What do you think of when you hear “1970s sports watches”? Definitely the Patek Philippe Nautilus and Audemars Piguet Royal Oak, maybe even the IWC Ingenieur. But what about the Vacheron Constantin Overseas? This watch has been flying under the radar for years, despite its impressive heritage and specifications, which are similar to those of the perpetually-hyped Patek and AP models. Just why is the Overseas a lesser-known watch, despite its more affordable price, that you can own without sitting on an AD’s waiting list for years on end? Let’s take a closer look today at this very underrated timepiece.
Vacheron Constantin Overseas: Heritage
The history of the Vacheron Constantin Overseas dates back to 1977. That’s the year the company from Plan-les-Ouates in Switzerland celebrated its 222nd anniversary, releasing the Vacheron Constantin 222 for the occasion. At the time, this timepiece did not go by the name “Overseas,” even though it would go on to be the blueprint for every watch released under that name from then on. Designed by Jorg Hysek, characteristics of the 222 included a tonneau-shaped case, an integrated bracelet, and gear-like bezel design. It furthermore had a very clean dial, with applied baton indices as hour markers, slim hands, and a date complication at three o’clock.
Vacheron Constantin produced the 222 until the mid-1980s. Watches including the 333 and Phidias would follow until 1996, when the first Overseas generation entered the spotlight. Created by Dino Modolo and Vincent Kaufmann, the new Overseas spoke the same design language as the 222. Some noticeable differences however were the new bracelet, crown guards, and redesigned look for the bezel, which, although still reminiscent of a gear wheel, now had much wider notches, with edges whose shape were inspired by a Maltese cross.
The Overseas is now in its third generation, offering an extensive collection of stunning timepieces. Along with three-handed models, you’ll also find chronographs, GMT watches, perpetual calendar and moon phase complications, and even a tourbillon. Pushing the envelope even further, the impressive Moon Phase Retrograde Date was released in the spring of 2023.
A popular seller: Overseas 4500V/110A with a blue dial
|2016 – present
|150 m (15 bar, 492 ft)
|Stainless steel, leather, rubber
|Lacquered brass blue sunburst dial
Three-handed Overseas models are in demand among Chrono24 buyers, with the reference 4500V/110A-B128 and its blue sunburst dial enjoying particular popularity. The watch features the typical Vacheron Constantin Overseas hands and applied baton indices, which are filled with white Super-LumiNova and glow bright blue in low light conditions. There’s a date window at three o’clock, while a chapter ring encircles the dial with subtle minute markers.
This watch has a 41-mm stainless steel case with 150 meters (15 bar, 492 feet) of water resistance. As with all third-generation Overseas, Vacheron Constantin has designed this model without crown guards. Its straps and bracelet are integrated into the watch case; VC offers these “personalized according to the owner’s wishes,” with your choice of leather or rubber strap, or a stainless steel bracelet, the center sections of which are in the shape of half of a Maltese cross. The rubber and leather straps are color-matched to the dial. A key element giving this timepiece its characteristic Vacheron Constantin look are the six notches on its polished gear-like bezel.
The in-house caliber 5100 beats away at the heart of this watch at 28,800 vph, with 60 hours of power reserve, along with protection against magnetic fields. It also carries the Geneva Seal, a quality insignia given only to watches produced in the Swiss Canton of Geneva, Switzerland, and denoting the utmost in craftsmanship and quality. You can see this movement at work through the watch’s sapphire glass case back.
What does a three-hand Overseas cost?
Depending on the specific model you choose, plan to have between $31,500 to $36,800 on hand. This of course is anything but pocket change for a three-handed stainless steel watch. However, compared to prices a Royal Oak or Nautilus demand, the Overseas truly is a well-priced purchase. At just above $86,000, a gold Overseas edition such as the reference 4500V/110R-B705 is also very moderately priced.
The Vacheron Constantin Overseas 4500V/110A has enjoyed solid price performance. Prices for an Overseas rose considerably at the start of 2022 at the peak of the Nautilus hype, and have now nestled into a more moderate development, with value as of April 2023 growing at an average of 47% compared to April 2021.
Vacheron Constantin Overseas With Additional Complications
The Dual Time is a GMT watch that displays a second time zone along with your local time. It has a central GMT hand, easily recognizable by its large arrow tip. Compared to other watches indicating a 24-hour time period with one dial rotation of their GMT hand, the Dual Time GMT hand completes a full rotation in 12 hours, with the watch indicating whether it is day or night in the second time zone you’re tracking using the AM/PM display at 9 o’clock. A date hand subdial at 6 o’clock is an additional complication, adding to the fantastic look of this timepiece. You can easily adjust the date using the screw-down pusher at 4 o’clock.
Regardless of whether you select a white, black, or blue dial, plan to spend between $36,500 and $43,000 for a stainless steel Dual Time. The 18-karat gold variant sells for around $51,300.
At 42.5 mm, the case of the Overseas Chronograph is larger, while still maintaining the overall Overseas aesthetic. Its dial features a three-subdial layout: minutes at 3, hours at 6, and small seconds at 9. Vacheron Constantin also tucks a date window into the 4:30 position.
“Never-worn Overseas Chronograph models like the ref. 5500V/110A-B148 with a blue dial cost between $42,000 and $45,800 on Chrono24. Models such as the rare ref. 5500V/110A-B147 with a brown dial, on the other hand, can go for over $65,000, while gold editions cost around $88,000.”
The Vacheron Constantin Overseas: an excellent luxury sports watch that is anything but second in line to famous Patek or AP timepieces. Offering the finest in craftsmanship and features, affordable prices, and its own unique character, the Overseas is a watch that any fan is simply going to love.