Vacheron Constantin isn't known specifically for sports watches, but when it comes to ultra luxury watchmaking, Vacheron is surprisingly accomplished in the sports watch class. From the 1960s Vacheron "Thunderbird" to the Overseas Chronograph, Vacheron Constantin sports watches have proved to be enduring, alluring, and competitive with the best from Patek Philippe and Audemars Piguet. Tonight's show is a guide to the ten best Vacheron sports watches from the 1960s to the present day.
If there is one watch that defines Vacheron Constantin sports watches in the modern era, it's the Overseas Chronograph. Originally launched in 1999, the Overseas Chrono shared the basic Overseas' inheritance of design cues and proportions from the 1977 Vacheron 222 sports watch. The first two generations of Overseas Chronograph were powered by the Frederic Piguet 1185, an haute horlogerie automatic chronograph caliber also found in the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Chronograph from 1997 to 2021. While the first Overseas Chrono was petit at 37mm, the second-generation model was a substantial 42.5mm in diameter.
For 2016, the Overseas model line celebrated 20 years since the 1996 launch of the collection. To mark the occasion, Vacheron watchmakers and product planners took the Overseas far upmarket. No longer bargain alternatives to watches like the Patek Philippe 5711 or Royal Oak 15400, the Overseas became a true peer to these watches. Changes included the Overseas' first collection of in-house movements, display casebacks, quick-release lugs, and significantly higher retail prices. While the third Overseas collection launched into a soft market and sold slowly out of the gate, 2022 presents a very different marketplace. In today's watch market, the price of a used Vacheron sports watch often surpasses the retail price of the same model.
The Vacheron Constantin Overseas Chronograph 5500V measures a physically imposing 42.5mm in diameter. Several dials are available including silver, blue, and a striking "inverse panda" in black with silver registers. As with all Overseas Chronographs, an automatic movement provides power, but this generation includes Vacheron manufacture caliber 5200 with 52 hours of power reserve, a column wheel and vertical clutch, and Geneva Hallmark finish. 150-meter water resistance is superior to the Patek Aquanaut and AP Royal Oak, and 25,000 ampere per meter antimagnetism makes the Overseas unique in its class.
Externally, the Overseas retains most of the core design cues of the 222. A tonneau case, an integrated bracelet, and a prominent bezel define the look of this ultra luxury chronograph watch. Each stainless steel Overseas Chronograph comes equipped with a full bracelet, a leather strap, a rubber strap, and a secondary deployant clasp to mount on the straps. The bracelet features two micro-adjustments inside its clasp, and every single link of the bracelet can be removed to fine-tune its size. Quick-release lugs ensure that changing the strap or bracelet can be accomplished without tools.
Watch collectors seeking a Vacheron Constantin alternative to A Lange & Sohne, Patek Philippe, and Audemars Piguet will discover outstanding value and features in the Overseas collection of sports watches.
Current Overseas Chronograph model references include 5500V/110A-B148; 5500V/110A-B075; 5500V/110A-B481; 5500V/000R-B074;
All of this plus watch collector wrist shots will be featured in this episode of "Watches Tonight!"
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