Vacheron Constantin Overseas Ultra-Thin Perpetual Calendar Rose Gold
Not the thinnest, yet (in our opinion) the most fascinating Perpetual Calendar on the market.
I love the Overseas.
Those of you, who know me, also know that, in my opinion, the Vacheron Costantin Overseas is, in every single one of its versions, the high-end sports watch that I prefer. If we also talk about the Vacheron Costantin Overseas Ultra-Thin Perpetual Calendar Rose Gold that was just presented at the 2018 SIHH, my thoughts naturally broaden to sports watches with a perpetual calendar complication.
The perpetual calendar complication is probably the complication that most attracts all watch-lovers, because it also contains an element of incredible practicality as well as fascination; the concept (and the possibility) of using a mechanical watch that can automatically correct all the irregularities of the Gregorian calendar - like the presence of leap years, the months and the moon phases, it is something highly pioneering and magical, a brain of micro mechanical apt for the wrist.
The second iteration of the Overseas Ultra-Thin Perpetual Calendar.
Vacheron Constantin has equipped their Overseas collection with this magical trick for the second time after the 2016 release of the first version with a white gold case and a bracelet (or a strap); it was the exact year, when the new Overseas collection officially debuted. The new collection is equipped with an in-house built 1120 QP/1 calibre, the ultra-thin perpetual calendar movement, where the 22-carat gold oscillating mass recharges a barrel with up to 40 hours of power reserve; everything has been condensed in 4.05mm of thickness.
Moreover, it is not necessary to adjust this timepiece until 2100 – the turning point of all the current mechanical perpetual calendars, when the regular cycle of the leap years will stop and it will become necessary to turn to manual adjustments. It is not the thinnest of the perpetual calendars currently available, because the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak RD # 2 Perpetual Calendar Ultra-Thin shocked to this particular niche market although it has not gone into production. However, the Vacheron Costantin Overseas Ultra-Thin Perpetual Calendar Rose Gold is thinner than its main competitor, the Patek Philippe Nautilus Perpetual Calendar 5740-1G.
Size, thickness, touch and feel, wearability.
The size of the case is as follows: 41.5mm in diameter and 8.1mm in thickness, it is waterproof up to 50 meters and it hosts a thin protection ring again magnetic fields that is made of soft iron; a traditional solution that is also quite effective to mitigate the standard effect of magnetic fields. The bezel reminds us of the Maltese cross of the Vacheron Constantin brand. In the new Overseas collection and in this ultra-flat version of the timepiece, the crown is very thin and completely polished and in contrast against the base of the satin case, thus creating a fantastic play of lights and reflections that intersect with the blue colour of the alligator strap with large square scales or the rubber strap that can easily replace it, thanks to the quick release system.
Let's take a moment to better focus on this small detail; the Overseas collection is dedicated to travelers and the idea of having a strap that is easy to replace - without having to use any specific equipment - is a plus side of the entire range. Both straps come with a triple-blade rose gold folding clasp. Would not a pin buckle be more suitable in this case, as this timepiece is an ultra-flat? A version with an integrated bracelet is not available; a solution that still remains confined to the white gold version only.
That dial features a perfect geometry.
Despite the perpetual calendar complication, the dial is easily readable, thanks to the translucent lacquered finish and the indexes and the counters made in rose gold. The blue tones on the minute ring, the months counter and the moon phases (the moon in polished rose gold that matches the same finish on the bezel, the case-middle and the crown is quite beautiful) perfectly suit the rose gold material and give this timepiece an incredible level of warmth that is quite rare among high-end perpetual calendars.
Technically speaking, something more could perhaps be dared, because it is a pity to see the calendar correctors positioned on the case, as they break the purity of a whole set so well-balanced in terms of shades and materials and perfect in terms of proportions.
Can this beauty be technically improved?
One day, we would like to see this caliber handle all the operations only through the winding crown. I realize that it is a technical challenge that is not easy to win considering the reduced thickness of the 1120 QP/1 caliber, but it would be a plus side to close an almost perfect circle. Selling at a retail price of € 78,000, the Vacheron Costantin Overseas Ultra-Thin Perpetual Calendar Rose Gold is one of the most expensive perpetual calendars on the market, but one of a kind too. The Geneva Seal certification also adds a value hardly perceivable by the customer and yet it is one of the most valuable features of this perpetual calendar, which marks quite a gap with the competition.
(Photo credit: Horbiter®'s proprietary photo-shooting)
Matteo Bulla @Horbiter®