The Overseas is Vacheron Constantin’s resident sports collection, currently in its third generation. The iconic sports line has seen numerous technical complications added to its pieces over the years, and in 2019, it was the tourbillon. The Overseas Tourbillon had debuted as a stainless steel model and was well-received by press and enthusiasts alike.
Vacheron Constantin Overseas Tourbillon in Pink Gold
Fast forward to 2021 and the Overseas Tourbillon is finally available in precious metal, offering more options for the brand’s clients. Here, we give you the low-down and our thoughts on the new Vacheron Constantin Overseas Tourbillon in pink gold.
The Case, Dial, and Hands
The latest Overseas Tourbillon is crafted in 18K 5N pink gold. Its case design, including the iconic Maltese cross-inspired bezel, is otherwise unchanged. The size of the timepiece also remains the same at 42.5 x 10.39 mm. Having been water-resistant tested at a pressure of 5 bar, the Overseas Tourbillon is able to handle splashes and surface swimming if the wearer is so inclined. The watch comes with a full pink gold bracelet with links that resemble half Maltese crosses. The bracelet comes with a triple-blade folding clasp that has been fitted with a convenient comfort-adjustment mechanism. As is the case with other third generation Overseas watches, the Overseas Tourbillon in pink gold comes with additional straps, including a blue alligator leather strap and a blue rubber strap. The proprietary strap changing system of the watch ensures that swapping straps is a quick, painless, and tool-free affair.
While there’s no denying that the case and bracelet are striking, it is the dial that inevitably steals the limelight. Much like the preceding model, this one is also rendered with the much beloved blue lacquered dial with sunburst finish. This combination of surface treatment lends to some amazing light play. To match the case, the hands and applied hour markers are all made of pink gold as well. Additionally, they have a coating of luminescent material to enable low- and no-light visibility. Last but not least, there’s the tourbillon aperture at 6 o’clock that reveals the tourbillon regulator, the star of the show. If tourbillons had a beauty pageant, Vacheron Constantin would win the grand prize every time.
Driving the Overseas Tourbillon in pink gold is the 188-part, 30-jewel Calibre 2160, the same self-winding movement used in the preceding stainless steel model. It has an impressive power reserve of 80 hours and operates at a stately 2.5 Hz frequency. The Calibre 2160 indicates the time in hours, minutes and seconds (via the blued screw on the tourbillon carriage) and has a tourbillon regulator. The movement is wound by a peripheral rotor which, compared to a conventional central rotor, doesn’t increase movement thickness and obstruct the view of the movement through the sapphire crystal case back.
Solid watchmaking aside, the Calibre 2160 also boasts incredible finissage and decoration worthy of the Hallmark of Geneva. The bridges feature gorgeous Geneva waves on the top surface, sharp angles, and polished bevels. The screws used to secure them are polished to a blinding sheen. The gold peripheral rotor – still a rare sight in watchmaking today – appears to be decorated with a hobnail guilloche pattern, sandblasting, and relief engraving. Not forgetting as well, the tourbillon, with a cage that resembles the emblematic Maltese cross. The black-polished tourbillon cage alone contains more inward and outward angles than the rest of the movement. Even the bridge that secures the tourbillon is expertly rounded and painstakingly mirror-polished. Such intricate level of finishing on a tourbillon is hard to come by even by haute horlogerie standards.
The Competitive Landscape
The luxury sports/utility watch with tourbillon is one of horology’s trendiest combination of the past decade. The likes of Laurent Ferrier, Panerai, Audemars Piguet – just to list a few household names – have got at least one example in their stables. The combination makes no practical sense, but then again, most people who buy these watches use them for neither sports nor utility. Luxury sports watches, tourbillon or not, are, after all, worn for the appreciation of the craft and as a status symbol. The new Overseas Tourbillon in pink gold represents the peak of the tourbillon sports watch category. Rendered entirely in precious metal, it is impeccably crafted and fitted with arguably the most gorgeous tourbillon in the industry. Such excellence, however, does not come cheap; the Overseas Tourbillon in pink gold retails at an eye-watering SGD235,000.
One brand that’s more familiar with the tourbillon sports watch than Vacheron Constantin is Audemars Piguet. Last year, the Le Brassus manufacturer introduced the Royal Oak Tourbillon Chronograph Openworked Black Ceramic, a stunning watch that combines modern design and materials with traditional watchmaking and finishing techniques. While the tourbillon looks pedestrian compared to the one in the Vacheron Constantin Overseas, the Audemars Piguet more than makes up for it with it’s beautifully openworked movement. The Royal Oak Tourbillon Chronograph Openworked Black Ceramic was priced at CHF290,000 when it debuted which is significantly pricier than the Overseas Tourbillon in pink gold. It is worth mentioning, though, that the watch has chronograph functionality and is a limited edition release.
On the opposite end of the cost spectrum, there’s the Tag Heuer Carrera Calibre Heuer 02T Tourbillon Nanograph. At SGD25,500, the “all black” iteration (shown in the photograph below) with carbon lugs, bezel, and hairspring is the most expensive variant of the model, but compared to other tourbillon sports watches, it remains one of the most accessible ones. While craftsmanship is sacrificed to contain cost, the Tourbillon Nanograph fulfills its duty as a timepiece and chronograph splendidly as evidenced by its COSC-certification. This is a watch for those fascinated by materials engineering and mechanical watchmaking, but not so much craftsmanship.
The Vacheron Constantin Overseas Tourbillon in pink gold, while pricey, boasts impeccable craftsmanship. It is also an immensely versatile timepiece thanks to its handy strap-changing mechanism, allowing one to go from boardroom to bar to beach seamlessly with the provided straps and bracelet. Though not exactly a true novelty, the Overseas Tourbillon in pink gold does offer the brand’s clients another valuable option other than the original stainless steel variation.