In 2016 Vacheron Constantin unleashed the third generation of the Overseas — one of the original crop of ‘luxury steel sports watches’. In 1977, on the occasion of the brand’s 222nd anniversary, Vacheron Constantin celebrated with the 222, a slender watch with that now-famous look of slim case, integrated bracelet and distinctive bezel. Only, the 222 was not the product of Gérald Genta’s sketchbook, but rather the forward-thinking German watch designer Jörg Hysek. Over the following four decades, Hysek’s original design saw numerous evolutions and iterations — the first actual Overseas launched in 1996, the second generation in 2004 upped the ante (and the case dimensions). This current version is the most sophisticated yet.
Not just in the subtly evolved design, which still sees that the Maltese Cross motif remains prominent, while being a little softer around the edges, but also in the watchmaking aspect. We see more modern movements entering the mix (like the truly excellent 2460 WT worldtime calibre), and an ahead-of-its-time quick-change strap system, that allows the wearer to swap out straps in seconds – no tools required.
Of the family offerings — which includes top tier perpetual calendars and tourbillons — the model that most lives up to the promise of the Overseas as a high-end dedicated travel watch is the Dual Time, which now comes in a classic, popular and stylistically versatile black dial option.
There’s a pleasing tension between the utility of purpose and the luxury of finish on this watch. The design of the dial, in particular, is extremely functional. The red-tipped home time hand is particularly clear, as is the AM/PM indicator at nine o’clock. The date display at six o’clock is a particularly legible example of the type. Even the addition of a screw-down pusher at four to adjust the date (all other functions are adjusted via the main crown) lends to the overall aura of practicality. The finely faceted white gold hands, with their generous dose of luminous material, are exceptionally legible and just as crisp as the sophisticated lines of the 41mm case. These dual time dial elements could have been toned down to tie in with the patrician air of the Overseas, but the fact that they haven’t been is admirable and (I think), adds more than a little charm to this eminently wearable watch.
The new black dial also adds significantly to the charm. Previously only available in dressy blue and silver options, the translucent black-lacquered dial is a chameleon on the wrist. The watch is refined enough (especially when on the leather strap or the bracelet) to pull its weight in the most formal of settings. Put it on rubber though, and it’s masculine in a completely different way. As close to a sporty tool watch as you’re likely to get from a Vacheron Constantin with a Geneva seal. After all, this watch has a beach-friendly 150m of water resistance and a healthy dose of magnetic resistance. The combination of convenient complication, strap versatility and the timeless style of a well-done black dial ensure that the Vacheron Constantin Overseas Dual Time with black dial will make an excellent travel companion.
5110 DT, Hallmark of Geneva, date, hours, minutes, centre seconds, second time zone with day/night indicator.
41mm, stainless steel; anti-magnetic, water resistance of 15 bars.
Comes with alligator, rubber and stainless steel.