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The Vacheron Constantin Overseas “Panda” 2023

Few makers have seen such a meteoric rise in the last 48 months. Vacheron Constantin has for many, many years (almost 270!) been delivering outstanding Geneva Seal level haute horology, but it feels as though buyers beyond the hardcore collector community have really started to buy into the Genevan manufacture. The driving force behind this growth? It’s sports chic Overseas model. Now in its third generation and a descendant of the famous 222, it might just be the only watch you ever need. Launched as part of the renewal of the entire collection in 2016, the Overseas Chronograph is its sportiest model. Initially available with a full-silver or blue dial in steel or with a silver dial in a 18k pink gold case, the collection has been expanded with a brown dial, a reverse panda dial and a blue-and-gold model.

When it comes to new releases, things used to be far more straightforward. One show (or two) – many brands – all the watches in one go. That is a distant memory now and how and when new released come to market is a key strategic decision for makers. One of the first big launches this year is this, an eye-catching Overseas Chronograph with silver dial and ‘panda’ black subdials. This launch has been long-awaited among collectors and naturally coincides with the discontinuation of several previous versions: the brown model and full-silver dial – leaving three stainless steel editions: blue dial, black with white counters “reverse panda”, and the brand-new editions you see here.

This watch is all about the dial. The depth and wrist presence is something quite special. Sometimes a new dial can entirely change the look of a watch. It boasts a Sunday-brushed base coated with translucent varnish, a matte minute track ands nailed counters, white gold faceted applied markers and hands, all filled with Super-LumiNova, and a framed date window at 4:30. The steel case is 42.5mm in diameter wide and 13.7mm thick – with its signature Maltese cross-inspired bezel, screwed crown and pushers, and classic, high-end finishings with brushed and polished surfaces. The case is robust, with 150m water-resistance and a soft-iron inner case for anti-magnetism.

The watch come on a steel bracelet, closed by a folding buckle with comfort release, as well as two additional black straps in leather and rubber. Of course, the practical and patented interchangeable system has been retained and is a game changer. Having run the test – it’s done and dusted within 10 seconds. Inside the case, the watch beats to the rhythm of the in-house integrated autonomic calibre 5200 with a Geneva Seal/Poincon de Geneve quality. This modern chronograph features a column well and vertical clutch, traditional decorations and is wound by a 22k gold rotor with an Overseas design. The two barrels ensure 52h of power reserve.

In conclusion, it is hard to imagine a setting this Overseas wouldn’t feel entirely comfortable in. It is one we highly suggest trying on, because the punch it packs design wise in the metal needs to be seen to be fully appreciated.

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