Last week, Vacheron Constantin held an event in New York City centered around the recent attempt of Cory Richards, a noted professional photographer (you might recognize the name from his work with National Geographic) and long-distance explorer as well as VC ambassador, to trailblaze a fresh route up Mount Everest along the Tibetan North-East Ridge. This wasn’t the first time Richards has climbed Mount Everest, he’s summited the world-famous peak twice before, including once without the help of additional oxygen in 2016. Unfortunately, this journey had to be shut down midway through as the weather conditions deteriorated.
For watch enthusiasts, what is most interesting about Richards’ effort is what was strapped to his wrist. Vacheron worked with the explorer to develop a prototype version of the brand’s Overseas Dual Time in titanium with a tantalum reinforcement integrated underneath the bezel. The overall appearance of the prototype, with its usage of cool gray tones and bright orange accents, is a departure for Vacheron as a whole, which has long approached its design ideals with a more sober mindset. The presence of titanium is a bit of a surprise as well given that the light-weight metal has been rarely used by Vacheron previously. The dial has an attractive grained finish that works well with the sporty look of the Overseas line. Two crowns extend from the watch’s right side. The 3 o’clock crown’s first position adjusts the local time in independent, jumping hour increments; the second position sets the home time with dragging adjustments of both time zone hours and minutes. In the 6 o’clock subdial, a pointer-type date indication, synchronized with the local time, is adjusted via the screw-locked pusher at 4 o’clock.
Coming in at the same dimensions as the production Overseas Dual Time (most recently updated at SIHH 2018 in stainless steel and pink gold) at 41 mm by 12.8 mm, the watch is also powered by the same manufacture movement, Caliber 5110. This caliber was specifically developed for the Overseas Dual Time and is made up of 234 components and stores a respectable 60-hour power reserve in its twin mainspring barrels while oscillating at a frequency of 28,800 vph. The rotor, executed in 22k gold, features an engraving of the Himalayas based off of an image shot by Richards himself.
While Vacheron has not confirmed whether or not this prototype will ever officially move into production, the positive response it received across social media after it was unveiled speaks for itself. Even if this specific design remains a unique piece, the colorful aesthetic and youthful vibe that the brand channeled here has me excited for whatever comes next for the Overseas collection.