The 1970s was an important decade for watch designer Gérald Genta, he designed the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak (1972), then the Patek Philippe Nautilus (1976) and then the Vacheron Constantin 222 (1977). More than thirty years later, these three timepieces — which defined the luxury sports watch category — are still icons of three of the most coveted brands in watchmaking.
While the 222 is no longer in production, the Vacheron Constantin Overseas (which came out in 1996) is its predecessor. The Overseas shares many design cues and features with the 222 such as a fluted bezel and one-piece case design, as well as its shock resistant, water resistant and anti-magnetic movement. However, while the Nautilus and Royal Oak are virtually unchanged from their respective original designs, the Overseas is a modernized design that is more sporty and aggressive than the original.
The Overseas Dual Time (pictured) comes in a stainless steel case measuring 42 mm by 12.4 mm (the 222 is 37 mm). The dial is slate grey with a beautiful sunray finish. The 18K white gold applied hour markers, as well as the hour and minute hands, feature luminous paint for excellent low-light visibility. The fluted titanium bezel features design elements from the brand’s signature Maltese cross motif. Aesthetically, the grey dial pairs nicely with the mixture of brushed titanium, and brushed and polished steel elements of the case.
Local time is displayed via central central hour, minute and second hands (controlled via the crown at 3 o’clock). Home time, tracks what time it is back home (via the subdial at 6 o’clock) and is also synced with the day/night indicator next to 9 o’clock on the subdial home time subdial. Home time is set by the crown at 3 o’clock.
The date display (at 2 o’clock) is controlled by the pusher at 2 o’clock (simply unscrew the locking pusher ring, and repeatedly press it until the desired date is displayed). At 9 o’clock there is a power reserve indicator which tells you how much of the 40-hour power reserve remains.
The Overseas Dual-Time is powered by automatic caliber 1222 SC, a modified second time zone version of the 1121 caliber from the 222 (a movement based on the Jaeger-LeCoultre caliber 920). Caliber 920 has also been used in multiple Audemars Piguet and Patek timepieces. Caliber 1222 SC has 34 jewels, 153 parts and runs at a rate of 28,800 vph (4Hz).
Shown with a grey alligator leather strap with triple blade folding clasp, the Overseas also comes with a second strap (rubber). The alligator strap is very comfortable, however the optional steel bracelet is really quite elegant with its brushed and polished details, and on the the Maltese cross motif between each link — it really makes the decision between strap ro bracelet hard, as both options are good choices. The case lugs are pierced lugs, so changing between any of the straps or bracelet is effortless.
The caseback is solid and is stamped with the “Overseas” medallion, and both the pusher and crown are locking. Water-resistance is 150 meters.
The Overseas builds on a classic design from over thirty years ago, and takes it a step further with its distinctive modern design. From the aggressive oval case, to the implementation of the dial, to the perfectly executed alternating brushed and polished case finishing — the Overseas exemplifies how an elegant sports watch should look.