains a reliably regular operating rate.

The exceptional protection against magnetic fields built into the new Overseas generation has its roots in the Vacheron Constantin company’s longstanding interest in protecting timepieces against such hazards, as befits the world’s oldest full-fledged watch manufacturer in uninterrupted operation since its foundation in 1755. In 1846, the Geneva-based company was the first to devise a watch impervious to magnetic influence by fitting it with a balance spring, balance wheel and lever crafted in a special bronze alloy. Its watchmakers tested palladium balance springs in 1862, the year that saw Vacheron Constantin join the Association for Research into Nonmagnetic Materials.

In 1885, Vacheron Constantin built the first watch bearing its name that incorporated a complete lever assortment designed to withstand magnetic fields: its balance wheel, balance spring and lever shaft were made of palladium while the lever arms were fashioned in bronze and the escape wheel in gold.

Vacheron Constantin’s interest in the design of watches capable of resisting magnetic fields continued throughout the 20th century. Building on its reputation, its watchmakers designed and, from 1954 to 1959, built a chronometer so resistant to magnetic fields that it was the wrist instrument of choice for many knowledgeable engineers in electrotechnics. Fitted inside a round case with screwed-in back and watertight pushpieces, its 13-line movement beating at 18,800 v.p.h. was protected by a soft-iron hood shielding it from magnetic fields.

Time Zones,

a longstanding source of fascination and exploration for Vacheron Constantin

Watchmaking has always taken account of the requirements of a given period, incorporating the functions required to meet them within its creations. The history of mechanical complications clearly confirms this propensity, including the minute repeater developed to compensate for the lack of nocturnal lighting, or the alarm function designed to help people keep track of schedules, to mention just two such major inventions.

The 19th century, the era of the industrial revolution, also witnessed a complete upheaval in the field of communication and travel, and particularly the advent of the railway. The latter resulted in sweeping changes in society by facilitating mobility, and soon led to dividing the world up into time zones, which were adopted between 1884 and 1911, depending on the country. Up until then there were hundreds of different local times based on the longitude of each location – Europe had around thirty local times!

In 1876, the Canadian Sandford Fleming suggested the first time-zone system encompassing all parts of the world by dividing the globe into 24 parts, each corresponding to 15° in longitude and to a specific time in relation to Greenwich Mean Time. The 1884 International Meridian Conference in 1884 did not adopt his time zones, but did adhere to the concept of a universal 24-hour day starting at midnight in Greenwich, specifying that this was only a recommendation. Nonetheless, by 1929, most countries had embraced the time-zone system, in some cases with special arrangements and local times differing by incomplete hours from GMT. This system still prevails today.

In parallel, this progressive standardisation motivated the watch business to modify its developments accordingly, leading to the appearance of the first 24-hour dials on pocket-watches. Subsequently, various ways of reading the time in different time zones or in other geographical locations were to make their appearance. A few rare prestige brands, in the years prior to World War II, offered timepieces graduated according to the 24 time zones comprised within the division of the Earth and enabling one to read off the time simultaneously in various cities around the globe. These pocket-watches are part of the Vacheron Constantin collection, and are universally known as “World Time” models. Like most watches by the brand, they are much coveted by international collectors and reach extremely high auction prices.

In parallel with progress linked to miniaturisation, the post-war years were conducive to the emergence of wristwatches reflecting the same concept of reading off the time in 24 time zones. From the 1960s onwards, Vacheron Constantin began introducing numerous original double or triple-movement creations enabling the display of two or three time zones, entirely in keeping with the innovative spirit consistently demonstrated by the brand in its drive to blend functional research and cutting-edge aesthetics.

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