Originally released in 1996, the Vacheron Constantin Overseas was the revival of Vacheron's first sports watch, the 222 – launched to celebrate the brand's 222nd anniversary in 1977. Like many other iconic timepieces, the Overseas has evolved over the years and now has three distinct generations under its belt, with the 3rd being the latest. The current generation debuted in 2016 and features some aesthetic design elements from previous generations while also featuring modern creature comforts and luxuries that Vacheron has pioneered.
Recognized as the last accessible high-end stainless steel sports watch available from a brand within the Holy Trinity, the Overseas competes with the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak and Patek Philippe Nautilus in terms of craftsmanship, quality, and engineering. However, with its recent explosion in popularity and Vacheron's move to ensure the blue dial ref. 4500V is a boutique-only piece; the Overseas has experienced a surge in demand that has seen waiting lists swell to unprecedented levels within the last 12 months.
Engineered with an innovative quick-release functionality, the Overseas' incredibly robust Maltese cross-inspired integrated bracelet can be swapped for either of the two straps provided with the watch; a suave blue Mississippiensis alligator leather strap or a water-proof blue textured rubber strap, both designed explicitly with the Overseas quick-release function. Furthermore, the Overseas' stainless steel bracelet features an incredible extension system on either side of its hidden butterfly clasp that can provide 2mm on each side of the bracelet's partition to enable a tool-free 4mm increase in the bracelet's size.
Dedicated to going the extra mile, the Overseas ref. 4500V also features one of the most incredible dials in watchmaking; an electric blue lacquered dial with white gold applied indices marking the hours and subtle silver logos. This dial provides a colorful edge to the Overseas' aesthetic while also being extremely legible with two separate chapter rings along its periphery. One is numbered for the minutes, and the second is hashed along the rehaut to mark the seconds. These also combine to provide a useful sense of three-dimensionality to the piece.
Featuring satin-brushed finishing along the majority of its 41mm x 11mm case, the Overseas' polished sides and Maltese cross bezel pop in conjunction with the incredible blue dial. Powered by the stunning in-house automatic cal. 5500 movement, the Overseas ref. 4500V features a 22k gold oscillating weight, 60 hours of power reserve, and a myriad of beautiful finishing techniques, all on display behind the Overseas' sapphire crystal exhibition screw-down caseback, which aids in providing the Overseas with a rather capable 150m of water resistance.
While it may have been overlooked in recent years, the Overseas' time has indeed come. With a dial unlike anything from its peers, a detailed construction that would put most brands to shame, and strategic functions implemented to ease everyday use, the Overseas' time in the sun should not surprise anyone.