Vacheron Constantin recently released the Overseas “Everest” series – a two new watches: Overseas chronograph “Everest” and Overseas Dual Time “Everest”. Each set is limited to 150 numbered pieces. Both became notoriously difficult to obtain, and we understand that all 300 have been duly spoken for. We did see the prototypes and photographed both the watches earlier, and now present the Dual Time to you. We will present the Chronograph version in due time.
We debated for a while on whether to publish this review and photo essay. The reason for not wanting to do so is that the watches, both the Dual Time and Chronograph are all spoken for, being highly desirable, and only a total limitation of 150 pieces each. The yes side is because these are magnificent watches. Truly a statement of the art where the Overseas shine – in melding the traditional haute horlogerie with the go anywhere, take any adventure type of a tool watch. And we have had a comprehensive hands-on sessions where we were able to handle the watch intimately, and do our photography. In the final analysis, we decided to go ahead. And will publish this more as a documentary of the beauty of the watches, and a record for history.
We are pleased to present this review and photo essay of the VC Overseas Dual Time “Everest”. The Chronograph will be published in a similarly styled article by the end of this month.
Review and Photo Essay: Vacheron Constantin Overseas Dual Time “Everest”
The retail price of the Vacheron Constantin Overseas Dual Time “Everest” Reference: 7910V/000T-B922 is SGD 44,900 inclusive of GST.
The story of the genesis of this watch is an interesting one. American explorer and photographer, Cory Richards wanted a watch for his third ascent of Mount Everest, a route via the the North East Ridge, which is considered the most difficult and perilous. VC responded to the challenge, and created a prototype which Cory used in the successful 2019 campaign to the summit.
The prototype was designed so that Cory can track the time on Everest, as well as back home in the US. It had to withstand the elements associated with forging a new path up the mountain. The watch was a special Overseas Dual Time Prototype and featured a 41mm titanium case, reinforced with tantalum under the bezel and crown guards. The 22k gold rotor has an engraving depicting Cory’s photograph of Everest emerging over Tibet. The dial had a grained finish, with blackened 18k white gold accents and an orange second timezone hand. The unique piece worn to the summit was auctioned at Phillips in NYC for $106,250, on the 10th of December to benefit the National Geographic Society.
These elements, with the exception of the tantalum reinforcements are picked up in this new Overseas Dual Time “Everest” model.
The case, dial and hands
The case is the now familiar VC Overseas case with the highly recognizable six-sided bezel evoking hints of the Maltese Cross. The 41mm case is now animated in a dual material titanium and steel. The case, bezel, pushers and pusher guard (a screw down ring) are in titanium, and the bezel ring in stainless steel. The surfaces are also finished in contrasting styles – satin brushed and polished for the case, polished for pusher, bead blasted for the bezel, crown and pusher guard. And the stainless steel bezel ring is in a high polish. The effect of the contrasting finishes in close juxtaposition makes for a nice pop, and gives the watch a dimensionality. It also evokes a feel of ruggedness and toughness, reminiscent of the surfaces of the Everest’s rocky sides.
The dial is rather interesting. In a dark anthracite grey tone and finished in a highly textured grained surface. The visual impression is like a very light hammered finish. The dial layout is classical and the same as the other more traditional Overseas Dual Time models. As a result, legibility is excellent. A sloped rehaut in a polished grey finish is marked in seconds, printed in transfer ink as lines for each second marker, with the 5 second marks in Arabic numerals. The outermost periphery of the dial proper lie the minute markers, also in printed white bars for each in combination with faceted appliqués in blackened white gold with blue SuperLuminova infill for each 5 minutes. These also serve as hour markers. 6 is not shown, as it is overlapped by the date sub-dial, and 5 and 7 truncated for the same reason. The 12, 3, 9 hour markers are large appliqué trapezoids with faceted side edges. The VC Malteze Cross logo is also in a high polish appliqué, and the brand name in white transfer print completes the dial.
An AM/PM indicator is inboard of the marker at 9 o’clock, synchronized to “Home Time” while a date sub-dial, set by the pusher is indicated at 6 o’clock, synchronized to “Local Time”. The hands are large and legible. Hour and minute hands are lance type, with lume infilling. The third hand for the second timezone is set by the crown and is shown as a large arrow in bright orange, with a triangle tip with lume infill. The seconds hand is a long and sleek needle like affair, with a long tail acting as a counter weight.
The same bright orange is picked up in the stitching on the Cordura strap with a nubuck calfskin lining. The strap feels very sturdy, yet soft on the wrist. As with the other VC Overseas models, the straps are equipped with the quick release system, and only one spare grey rubber strap is supplied with the watch. No bracelet is available for this model. A titanium/steel two fold deployant buckle is used for closure of the strap.
The movement: VC Cal. 5110 DT/2
The movement beating in the Dual Time “Everest” is the VC inhouse manufactured Cal. 5110 DT/2. This is the standard movement used in 3 other VC Overseas Dual Time watches. The only difference being the movement is now given an anthracite grey NAC treatment, so the baseplate looks darker and perhaps adds a more contemporary character. Also the engraving on the 22k oscillating weight now features the north face of Mount Everest as a motif which is inspired by a photograph taken by Cory Richards.
The other usual comments on the VC movements apply here. Finishing is excellent, and the movement has the Poinçon de Genève. The usual accoutrements of high end finishing are all there: Côtes de Genève on the surface of bridges, polished chamfers on the edges, sharp outward angles on the bevels, polished screw heads, and of course, tight perlage on the base plate. Finnissage is judged to be excellent, and especially high for watch intended for use as a tool watch in the hazardous business of exploration.
This is an impressive watch. Perhaps more tool like than most Vacherons tend to be. And with good intent. The origin story of the “Everest” model, is no different from the demands of Edmund Hillary and Sherpa Tenzing’s first ascent to Everest in 1953, a feat accomplished while the two were wristed with the Smiths and the Rolex Explorer. Cory Richard’s ascent via the North East Ridge demanded a similar ruggedness, some 66 years later. And VC’s response to the challenge resulted in the “Everest”. A beautiful blend of haute horlogerie with a tool watch.
The Overseas Dual Time “Everest” is a superbly handsome watch. The testing with the strenuous climb up the World’s highest peak is testament that VC can make a tool watch. One which is antimagnetic, has a two timezone indication, as well as rugged enough to survive the hazardous journey. And certainly one which can withstand the daily rigours of the man about town, or country. It goes well when worn with a suit, like we show in the photograph above, ready for the boardroom. Or out in the great outdoors while doing intense physical activity.
It is no surprise that all the 150 pieces, as well as the 150 Chronographs, have been snapped up. If you were one of the lucky few, we hope you wear your VC in good health, and not let it become a safe queen.
The Overseas Dual Time “Everest” was photographed in-situ at an event organized by Vacheron Constantin. Hasselblad H3D-30 with HC 4/120 and HC 2.8/80 + H26 Extension Tube. Profoto strobe.