Vacheron Constantin Overseas Ultra-Thin Perpetual Calendar Skeleton - Watches and Wonders 2020
If you place a Vacheron Constantin Overseas Ultra-Thin Perpetual Calendar alongside a Traditionnelle Perpetual Calendar Squelette and close your eyes, your fantasy would probably end up with creating something close to the new Overseas Ultra-Thin Perpetual Calendar Skeleton. I have a soft spot for Vacheron Constantin; it is the first Haute Horlogerie piece I ever got my hands on since my father regularly wears an ultra-flat timepiece. This year, my money was on Vacheron Constantin, unveiling an ultra-flat Overseas in steel, but I've been wrong. Among other things, who else can currently win over a 15202 or a 5711?
That said, an ultra-flat Overseas in gold is still part of the offering since 2016, and the finally revealed Overseas Ultra-Thin Perpetual Calendar Skeleton was worth the wait, it's even more impressive and no doubt much more unexpected too. That takes me to try and identify Vacheron Constantin's strategy, a few days after the timepiece is in the headlines. The brand keeps adding value to the entire product portfolio, and explore, with the Overseas, territories that are uncharted by the competition: none of the fiercest competitors has so far created a sports luxury watch with such a recipe: an ultra-flat perpetual calendar skeleton, in gold. The skeleton option adds that craftsmanship Vacheron Constantin is respected for, usually reserved for more classic siblings. Such heritage successfully contrasts an Overseas' semi-industrial touch and feel, something perceivable primarily in the low-end range.
Among the perpetual calendars available, the Overseas Ultra-Thin is a rare combination of elegance, technical prowess, and thoroughly thought proportions. From the displacement of the counters, with the register at twelve, including a full four-year cycle, to font size and type, every piece of information is at your fingertips and easy to read at first glance. On this variant, all the counters are replaced by white disks standing on top of the open-worked dial. Regarding the original perpetual calendar, that is, however, something not up to the task, aesthetically, and is the large full gold rotor that could have been better decorated and hollowed, in my opinion. Technicians and designers answered the call, by housing a sportier take of the excellent caliber 1120 QP SQ inside the 41,5mm large, and 8,10mm thick, original case. The Skeleton is, therefore, a far more luxurious take on the already beautiful Perpetual Calendar.
Skeletonizing a mechanical movement is a hard task, even if you're carving material out of a simple, no ultra-flat, movement. Robustness and long-term sturdiness are tough to achieve. When dealing with an ultra-flat perpetual calendar, you're raising the bar dramatically. The watchmakers' effort paid off; the 1120 QP SQ is a feast for the eyes and is certified with the Geneva Hallmark; Therefore, there is no surface, edge, a hidden part which has not undergone a brushed or polished finish, nor have been the edges beveled.
I hope Vacheron Constantin is going to offer this masterpiece's lucky owners a loupe since a large part of the experience is in taking the time and discover the details. Yet, please do not expect the Skeleton offer those engravings found on the Traditionnelle. The Overseas is a sport luxury watch, and those decorations have been replaced by a NAC treatment to give the movement a grayish look, at least by judging from the press photos we received. My final suggestion is to wear the 2020 Vacheron Constantin Overseas Ultra-Thin Perpetual Calendar Skeleton on the blue leather or rubber strap; I love the full gold version, but, as that's usually the case with full gold watches, they're all but understated.
(Photo credit: courtesy of Vacheron Constantin)
Gaetano C @Horbiter®