A few weeks ago, I introduced you to the latest watch from Vacheron Constantin, the Overseas 37mm without diamonds. It was a huge hit and I remember really liking it when I got an early peek at SIHH back in January, so I definitely wanted to spend some quality time with this puppy sooner rather than later. While this watch isn’t groundbreaking by any means, I think there is a lot to love about it and that it does bring something genuinely compelling to the table.
What Is The Overseas?
If you are an avid reader of HODINKEE, you likely know what the Overseas is. But in case you are new here (welcome!) or new to Vacheron Constantin, let me break it down for you. Much like Patek Philippe has the Nautilus, Audemars Piguet has the Royal Oak, and Rolex has basically every single watch they’ve ever made, Vacheron has the Overseas. It’s a luxury sports watch with a steel bracelet that can be worn in basically any circumstances imaginable.
The first Overseas-like watch was the reference 2215 (later 42001) released in 1975, which featured a cushion-form case and integrated steel bracelet. The follow up sports watch was the reference 222, released in 1977 and produced in three variations. Then last year, after a number of other iterations over the decades, Vacheron released the brand spanking new Overseas collection with a number of models including a chronograph, an ultra-thin automatic, a world-time, and a smaller automatic with diamonds for the ladies. The collection was well-received and praised for its sporty look, innovative new caliber, and easily-changed bracelet and strap options.
The watches targeted at men ranged in size from 40mm to 43.5mm, while the ladies’ diamond Overseas measured 37mm. For some, the 37mm with diamonds was nearly perfect, with one serious caveat – did it have to come with diamonds? I know I have expressed my love of all things sparkly, but there is a time and a place, and a steel sports watch just isn’t either. It would appear that Vacheron felt the same (or maybe read my mind?) and followed up at SIHH this year with a non-diamond 37mm Overseas.
The 37mm Overseas Without Diamonds
The newest Overseas comes in stainless steel with either a blue or rose dial and in a two-tone steel and rose gold version with a rose dial. To me, this continues to prove that manufacturers are on board with the two-tone trend (love it or hate it, people, it’s everywhere). But I digress. The case is still tonneau-shaped with the traditional round bezel with sections cut out around the perimeter, plus there’s a removable bracelet. The dial is still the same, with bright white SuperLuminova indexes and hands, with a subsidiary seconds dial at nine o’clock (more on that later). Compared to the other Overseas models, it’s a little smaller (37mm), thicker (10mm), and has a different movement (caliber 5200) that includes a sub-dial (not my favorite, but ok).
How Does The Overseas Compare To Other Luxury Steel Sports Watches?
The Overseas is one of a few stainless steel luxury steel sport watches currently on the market. Jack, Arthur, and Stephen compared the Overseas with the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak and the Piaget Polo S in our latest Three On Three. Check out the in-depth story and video here.
I have to admit that when I first saw the new Overseas collection last year, I didn’t like it. It felt flashy to me for some reason, though I am not sure exactly why. But then I kept seeing it – at events, in the office, online – and it started to appeal to me more and more. The real change of heart happened once I received the 37mm steel version and actually wore it around for a while. Now I’m hooked. The simple (but interesting) case design and the color of the blue dial are so crisp and clean. But I think the real selling point for me is the bracelet.
As someone who prefers to wear a watch with a bracelet, the construction and overall look are both incredibly important to me. In addition to looking awesome, I like the security of a bracelet and that when fitted the right way (*cough* not like a bangle) it doesn’t move. At all. Now, I get that bracelets aren’t for everyone, but to me the Overseas looks better on a bracelet. (I should note the the two-tone version does not come with a bracelet, just the stainless steel example, however both come with a rubber strap and an alligator strap).
The Overseas bracelet is Fantastic with a capital F. Why? The links are brushed steel and are shaped like halved Maltese crosses (the official symbol of Vacheron), with polished edges giving just enough shine. This is a really fun design element and they also happen to link together properly without much space in between. This limited space in between the links allow for the watch to sit securely on the wrist, but still maintain fluidity. The twin-lock clasp is also something to write home about – easy to open, easy to close, and easy to wear, which are essentially the three things you want from a clasp (Who here has had to wrestle with a sticky clasp? I have, and it sucks.)
And the cherry on top? You can take the bracelet off without a tool and easily swap it for the accompanying rubber and alligator straps. Now, I know every true watch geek should be able to change their own strap, but that’s just not realistic and can be dangerous (for both the watch and the person). This easy changing mechanism allows for anyone to be the master of the strap universe and change it themselves. This is something that I haven’t seen since the Cartier Roadster, which happened to be one of my first watches and is sadly no longer in production. To be honest, I am surprised that more brands don’t do this, but I suspect it has something to do with wanting to inconvenience their clients and force them to come into their boutiques or the local AD so they can try to hustle them to buy another watch. Just being honest here.
Inside the watch is the in-house caliber 5300 movement, which measures 22.6mm in diameter and is featured in all of the 37mm Overseas models. The movement has a 60-hour power reserve too, which is the same as the 41mm version. The movement is not only powerful, but is also gorgeous to look at with the refined finishing that we expect from Vacheron Constantin and it is completed with a 22k gold rotor complete with embossed signature. It’s nice to see this watch receive the same internal treatment as the the rest of the Overseas collection.
The only real qualm I have with this watch is that I wish the subsidiary seconds was located at six o’clock and not nine o’clock. What can I say, I am a bit of a traditionalist like that. Also, great news! No date window to be found anywhere on this one. Now, I love a date window for practicality purposes, but I know that many of you hate it (like really hate it), so breathe easy here. You’re welcome.
With a watch like this Overseas, it is important to remember that it is a luxury steel sport watch with a $18,400 price tag ($21,700 for the two-tone model). When compared to the Nautilus and the Royal Oak, you’re getting a pretty good deal, and this is one of less expensive luxury steel watches on the market.
Outside the higher-end of the market however, this watch is certainly spendy and not for everyone. I don’t want that to distract from the watch itself though. If you are looking for a steel sport watch that’s a little different than the usual suspects and have $18,400 to drop on this watch, then I say go for it. It looks great, is extremely comfortable, is well-made with an in-house movement, and is something that I would definitely consider as my everyday watch.
For more, visit Vacheron Constantin online.