Vacheron Constantin Overseas Chronograph “Everest”: Born for Adventure20 September 2021
There are watches that love adventure. They are themselves an adventure. One of these is the Vacheron Constantin Overseas. Born 25 years ago as heir to the legendary 222 – which was the first, true sports watch of the Maison, designed by Jörg Hysek – the Overseas immediately rewrote sportiness codes according to Vacheron Constantin: new case design, integrated bracelet, fluted bezel with a decoration inspired by the Maltese cross, its symbol.
THE OVERSEAS AND CORY RICHARDS
Since 1996, the Overseas has gone through two major restylings, in 2004 – bigger case and new bracelet – and in 2016 – redesigned case. It fitted on the wrists of people who make adventure their bread and butter, like the American mountaineer, explorer and photographer Cory Richards, who wore an Overseas Dual Time prototype during his 2019 attempt to climb mount Everest along the north-east ridge, a route that is considered the most difficult and dangerous.
The attempt unfortunately failed due to the severe weather conditions, which were also a good test for the watch specially created by Vacheron Constantin as a unique piece for that expedition and which, at the end of 2019, was auctioned by Phillips in New York for over $ 100,000 – an amount that went to charity in support of the National Geographic Society.
HERE COMES THE VACHERON CONSTANTIN OVERSEAS “EVEREST” CHRONOGRAPH
That adventure on the Everest was too good, just as that watch designed for Cory Richards was too good to remain a unique piece. Thus, two years after Richards’ expedition to the top of the world, Vacheron Constantin created the Overseas “Everest” limited editions.
Two timepieces, a chronograph and a dual time watch (the latter directly inspired by the one worn by Richards), each made in 150 pieces. Watch Insanity had the privilege of getting a hold of the watch, the chronograph, which is the protagonist of an exclusive shooting which took place in its natural habitat: the mountains’ severe and fascinating landscape. The best way to live and enjoy the watch for what it is: casual chic but, above all, a companion for adventure.
TOP MATERIALS AND FINISCHES
So, let’s see this Vacheron Constantin Overseas “Everest” Chronograph. Compared to the case of the dual time version, which measures 41 mm as the one-off piece for Richards, this one is 42.5 mm – but it comes with the same choice of finishes and materials: titanium and steel, with alternating satin and polished parts. Titanium, which is also in the bezel (whose ring is made of steel), in the pushers and in their protections, reinforces the watch’s pursuit of lightness and versatility.
The attention to detail is found in the pushers’ glossy finishes, while the bezel, the crown and the pushers’ protections have been micro-blasted. Not surprisingly: it is necessary to ensure a reliable grip for manipulation especially on these last two parts. To do so, microblasting is a very functional process, as well as it is aesthetically pleasant.
A HIGHLY VISIBLE DIAL
Speaking of functionality and aesthetics, let’s move from the case to the dial. The immediate readability of the information is a characteristic of all Overseas chronographs, but here it is further enhanced by the orange color of the three chronograph hands, that of the central seconds and the 30-minute and 12-hour counters, at 3 and 6 o’clock. The date window is located in the classic Overseas position, at 4.30.
Clarity and legibility go hand in hand with top-notch finishes. The applied indexes are in gold, as are the hour, minute and small seconds hands which, like the indexes, are covered with Superluminova in a very seductive blue tone, thus emphasizing their visibility in the dark. The blue, tending to gray, is also seen on the dial, decorated with a grained finishing – which, in our opinion, is the real “wow” feature regarding the aesthetics of this watch.
TALKING ABOUT THE STRAP
Let’s not forget that the Vacheron Constantin Overseas “Everest” Chronograph is firstly and foremost a sports watch. This is why the Maison has designed two straps for it, both very technical: one in gray Cordura with orange stitching and lining in black suede calfskin, the other in gray rubber, both with a folding clasp in titanium and steel.
The watch worn by Cory Richards had a strap in Ventile, a weather-resistant fabric, made with extra-long cotton fiber, that is only 2% of the entire world’s cotton harvest: this fiber is used to create hi-resistance yarns.
VACHERON CONSTANTIN’S MECHANICAL WISDOM
We moved from the case to the dial and from the dial to the strap. Now, let’s move from the strap to the caliber. Like the artists who leave the most beautiful and coveted piece at the end of their performance, we have saved the story of the movement for last, movement which, as always for Vacheron Constantin, is worth as much as the rest of the watch.
This is the automatic caliber 5200/2, developed by the manufacture and equipped with a double barrel to guarantee a power reserve up to 52 hours, with a frequency of 28,800 vibrations/hour. The chronograph start, stop and reset functions are managed by a classic column wheel, reliable and precise. Thanks to the vertical clutch, it avoids the hand to hop when starting the chronograph, thus further improving precision and reliability.
The Maison put the same attention both in the aesthetics of the movement and in its mechanics. So, the caliber is visible through the sapphire crystal caseback. The Côtes-de-Genève finishing on the bridges is combined with an NAC treatment (a galvanic process that gives a dark color to the parts treated) on the baseplate, which recalls the anthracite gray shades of the watch.
AN ARTISTIC TOUCH
The masterpiece of the watch is its oscillating weight. Made of 22 karat rose gold, its central part is in the shape of a wind rose symbolizing its vocation for exploration, while on the periphery, in addition to the Maltese cross and the Vacheron Constantin engraving, there is a small bas-relief representing Mount Everest and its nearest range. The drawing was based on a photo taken by Cory Richards during one of his top-of-the-world expeditions.
A further tribute to the one-of-a-kind piece created for the climber in 2019. Its oscillating weight, also in 22 karat rose gold, featured a stylized Everest silhouette, in addition to the “Cory Richards Everest 2019” engraving.
What else is there to say about the Vacheron Constantin Overseas “Everest” Chronograph? That the 150 enthusiasts who wish to put it on their wrists could do so paying €. 37,200, while the dual time is sold at €. 31,500. A reasonable amount to wear a watch that, in addition to being an example of the brand’s adventurous spirit, also reflects its communication campaign’s slogan: “One of not many”.
By Davide Passoni