Vacheron Constantin expands its Overseas collection with the introduction of a sophisticated tourbillon complication. The first tourbillon model to debut in the Overseas collection, the complication injects a dose of Haute Horlogerie spectacle to the mix without jeopardising the solidity of a luxury sports watch designed for everyday wear. Presented in a stainless steel case with a striking blue dial and expected high-end finishes, the watch is fitted with Vacheron Constantin’s self-winding ultra-thin calibre 2160 and, like its fellow Overseas models, brings versatility to the table with three interchangeable bracelets/straps.
More complications on board
The Overseas has evolved over its life span and the 2019 Overseas Tourbillon belongs to the third generation which underwent a major overhaul on its 20th anniversary in 2016. To understand the evolutions undergone from one generation to the next, please watch Part I and Part II of our exclusive videos with Christian Selmoni, VC’s heritage and style director.
Presented at the SIHH 2019, the Overseas Tourbillon joins the existing line-up of the Overseas models, which include an Ultra-Thin QP, a Chronograph, a World Time, a Dual Time and three-hand models. Similar in size to the Overseas Chronograph, the Tourbillon comes in a 42.50mm stainless steel case but has a much slimmer profile of just 10.39mm, thanks to the incorporation of Vacheron Constantin’s ultra-slim tourbillon calibre 2160 (the first-ever automatic tourbillon movement produced by Vacheron Constantin) first launched on the Traditionelle in 2018, followed by the Fiftysix.
It is interesting to note that although the Overseas is the sportiest of the lot, both the Fiftysix Tourbillon and the Traditionelle Tourbillon have slightly thicker cases. Water-resistant to 50 metres, the case is also endowed with a soft-iron casing ring to protect the movement from magnetic fields.
The juxtaposition of geometric shapes gives the case its dynamic, sporty temperament but it is the level of finishing that consolidates the luxury factor of this watch. From the highly polished finish of the six-sided bezel that evokes the Maltese Cross of VC to the satin-brushed matte finishes of the case and the smooth bevelled edges, Selmoni’s team took almost three years perfecting the details of the third generation Overseas “to find the best finishes possible on the case and bracelet” and studying how the light reflects on the surface.
Flagship Overseas Blue
During the development phase of the Overseas 3 models, the colour blue was chosen as the flagship colour of the collection. Taking inspiration from the two-tone finishes of watch dials of the 1950s and 1960s, you’ll find it hard to take your eyes off this captivating blue dial. The translucent blue lacquer catches the light and the dial changes from an almost blackish-blue tone to a lighter shade of blue.
The base of the dial features a sunburst satin-finish that also plays with the light. However, unlike many blue dials on the market that tend to ‘shine’, the dial of the Overseas Tourbillon ‘glows’ like a mysterious blue sapphire. Details like the slightly lighter shade of blue on the minutes track on the periphery of the dial meeting the darker blue velvety flange housing the hour markers create depth and volume and attest to the high-end finishes we expect from Vacheron Constantin. In keeping with the wearability factor of the Overseas collection, the hands and hour markers are treated with luminescence.
A large hole cut into the bottom half of the dial hosts the tourbillon regulator and its distinctive open carriage, shaped like a Maltese cross. One of the most mesmerising shows in watchmaking, the tourbillon is one of the top complications demanded today. Seeing a tourbillon twirling inside a steel sports watch might be shocking to some, but the relatively sober, uncluttered dial really lets it shine. The finishes are, as expected from VC, delicate and the central tourbillon bridge, held in place by a solid gold chaton, is black polished by hand to achieve its mirror-like surface and reflections; a difficult task to perform on a rounded (and such a small) surface that takes 12 hours. The tourbillon cage has also been black polished by hand – in this case on a flat surface – and all the internal parts have been manually bevelled as well.
Ultra-Thin Calibre 2160
As we mentioned previously, Vacheron’s first automatic tourbillon movement – calibre 2160 with its Hallmark of Geneva certification – first saw the light of day in 2018 on board a Traditionelle Tourbillon model. Constructed from 188 components, the 31mm calibre measures just 5.65mm thick and vibrates at 2.5Hz. Thanks to a peripherally-mounted rotor made from solid 22k gold, the movement can maintain a thin profile and the view from the caseback thus remains unobstructed.
The bridges, decorated with thick Geneva stripes, are revealing parts of the gear train and the reverse of the regulating organ along with the polished screw heads and 30 jewels. The power reserve is comfortable for such a thin tourbillon and offers the wearer autonomy for up to 80 hours.
Like all the Overseas watches, the Overseas Tourbillon comes with Vacheron’s DIY interchangeable bracelet mechanism. One of the easiest and fastest mechanisms on the market that even a child could master, the system lets you change the personality of your watch in seconds with no tools required. Presented on a stainless steel bracelet with an ingenious in-built extension system (dead easy to use) letting you adapt it to your wrist size that can expand in the heat and contract in cold weather, the watch also comes with a smart blue alligator strap and a sporty blue rubber strap.
I don’t know how many purists would relish the thought of wearing a tourbillon on a rubber strap, but that is part of the fun. This Overseas Tourbillon is all about bringing the goodies out of the safe and enjoying them on a daily basis. Dressing down a complication and making it part of your everyday life is a cool move. With a steel case that is robust enough for most men’s lifestyles yet slim and elegant, a choice of straps/bracelet that is versatile enough to match any casual outfit, and a nice view on the tourbillon and movement, the Overseas Tourbillon has a lot to offer. The only question is whether it qualifies as a dressy sports watch or a sporty dress watch?
Price and availability
The price of the Vacheron Constantin Overseas Tourbillon Ref. 6000V will be EUR 112,000. More details at www.vacheron-constantin.com.