The Vacheron Constantin Overseas Calibre 5100 is a 41 mm watch, 11 mm thick, providing hours, minutes, seconds and date. It is powered by the new Calibre 5100, a movement with 172 components that runs at 28,800 vibrations per hour, with a power reserve of over 60 hours provided by the two mainspring barrels. The movement can be viewed through the sapphire caseback. It is protected from magnetism by means of a soft iron casing ring. This is an interesting concept, and Vacheron Constantin say that is provides a magnetic resistance of up to 25,000 A/m, which I believe is about 314 Gauss. The fact that it’s just a ring, around the edge of the movement, makes it possible to leave most of the movement in view, and in particular the gold oscillating weight with its compass rose motif. The screw-down caseback and crown enable a water resistance rating of 15 bar, 150 metres.
The case features the distinctive Overseas bezel, with its twelve facets that gently mirror the hour divisions. It’s subtly striking, with the cleanly-cut bezel catching light in different ways. The original Overseas was designed by Jorg Hysek, and it has always been compared to the Royal Oak by Audemars Piguet and the Nautilus by Patek Philippe, both by Gerald Genta. The blue or silver-toned sunburst dial is beautifully balanced, with a fifth-second scale on the inner bezel flange, applied hour markers with luminescent paint, and the delicate Maltese cross logo also applied. The watch is supplied with three interchangeable strap options, a steel bracelet with a superb design incorporating part of the Maltese cross logo, and straps in rubber and leather. Changing the strap radically changes the character of the watch, and it’s a feature that virtually gives you three watches at the price of one. Along with the good water resistance, the quick-change straps make the watch a practical instrument for everyday use.
Prices and references
Vacheron Constantin are at the higher end of the market along with Patek Philippe and Audemars Piguet, and so even though this is a steel sports watch, it still has a high price tag. The steel version of the Overseas Calibre 5100 is made in two versions, 4500V/110A-B126 with silver-toned dial, and 4500V/110A-B128 with blue dial. Both cost €21,800, £18,610, $19,900. The version in rose gold is reference 4500V/000R-B127, price €38,900, $39,600.