Friday, January 16, 2015

Vacheron Constantin: The Overseas Collection, Edition 2004

Introduced in 1996, the Overseas design by Vacheron Constantin instantly made its mark with utter distinction, quickly winning recognition as one of the most accomplished timepieces in its class. Its crisp, stylish lines and functional efficiency compose a powerful personality that sets a unchallenged standard for timekeeping excellence.

In 2004, updated with a variety of discreet yet significant features, a new Overseas generation appeared. It both perpetuated its predecessor’s unique character and confirmed the design’s enduring relevance.  Wedding dependable sturdiness to understated elegance, the new design fully reaffirmed the Overseas’ sporting spirit.

Impeccably functional in every respect, the Overseas design sealed an alliance between superlative watchmaking and the spirit of the age. The new generation naturally perpetuates the inspired blend of technology and aesthetics born in 1996, this time with even more smoothly flowing lines and dimensions increased by a few millimeters for all three versions – chronograph, man’s and woman’s models.

Its construction underscores the Overseas’ coolly assertive personality.  A sturdy case in the finest stainless steel expresses the design’s confirmed resilience. Its bezel, featuring a Maltese cross pattern derived from the make’s long-standing symbol, and case back are screwed tightly to the frame, compressing numerous water tightness gaskets so as to provide efficient protection against moisture and the minutest particles of foreign matter. This constructional approach provides full water resistance to 150 meters (approx. 500 feet) for the man’s and chronograph models and 50 meters (nearly 165 feet) for the woman’s. Screw-locked setting crowns and chronograph push pieces complete the watches’ external protection systems.

Inside the case, the movement benefits from equally efficient protection. Mechanical or quartz, every Overseas movement is totally shielded by a soft-iron antimagnetic screen. The latter prevents today’s innumerable magnetic fields from affecting the movement’s rate and precision.

Totally redesigned for ergonomic excellence, the new Overseas bracelet provides unprecedented suppleness and comfort on the wrist. Easy to adjust, it comes with a newly designed three-ply invisible clasp with twin safety catch. The exclusive design of its links and its meticulous finish give the bracelet its arresting good looks that enhance the play of light along its entire length. Featuring an exclusive decor, Overseas dials and hands are coated with a luminescent substance for optimum legibility at all times.

This Overseas generation comes in three versions, all in fine stainless steel dress. The case’s screw-secured back bears the collection emblem, a sailing ship carved directly into the metal – a discreet invitation to explore endless horizons and distant shores.

Overseas Chronograph: Expressing its sleekly functional elegance in alternately gloss-polished and satin-finished steel, the Overseas chronograph case’s 42-mm diameter opens on a broad, easy-to-read dial. Providing a power reserve of 40 hours, its caliber 1137 selfwinding mechanical movement comprises the carefully selected and meticulously finished components that are the hallmark of all Vacheron Constantin movements. A soft-iron antimagnetic screen shields the movement from magnetic perturbations. 
The case’s screw-locked crown and pushpieces, the latter fitted with a knurled locking nut, are designed for full 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 compound coating the hour markers and hands of its dial, available in a choice of silvered or black finish.
Along with the hours, minutes and seconds, it features two totalizers, to 30 minutes and 12 hours respectively, along with an oversized date calendar in twin apertures at 12 o’clock on the dial.
Overseas For Men: With its understated styling in the finest stainless steel, the Overseas model for men is designed for today’s active life. Displaying the hours, minutes and center seconds, the watch is equipped with a caliber 1126/1 self-winding mechanical movement with date calendar positioned between 4 and 5 o’clock on the dial, providing about 40 hours of reserve power. Fitted with an antimagnetic screen, it is lodged in a case 42 mm in diameter. A broad dial aperture facilitates fast and accurate reading of the time, made easier still by the  minute track inscribed on the flange. Available with a black or a silvered finish, it features hour markers and hands coated with a highly luminous compound for instant reading of the time even in dim light. The Overseas model for men is of course designed to withstand pressures of 15 atmospheres (equivalent to 150 meters, or 500 feet) under water.

Overseas For Women: Ideally sized for today’s woman, this Overseas case, water-resistant to 50 meters (nearly 165 feet), measures 34 mm across. With alternating gloss-polished and satin-finished steel surfaces, its aesthetically assertive styling is available with a choice of dials.
One features a light silvered surface with date-calendar aperture at 4 o’clock and 18K gold hour markers and hands inlaid with a highly luminous compound. The other comes with a natural mother-of-pearl face bearing 12 brilliant-cut diamond hour markers (0.144 carat) swept by 18K gold hands inlaid with luminescent Superluminova® compound.
Positioned at 4 o’clock, the date calendar is read through a magnifying lens set into the dial. With its dependably sturdy construction and antimagnetic shielding, the Overseas for women can optionally enhance its personality with an array of 94 diamonds (0.53 carat) set into its bezel. Removable links allow fast and easy adjustment to every wrist size. It is secured by a three-ply clasp with twin safety-catch push-pieces.

Technical details

Chronograph:    V.C. 1137 selfwinding mechanical caliber entirely protected by asoft-iron antimagnetic screen.   
Man’s model: V.C. 1126/1 selfwinding mechanical caliber entirely protected by a soft-iron antimagnetic screen.
Woman’s model: V.C. 1207 quartz caliber entirely protected by a soft-iron antimagnetic screen.   

Movement thickness   
Cal. 1137: 6,60 mm
Cal. 1126/1: 3.25 mm
Cal. 1207: 2.25 mm

Movement diameter   
Cal. 1137: 11 1/2’’’ : Ø 26.00 mm
Cal. 1126/1: 11 1/2’’’: Ø 26.00 mm
Cal. 1207: 8 1/4’’’: Ø 18.4 mm

Cal. 1137: 21,600 v.p.h.
Cal. 1126/1: 28,800 v.p.h.
Caliber 1207: quartz

Chronograph: hours, minutes and seconds; totalizers to 30 minutes and 12 hours; oversized date calendar at 12 o’clock on the dial.
Man’s model: hours, minutes and seconds; date-calendar aperture at 4:30 on the dial.
Woman’s model: hours and minutes; date-calendar aperture at 4:30 on the dial.

316L stainless steel

Water resistance   
Chronograph and Man’s model: to 150 meters (approx. 500 feet)
Woman’s model: to 50 meters (nearly 165 feet)

316 stainless steel; half-Maltese-cross link shape

Three-ply stainless steel with twin safety-catch pushpieces

Nonmagnetic Horology
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, an Overseas will thus retain its exceptional precision unaffected by the numerous magnetic fields found everywhere 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 watch-making’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 push-pieces, its 13-line movement beating at 18,800 v.p.h. was protected by a soft-iron hood shielding it from magnetic fields.

Launched in 1975, the Chronomètre Royal wristwatch design foreshadowed the development of a genuinely sport-tempered dress watch, available in stainless steel as well as in yellow and in white gold. Fitted with a screwed-in case back for dependable water resistance to 30 meters (~ 100 feet) and equipped with a proprietary movement entirely assembled, finished and adjusted by hand, the design embodied a full measure of the reliability and sturdiness that underpin Vacheron Constantin’s constructional quality standards. 

It was, however, in 1977, with the launch of a model that was to make history that Vacheron Constantin signalled it had definitely established itself the upper reaches of sports watches. Its code name, “222”, referred to the fact that the watch marked the 222nd anniversary of the company’s foundation. This code name masks a heart of gold: a caliber 1121 movement driven by its rotor in 21K gold, an extra-thin self-winding design with shock protection. Born from the heart of the matter, noblest steel or purest gold, the 222 is entirely crafted by hand. Exclusive in form and function, it is designed for those who confront the realities of today.”
Conceived and built in accordance with corporate standards of design and technology, the 222 was a distinguished forerunner in style and spirit of today’s Overseas design. Its case was a sophisticated one-piece construction opened by a screwed-in, porthole-type bezel and designed for intensive use under trying conditions. From a strictly aesthetic point of view, its serrated bezel directly referred to - a model dating from 1951. 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, in steel or in both metals (see photo), the 222 was water-resistant to 120 meters (nearly 400 feet). The case furthermore included a protective antimagnetic screen, an unusual feature for the period.

Clean lines, serrated bezel, distinctive bracelet and utterly functional construction – all features that confirm the design precedents linking today’s Overseas with the Vacheron Constantin timepieces which in 1951, 1975 and again in 1977 foreshadowed its own development. 

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