Vacheron Constantin introduced a completely revised Overseas collection at SIHH this year, including five new models and three new calibers. The new calibers, including a chronograph and a special ladies’ caliber, carry the Geneva Hallmark, a key step in the brand’s goal to convert 100 percent of its production to the Geneva Seal standard by the end of the year. Vacheron also introduced an anti-magnetic component to all Overseas calibers, one that uniquely allows for open casebacks.
The new automatic Caliber 5200, five years in development, is a column-wheel chronograph with vertical coupling clutch, replacing a Frédéric Piguet movement previously used in the Overseas chronograph model. Twin barrels with thicker mainsprings ensure a 50-hour power reserve. The second new caliber is the 5100, with hours, minutes, seconds and date, housed in a 41-mm case. It is an automatic movement, with two mainsprings, delivering a 60-hour power reserve. The new 5300 is a smaller caliber, made for a 37-mm ladies’ model set with 84 diamonds on the bezel, totaling one carat. Functions include hours, minutes, and a small seconds subdial at 9 o’clock. Both the 5100 and 5300 replace Jaeger-LeCoultre movements previously used in Overseas models.
The final two new models in the Vacheron Constantin Overseas collection contain the existing ultra-thin caliber 1120, also used in the brand’s Patrimony collection. The automatic Caliber 1120 QP is housed in a new Overseas perpetual calendar with moon phase and leap year indicator; it measures only 4.05 mm thick; the case is only 8.1 mm thick. The time-only Caliber 1120 is a mere 2.45 mm thick, cased in an ultra-slim dress watch with no seconds or date display.
All calibers in the five new Overseas models have been fitted with soft-iron inner casings for anti-magnetic protection. Unlike other brands’ models fitted with this technology, the Overseas watches have open casebacks. It is typically impossible to view the movement through a sapphire crystal caseback in “anti-magnetized” watches because the inner soft-iron shell covers the back of the movement. The shell in the new Overseas collection, however, is positioned just inside the casing ring, which is steeply angled towards the back to protect the movement without covering it altogether, allowing for an opening. Vacheron Constantin says this positioning protects the watch to a level of 200-400 gauss, compared to the industry standard of 60 gauss. (The highest standard among watches with soft-iron inner casings and closed casebacks is the Rolex Milgauss, with 1,000 gauss anti-magnetic protection. Other brands, such as Omega, equip some movements with escapement components made of anti-magnetic materials, eliminating the need for a soft-iron shell altogether while providing up to 5,000 gauss protection.)
The movements in the new Overseas collection are all automatic, with large, 22k gold rotors engraved with a wind rose compass motif, a symbol of world travel that reflects the spirit of the Overseas collection. Water resistance varies between models from 50 meters to 150 meters. Each is equipped with an “easy-fit” interchangeable strap system that works by twisting the bracelet at the lugs by 180 degrees. Options include a metal bracelet, leather with nubuck lining, or a rubber strap. Quick bracelet-change systems were a popular feature among the brands’ introductions at SIHH this year.