Comparative review Vacheron Constantin Overseas Perpetual Calendar Ultra-Thin

Overseas perpetual calendar ultra-thin skeleton versus Overseas perpetual calendar ultra-thin

Vacheron Constantin Overseas Perpetual Calendar Ultra-Thin
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Vacheron Constantin launched this year two versions of its Overseas Perpetual Calendar Ultra-Thin. Paraphrasing a quote from a movie: the same but different, different but the same. Despite being from the same collection, having (basic) the same movement, and both with blue accents, the simple versus the skeleton manage to be quite powerful and individual with strong characters. Let’s break these two into details to see how different or similar they are. We talk today about the Overseas Perpetual Calendar Ultra-Thin Ref. 4300V/120G-B945 and the Vacheron Constantin Overseas Perpetual Calendar Ultra-Thin Skeleton Ref. 4300V/120G-B946.

Overseas perpetual calendar ultra-thin skeleton
Vacheron Constantin Overseas Perpetual Calendar Ultra-Thin Skeleton Reference 4300V/120G-B946

By all means, the perpetual calendar in an ultra-thin case is not a new thing for Vacheron Constantin. The Geneva brand has extensive experience in this topic also in the Patrimony collection. While this Perpetual Calendar Ultra-Thin was introduced in the Overseas collection in 2016 the base calibre used exists in the brand’s portfolio since the end of the ’60s. So after seeing last year the pink gold version (skeletonised white dial and lacquered blue) dial, it comes as not such a surprise to see the blue dials (skeletonised and not) in a white gold case. Surprising? – No! Expected? – Yes! Again we find the fast-changing straps included as covering a wide range of needs and situations.

Vacheron Constantin Overseas Perpetual Calendar Ultra-Thin Reference 4300V/120G-B945 official video:

Vacheron Constantin Overseas Perpetual Calendar Ultra-Thin Skeleton Reference 4300V/120G-B946 official video

Note: the watches presented today are prototypes/press pieces. The watches are not customer ready and present some minor details that a trained eye will recognise. While Vacheron Constantin presents its customers the best quality possible, the press pieces are travelling all over the world, being molested and tested by trade and fashion media and sometimes small repairs are needed to keep the watch fully functioning but without suffering the entire process of cleaning and oiling reserved for the customers’ pieces. As an example, the event organised by VAC that I attended hosted 20 press people that all handled these watches. That is why, the watches present small scratches, are not properly cleaned and so on…

Vacheron Constantin Overseas Perpetual Calendar Ultra-Thin
Reference 4300V/120G-B945

The Overseas case

What we see today in the Overseas Collection is a story that started in the ’70s. In an era where the entire design culture changed dramatically, history left behind some legendary shapes (from cars to watches). In those years were born some of the today’s most sought pieces. And between them, Vacheron Constantin‘s. Maybe not as much of the trendsetter like in the case of the American 1921, but definitively a very desirable and desired design.

Vacheron Constantin Overseas Perpetual Calendar Ultra-Thin Skeleton Reference 4300V/120G-B946
Reference 4300V/120G-B946

The shape within a shape loved theory of those years was much harder to follow with the lack of computer-aided design of our days. But thanks to some design geniuses like Gerald Genta, Gino Macaluso, Jorg Hysek and others, several geometrical shapes combinations remained as legendary.

Overseas perpetual calendar ultra-thin Reference 4300V/120G-B945
Reference 4300V/120G-B945

Some 45 years ago, Vacheron Constantin trusting Jorg Hysek, prepared for the brands’ 222 anniversary the Overseas precursor, named back the “222”. The watch was a success for the brand’s aficionados but left aside after the mid-’80s. A decade later, the  Overseas collection was born from the original “222” idea. The lines were redrawn by Vincent Kaufmann and Dino Modolo. From this era comes the bezel inspired by the brand’s Maltese cross logo – a polished bezel against a matt background – that emphasise even more the rebellious shape.

Vacheron Constantin Overseas Perpetual Calendar Ultra-Thin Skeleton Reference 4300V/120G-B946
Reference 4300V/120G-B946

The metal bracelet that we all love so much goes back to 2004, when the Maltese cross was integrated into the design language, offering not only a visual gimmick but also a better comfort.

Overseas perpetual calendar ultra-thin Reference 4300V/120G-B945
Reference 4300V/120G-B945

The design we see today is the latest iteration done by Vincent Kaufmann. The 8-tips design of the bezel was reduced to six and the bezel was raised on a circular base, the collection was powered by in-house movements (leaving aside the Jaeger-LeCoultre and Frédéric Piguet ebauches).

Vacheron Constantin Overseas Perpetual Calendar Ultra-Thin
Reference 4300V/120G-B946

The Vacheron Constantin Overseas Perpetual Calendar Ultra-Thin comes in a 42.5mm white gold case sporting a thickness of only 8.1mm. The Maltese cross decorated crown fits well between the calendar’s pushers. We find a combination of several brushing types and polished surfaces. This combo highlights beautifully the case lines and design. The watch wears fantastic, smaller as expected. The weight of the gold bracelet can be eased by the leather or rubber options. The fast-changing system works like a charm (and well exampled here: Review Vacheron Constantin Overseas Perpetual Calendar Ultra-Thin Skeleton).

Vacheron Constantin Overseas Perpetual Calendar Ultra-Thin
Reference 4300V/120G-B945

Busy, but with useful indications

When you want a full perpetual calendar you don’t expect a “clean” dial. The perpetual calendars have their own charm and category’s fans. It is clear that these watches will  not exist in such big numbers if there was no market for them. I personally love these watches – having a clear display of the information at a roll of the wrist is magic.

Reference 4300V/120G-B946
Date on Reference 4300V/120G-B946

The charm of the Skeleton version is that you can observe all the intricacies of the mechanical movement (for instance, the lever on the date cam). But the skeletonised movement is a bold appearance not for every watch loving soul. The blue lacquered dial offers a much more quiet appearance.

Reference 4300V/120G-B945
Reference 4300V/120G-B945

The layout is organised with the date on the right, the day on the left, month and leap year at 12 o’clock and moon phase on the lower side, at 6 o’clock. The blue lacquered dial presents on its sub-dial a circular pattern.

Reference 4300V/120G-B945
Reference 4300V/120G-B945

The indexes are a mix of white and light blue printed indexes. The hour’s indices are hand-applied three-dimensional 18K white gold pieces with Super-LumiNova®. Also in white gold with luminescent insert are the hours and minutes hands.

Reference 4300V/120G-B946
Reference 4300V/120G-B946

The sapphire dial of the Reference 4300V/120G-B946 creates a spectacular depth. The indications seem to float above the pure mechanics. The indications offer the same white and light-blue prints against the blue register background. The Skeleton version presents a pink gold moon phase (in comparison with the white gold version of the full metal dial reference).

Calibre 1120 QP
Reference 4300V/120G-B945

Calibre 1120 QP

Vacheron Constantin Overseas Perpetual Calendar Ultra-Thin is powered by the Calibre 1120 QP. The calibre is based on a 60 years old ultra-thin full rotor movement. This movement is modified in the case of the skeletonised Reference 4300V/120G-B946. Besides the obvious skeletonisation, the movement suffered a different approach for finishes. The first visual difference (beside skeletonisation) is the NAC treatment on the skeleton versus the rhodium plating on the not skeleton Overseas QP.

Reference 4300V/120G-B946
Reference 4300V/120G-B946

The skeleton was opened as much as physical and mechanical possible, revealing an amazing set of details. The finishes are highlighted by the highly polished chamfer executed on all possible edges. At the non skeletonised version, the movement was delightfully hand decorated with the traditional set of finishes (Geneva waves, perlage, hammering). It is very interesting to see the movements side by side.

A matter of personal style

It is clear that both versions are gorgeous representations of the same complication – the perpetual calendar. One stands out with a bold and powerful appearance. The other one stands out with an elegant, somehow restrained look.

A short hands-on of the Vacheron Constantin Overseas Perpetual Calendar Ultra Thin White gold blue dial Ref. 4300V/120G-B945can be seen here:

Due to lack of time, I only did a wrist-roll of the skeletonised version (a hands-on video can be seen at the pink gold version launched last year):

Both beautiful beasts, they address to different types of collectors (or situations). The skeletonised version is much louder and obvious but an exceptional example of skeletonisation and visible mechanics. The full dial version offers the Vacheron’s blue dial with a pleasant sporty,  yet quieter piece. Since I am an avid fan of skeletonisation, I would gladly go towards Ref. 4300V/120G-B946. Especially since the straps (rubber or leather) can mute a bit from its wildness. On the other side, I am a sucker for brand’s blue dials watches and the Ref. 4300V/120G-B945 is a superb piece, extremely elegant on leather strap.

Overseas perpetual calendar ultra-thin Reference 4300V/120G-B945
Reference 4300V/120G-B945

Of course, the skeletonised version brings a significant increase in price, but this does not damage or pale its beauty.

Vacheron Constantin Overseas Perpetual Calendar Ultra-Thin Skeleton Reference 4300V/120G-B946
Reference 4300V/120G-B946

Both watches wear similar: comfortable, a bit smaller than expected from specifications. The weight of the bracelet is no problem for those used to bracelet watches (but don’t forget gold has its heavy side in comparison with steel, even more with titanium). On the straps, the watches behave admirably.

Vacheron Constantin Overseas Perpetual Calendar Ultra-Thin Technical  Specifications

Vacheron Constantin Overseas Perpetual Calendar Ultra-Thin Skeleton Reference 4300V/120G-B946
Reference 4300V/120G-B946

Overseas perpetual calendar ultra-thin skeleton Reference 4300V/120G-B946

Movement

  • Calibre 1120 QPSQ/1
  • Developed and manufactured by Vacheron Constantin
  • Mechanical, self-winding
  • 22K openworked oscillating weight inspired by the shape of a Maltese cross
  • NAC treatment
  • 29.6 mm (12½’’’) diameter, 4.05 mm thick
  • Approximately 40 hours of power reserve
  • 2.75 Hz (19,800 vibrations per hour)
  • 276 components
  • 36 jewels
  • Hallmark of Geneva certified timepiece

Indications

  • Hours and minutes
  • Perpetual calendar (date, day of the week, month, leap year)
  • Moon phases

Case

  • 18K white gold
  • 41.5 mm diameter, 8.1 mm thick
  • Soft iron casing ring ensuring anti-magnetic protection
  • Transparent sapphire crystal caseback
  • Water-resistance tested at a pressure of 5 bar (approx. 50 metres)

Dial

  • Sapphire
  • 18K white gold hour-markers and hours & minutes hands highlighted with Super-LumiNova®

Bracelet

  • 18K white gold bracelet (half Maltese cross-shaped polished and satin-brushed links), secured by a 18K white gold triple-blade folding clasp with push-pieces and comfort-adjustment system

Additional straps

  • Blue Mississippiensis alligator leather strap with blue stitches
  • Blue rubber

Buckles

  • Each additional strap comes with a 18K white gold buckle

Model exclusively available from Vacheron Constantin boutiques.

Reference 4300V/120G-B945
Reference 4300V/120G-B945

Overseas perpetual calendar ultra-thin Reference 4300V/120G-B945

Movement

  • Calibre 1120 QP/1
  • Developed and manufactured by Vacheron Constantin
  • Mechanical, self-winding
  • 22K gold Overseas oscillating weight
  • 29.6 mm (12½’’’) diameter, 4.05 mm thick
  • Approximately 40 hours of power reserve
  • 2.75 Hz (19,800 vibrations per hour)
  • 276 components
  • 36 jewels
  • Hallmark of Geneva certified timepiece

Indications

  • Hours and minutes
  • Perpetual calendar (date, day of the week, month, leap year)
  • Moon phases

Case

  • 18K white gold
  • 41.5 mm diameter, 8.1 mm thick
  • Soft iron casing ring ensuring anti-magnetic protection
  • Transparent sapphire crystal caseback
  • Water-resistance tested at a pressure of 5 bar (approx. 50 metres)

Dial

  • Translucent blue-lacquered, sunburst satin-finished base with velvet-finished minute-track
  • 18K white gold hour-markers and hours & minutes hands highlighted with Super-LumiNova®

Bracelet

  • 18K white gold bracelet (half Maltese cross-shaped polished and satin-brushed links), secured by a 18K white gold triple-blade folding clasp with push-pieces and comfort-adjustment system

Additional straps

  • Blue Mississippiensis alligator leather strap with blue stitches
  • Blue rubber

Buckles

  • Each additional strap comes with an 18K white gold buckle

Vacheron Constantin Overseas Perpetual Calendar Ultra-Thin Gallery

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