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Review: The Golden Underdog – The Vacheron Constantin Overseas Perpetual Calendar Ultra-Thin in Pink Gold

by Frank Chuo on October 14, 2019

Vacheron Constantin Overseas Perpetual Calendar Ultra-Thin in pink gold

The Overseas, first debuting in 1996, is Vacheron Constantin’s household sports watch line. Currently in its third generation, the collection is diverse and well-developed, showcasing pieces with a wide range of complications and aesthetic nuances. One of its most beautiful and complicated offerings is the Overseas Perpetual Calendar Ultra-Thin. Initially only available in white gold, one of the world’s oldest watch manufacturers has now introduced two more pink gold variants to its ever-expanding sports watch collection. Here, we bring you the details and our thoughts on the new Overseas Perpetual Calendar Ultra-Thin in pink gold.

The Case, Dial, and Hands

The general design of the new Overseas Perpetual Calendar Ultra-Thin remains unchanged compared to the seminal white gold variant. It’s still got the sleek and slender 41.5 mm x 8.1 mm dimensions; the polished, Maltese cross-inspired bezel; and the cruciform layout of the perpetual calendar displays. In 2018, Vacheron Constantin presented the first pink gold version of the watch. The new 2019 versions are also rendered in pink gold, giving them a much warmer appearance to the icy coldness of its white gold sibling.

The surface finish of the Overseas is excellent, with alternating satin and polished finishes.

Where the 2019 novelties differ to the 2018 pink gold piece is in bracelet option and dial colour, respectively. The new Ref. 4300V/120R-B064 retains the silver coloured dial of the original pink gold release but is now offered with a full gold bracelet, along with the accompanying leather and rubber straps. The other novelty, the Ref. 4300V/000R-B509, does not come with a bracelet (only the leather and rubber straps) but has an electrifying blue lacquered dial. While the silver dialed, full gold variant is timeless in its looks, it is clear who the real winner of the pageant is. In our opinion, the blue dial/pink gold combination is tastefully bold and exciting. And yet, in spite of its contemporary look, the watch remains grounded in the traditional values of the grand dame of watchmaking. This clash in philosophy is what really makes the watch so gorgeous.

The balance of the dial layout is spot on, and the displays are legible.

The Movement

Driving the Overseas Perpetual Calendar Ultra-Thin is the 276-part, 36-jewel Calibre 1120QP/1, developed and manufactured in-house by Vacheron Constantin. The self-winding movement has a power reserve of 40 hours and operates at a lazy 2.75 Hz beat rate. The low-ish power reserve and languid oscillation of the balance wheel (to save energy) is common in perpetual calendar watches as the complication is power hungry. This is even more the case in thin perpetual calendar timepieces such as the Overseas Perpetual Calendar Ultra-Thin where the mainspring barrel is restricted in size. The movement is, impressively, only 4.05 mm thick.

The Calibre 1120QP/1 as seen through the sapphire crystal case back.

As to be expected from Vacheron Constantin, the Calibre 1120QP/1 – certified with the Hallmark of Geneva – is finely finished. Decorations such as Geneva waves, perlage, black polishing, and chamfering are done by hand and can be seen through the exhibition case back. The most eye-catching part of the movement is the 22k gold oscillating weight, adorned with a wind rose and multiple types of contrasting finishes.

The Competitive Landscape

In spite of its complexity, the perpetual calendar has today become a ‘bread and butter’ complication for any watch manufacturer worth its salt. Its ubiquity has spread even to sports watches, which is interesting, because the perpetual calendar is a serious, high-end calendar complication and the sports watch tends to be casual, rugged, and worn for sports and leisure; it hasn’t got much to do with a calendar that discriminates leap years from regular years. Nevertheless, we must confess that the new Overseas Perpetual Calendar Ultra-Thin – especially the blue-dialed version – is a darling. And beauty like that doesn’t come without a price. The full-gold version is priced at USD90,500 while the blue-dial, leather strap version costs USD73,500.

The Overseas Perpetual Calendar Ultra-Thin sits elegantly on the wrist, and slides under all but the tightest dress cuffs with ease.

In our opinion, one of the only few ultra-high end perpetual calendar sports watch that matches the Overseas Perpetual Calendar Ultra-Thin in beauty is the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar. It’s got a movement that is well-finished, and a case and bracelet that would seem to have been crafted by gods. In addition to the usual displays of the perpetual calendar, the Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar also indicates the week of the year via a central hand. One of the most fascinating variations of the watch is the ceramic where the case, bezel, and bracelet are crafted in – you guessed it – ceramic. It feels light as a feather, and looks as if it was black-coated metal – you either love it, or hate it. It’s a shock to the senses, but we love it. The Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar in Black Ceramic (also available in white) is priced at USD93,900, which is about the same price as the full gold Overseas. It might sound ridiculous that a ceramic watch costs the same as one that is fully gold, but it bears mentioning that finishing a brittle ceramic body is far, far tougher than finishing a body made of soft gold, especially when the level of finissage expected is that of the iconic Royal Oak.

The Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar in ceramic was one of 2017’s most novel watch releases. Never has ceramic been finished so spectacularly.

For a slightly less classical design, look no further than the IWC Ingenieur Perpetual Calendar Digital Date-Month. As its name suggests, the watch displays the date and the month in large digits at the 9 and 3 o’clock positions, respectively. While it does not indicate the day of the week, the Ingenieur Perpetual Calendar Digital Date-Month more than makes up for it with a complication that is actually more commonly associated with sports watches: the chronograph. Yes, this is a perpetual calendar chronograph watch – with flyback function to boot. And it costs a fraction of the Vacheron Constantin or Audemars Piguet, at USD46,300. Sure, the finissage doesn’t quite hold a candle to the Royal Oak or the Overseas, and at 45 mm x 17.4 mm, the watch is huge (though apparently acceptable by sports watch standards today), but the fact that you’d be paying “half price” for double the functionality is undeniably value-for-money, and therefore a must-consider for those in the market.

The IWC Ingenieur Perpetual Calendar Digital Date-Month. In the first half of 2019, a titanium version of the watch was introduced.

Final Thoughts

The Overseas Perpetual Calendar Ultra-Thin boasts an elegantly proportioned case, a well-balanced dial design, and finissage that is top shelf. The 2019 pink gold novelties will offer the brand’s clients more tantalising options. We particularly like the blue-dialed variant for its fresh look. Now that the Overseas Perpetual Calendar Ultra-Thin has grey, silver and blue dial options, a black dialed version is surely around the corner.

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