The stately Overseas collection has recently been updated with a version with a lacquered blue dial and a leather band of the same noble color. The Vacheron Constantin Overseas Blue Chronograph (Ref. 49150/000A-9745) is currently available exclusively in the United States and in VC boutiques.
When it comes to hardware, the watch is identical to other chronographs from the sporty (well, “sporty” in a special way, the kind of “sporty” that can only be applied to members of the royal family when they get on their horses and go for a ride across the picturesque hills and valleys of Southern England) Overseas collection.
It comes powered by their in-house Caliber 1137 column-wheel chronograph movement that is based on Caliber Frederic Piguet 1185 and features a nicely executed big date complication. Like other models in the collection, it is presented in the same brushed stainless steel that features the signature “Maltese Cross” bezel crafted from polished steel.
Measuring the usual 42 millimeters in diameter, which is okay by modern standards for a chronograph that is supposed to look “sporty”, the wristwatch nevertheless looks massive. Deliberately so. The aura of power comes thanks to a thoroughly chosen combination of proportions of its main elements and the way they are finished. The crown, the chronograph push-pieces, even the “technical” mirror polished bezel that looks especially contrast over the machine-brushed surface of the flat body, all of these elements radiate an aura of enormous force hidden in a relatively compact body.
What comes to mind when I look at this piece of work is a Terminator’s polished skull when the machine gets freed from its human flesh camouflage. It is actually relieving how the timekeeper’s blue lacquered dial somewhat diminishes the menacing appearance of the chronograph.
The watch still sports a soft iron cage that not only secures the movement tightly in its place but also provides it with anti-magnetic protection certified to 25,000 A/m. The value doesn’t look particularly impressive when compared to 80,000 A/m of the legendary Rolex Milgauss,
but looks solid* if you measure it up against the new Seamaster Aqua Terra > 15,000 gauss that Omega is so proud of.
According to the brand’s press release, they are going to sell the watch not only with a dark blue Mississippiensis alligator leather strap but will also equip each package with a spare vulcanized rubber strap that may come especially handy if you plan to swim or use it for some mild diving (its water resistance rating of 150 meters won’t allow you to use it for serious scuba diving without the risk of totally ruining the delicate caliber.)
The Swiss watchmaker still doesn’t say anything about the gadget’s price, but their 2009 49150/000W-9501 model retails for $20,000, so the new collection will possibly have similar pricing later next year when it finally becomes available throughout the world. Taking into account the fact that you can normally get a nice chronograph in an 18-karat white gold body for this sort of price, the “value for money” ratio for this timekeeper isn’t terribly impressive. Yet, let’s face it, the gadget doesn’t look like it targets -ahem- value-oriented customers.
*The Aqua Terra > 15,000 gauss actually dwarfs even the Rolex and the anti-magnetic properties of the Overseas look negligible when you compare it to the Omega watch. Thanks, Azad (Oz) Bakhtiari for pointing out at my mistake.
Photos: Vacheron Constantin
Build Quality: 5/5
Overall Legibility: 4.5/5
Nighttime Legibility: 4.5/5
Value for Money: 2.5/5
Overall Rating: 4/5
Vacheron Constantin Overseas Blue Chronograph (Ref. 49150/000A-9745) specification
Price: $20,000 (Retail)
Movement: Automatic, VC caliber 1137 (base FP 1185,) Swiss Made
Number of jewels: 27
Movement frequency: 21,600 vph
Power reserve: 40 hours
Movement decoration: Hand-decorated
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, big date, column-wheel chronograph
Case and Crown: Stainless steel, brushed
Bezel: Steel, polished
Bezel shape: Round
Size: 42.00 mm
Case height: 12.45 mm
Dial: Blue, lacquered
Hour markers: Luminous, 18-carat white gold
Hands: Luminous, 18-carat white gold
Water resistance: 150 meters
Strap: Dark blue Mississippiensis alligator leather strap; hand-stiched, saddle-finish, large square scales, and a spare dark blue vulcanized rubber strap. Stainless steel triple-blade folding clasp with double security buttons
Crystal: Sapphire, antireflective
Back: Solid, stamped with the “Overseas” medallion