Tuesday, May 17, 2016

The New Vacheron Constantin Overseas Chronograph

Manufacture Vacheron Constantin continues to unveil new developments and 2016 is focused on the Overseas range of timepieces.

There are several intriguing timepieces in the range but I shall leave that for another post. Today, I feature another brand icon, the Overseas Chronograph. A quick look and the most obvious change is the date layout - the big date which was previously at the twelve is gone, replaced by a smaller date window between the four and five o'clock position.

Not promising for me - for a few reasons. One, I believe a date is not necessary in a chronograph. A chronograph is a time measuring machine. So why the need for a date? Secondly, replacing the big date for a small one? Hmm... not promising for me. But as I dived into the timepiece, more and more unique features brings out the new Overseas Chronograph. More positives than one negative...

What I like about today's sports chronograph is that they are versatile as both sport timepieces as well as a daily wear especially when it comes with a bracelet instead of a rubber or leather strap. This is where the new Overseas is exceptional! The new Overseas comes with a quick change feature and the integrated bracelet featuring the brand's Maltese cross pattern.

Not only is it quick change, but easy change too! Press the clip downwards away from the watch case and lift up the bracelet - its just that simple and ingenious! And to put it back, just click it back into place. So the timepiece has become more versatile - bracelet when you want and if you are ready to bring it in for a dip, replace it with a rubber strap and whenever you wish, change into a blue leather strap for a more casual look. One watch, three looks with a clever quick change mechanism - no tools required! A big plus!

And it does not end there - the bracelet also comes with a quick adjustor - what they call the Easy-Fit system. This is found in the bracelet model where one can pull bracelet up to 4mm without having to remove a link. A simply pull allows one to adjust the bracelet length.

What about the anti-magnetic properties? Well, the new Chronograph comes protected, thanks to a soft iron rings that protects the case. And as a true sports piece, the timepiece is also water resistant to 15 bars (150 metres). Previously, the words anti-magnetic were found on the counter at 6 o'clock. This time around, the dial is much cleaner. Even the minute and hours hands are more slender than the previous version.

The timepiece comes with a screwed-down crown and quarter-turn screw-lock pushpieces. This is something ingenious, the quarter turn screw-lock pushpieces for the chronograph movement. These features are to provide better water proofing for the timepiece.

The case size is only slightly bigger. The older model is 42mm and the 2016 version is 42.5mm to accommodate the movement. The case features appropriately polished portions (six sided bezel) as well as satin finished surfaces.

The new Overseas Chronograph houses a new column-wheel chronograph Caliber 5200 which was five years in the making. The new Overseas in-house Calibres are developed and crafted by Vacheron Constantin and all featuring an automatic movement. Notice the quick change clip underneath the case. Finishing on the movement is as one would expect from the house of Vacheron Constantin - great level of finishing.

The Calibre 5200 for the Overseas Chronograph is a column-wheel chronograph movement with a power reserve of around 52 hours. Bearing the Geneva Seal, the automatic rotor is a 22 carat gold rotor adorn with a wind rose referencing the traveling spirit of the Overseas collection.

There are a few improvements on the movement of the 2016 Chronograph versus the older Calibre 1137. For one, the power reserve has been improve from around 40 hours to approximately 52 hours. Secondly, the new Calibre 5200 operates at 4 Hertz as opposed to 3 Hertz in the older movement. And the best part of the new Overseas Chronograph is the open case back displaying the movement for all to admire. Take a closer look and the column-wheel is designed to the shape of the Maltese Cross which was first featured in the Harmony collection - nice touch there!

Overall, a nice package.

And don't forget the white dial version too...

Despite the date drama for me, the new Overseas Chronograph is definitely an improvement over the older version. And the quick change mechanism is a clear winning proposition for me.