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Photo: Mervin Chua

Photo: Geoff Ang

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REVOLUTION REVOLUTION BROUGHT TO YOU BY vacHeROn cOnsTanTin The 222 is the genetic forefather to Vacheron

The 222 is the genetic forefather to Vacheron Constantin’s Overseas Dual Time (below, in rose gold)

A DECADE OF EVOLUTIONARY BRILLIANCE

THE STORY OF VACHERON CONSTANTIN’S OVERSEAS

BY WEI KOH

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No other timepiece has evolved as gracefully, with as much intriguing nuance, as Vacheron Constantin’s Overseas

No other timepiece has evolved as gracefully, with as much intriguing nuance, as Vacheron Constantin’s Overseas

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birth of a legend: the 222

In Darwin’s theory of evolution, mankind changed its genetic traits in each successive generation in reaction to the needs of the shifting environment. Similarly, luxury is an evolutionary creature that responds to the needs of the contemporary world. Vacheron Constantin’s legendary Overseas sports watches were born into a world of shifting global dynamics and through its brilliant evolution, continues to dominate the sports watch market today. While 2006 marks the 10th anniversary of the Overseas, in truth the design brilliance and revolutionary adaptability of this luxury icon reaches back to 1977. In the turbulent decade known as the ’70s, the Swiss watch industry was undergoing tremendous change. On one front, the Quartz Crisis forced the industry to reinvent itself. Yet on another front, the first insurgence of modernism, industrial design and of sporting cool made its entrance into the Swiss watch world. It is fitting that Vacheron Constantin, the world’s oldest continually operating Swiss watch company, became a flashpoint for this new era of luxury. “It has always

milieu of the black tie ball or playing in the surf off the white sand beaches of the Bahamas. With the shifting values of the 1970s, the 222 became one of the primary luxury symbols for youthful empowerment. The 222 was revolutionary in both form and content. It was crafted in gold, steel and perhaps most famously in a mixed metal version that notably fused the worlds of traditional luxury (as expressed by its gold bezel and bracelet links) and high performance (as embodied by its steel case and bracelet outer links). The 222 was born through Vacheron Constantin’s collaboration with a young design maverick named Gerald Genta. It was characterized by a distinctive fluted screw-in bezel, a sophisticated one-piece case construction resulting in an impressively flat shape for a watch containing a shock resistant automatic caliber 1121 driven by a solid 22-karat gold oscillating mass. The 222 also featured a sculptural bracelet and the inclusion of a tiny Maltese cross stamp at the lower right hand corner of the case. Water resistant to 120 meters, the 222 was a true high-crafted luxury timepiece that could be immersed in water and withstand the rigors of sports. And while Genta also designed several other icons of this era, no other timepiece has evolved as gracefully,

In 1996, the Phidias was reborn as the Overseas, a name that evoked the era of romance and travel that it was created for. The Overseas, a more muscular, aggressively styled sports watch, channeled far more of the spirit of the original 222 as well as expressing a deeper genetic connection to the manufacture

been in our DNA to marry traditional high watchmaking values such as impeccable finish with the pulse of the contemporary world,” says Vacheron Constantin CEO Juan-Carlos Torres. “In 1932, we created our first steel case sports watch. In the 1940s, we were the first manufacture to create the trend for oversized chronographs in the Spanish market. In the 1970s, we created the 222, a watch that became a symbol for the new luxury elite.”

the 222 — forerunner to the oVerSeaS

Indeed the 222, created to celebrate Vacheron Constantin’s 222nd birthday, was one of the key players in the creation of a new category of timepieces called the ‘luxury sports watch’. These elegantly designed pieces

were equally adaptable to the heady

with as much intriguing nuance as Vacheron Constantin’s Overseas.

the 222 iS reborn: the PhidiaS

The 222 soon developed a cult following among luxury’s cognoscenti. In the world of sports watches, the 222 was the epitome of discreet elegance, oozing the same type of stealth cool as hand-stitched Anderson and Sheppard Savile Row suits or Aubercy bespoke shoes. In the early ’90s, the 222 was revised as the Phidias which took the basic architecture of the 222 and endowed it with a sleeker profile reflecting the prevailing aesthetic mores of that decade. The bezel of the Phidias was fully rounded and engraved with subtle timing indices. Its case received smooth integrated lugs for better ergonomics, while the complex bracelet evolved into a lean attenuated form. In 1996, the Phidias was reborn as the Overseas, a name that evoked the era of romance and travel that it was created for. The Overseas, a more muscular, aggressively styled sports watch, channeled far more of the spirit of the original 222 as well as expressing a deeper genetic connection to the manufacture. Its bezel now fully communicated the manufacture’s signature Maltese cross motif, and its more sculpted, faceted case and more muscular bracelet struck an emotional chord with buyers. Over the years it has become the sports watch for those searching for a more discreet

The Phidias took the basic architecture of the 222 and endowed it with a sleeker,
The Phidias took the basic
architecture of the 222 and
endowed it with a sleeker,
more streamlined profile
reflecting the prevailing
aesthetic mores of the ’90s

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The new Overseas family boasts watches with fierce, aggressive geometry and are resplendent with gorgeous minutiae

The new Overseas family boasts watches with fierce, aggressive geometry and are resplendent with gorgeous minutiae

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That the latest Overseas models have turned out so winningly comes as no surprise when you consider that these watches hold a particularly special place in the heart of Vacheron Constantin CEO Juan-Carlos Torres

alternative to flashier, overbuilt contemporary sports watches. Vacheron Constantin’s US president Julien Tornare says, “It was never Vacheron Constantin’s intention to dominate the sports watch market because our production is simply too low for us to do so. Instead, Vacheron Constantin wanted to offer buyers a sports watch option that communicated the elegance and timelessness of the manufacture.”

the era of the oVerSeaS

In 2004, just a few months before Vacheron Constantin was to celebrate its 250th anniversary, the Overseas was reborn once again. This incarnation of the Overseas saw the manufacture recapture the initial audaciousness which gave rise to the 222. Like the burgundies from Domaine de la Romanée-Conti, the Overseas has matured in a way that has allowed it to surpass its first flush of youth with a robustly alluring maturity. It was revised by a group of individuals at Vacheron Constantin, including designer Vincent Kauffmann. Kauffmann’s brilliant statement of ability evidenced in this timepiece announces his arrival as a designer of the future; but it is also something of a Cinderella story. Torres says, “Vincent Kauffmann, who designed the latest Overseas, got his start with us as an administrative assistant. He was in charge of putting spare parts in the small boxes. One day, we were in need of a small design and someone told me, ‘Try Mr. Vincent, he has some skills in drawing.’ I was confident in his abilities from the beginning because of how seriously he took this assignment. For me, it helps that a designer is from within the company because he has an emotional connection to our identity. It is always my preference to use someone from within the manufacture because he will have already understood our identity in a way an outsider would not be able to.” The new Overseas watches are so rich with detail that they almost overwhelm the senses. They are timepiece whose fierce, aggressive geometry is resplendent with gorgeous minutiae. There is a hypnotic charm to the alternating use of brushed and polished surfaces. The bracelet retains the massiveness of the 222’s bracelet while offering enhanced suppleness for comfort. Luminous indices and hands, as well as a grande date aperture, offer optimum legibility at 12 o’clock. The revised Overseas also reconnects Vacheron Constantin with its pioneer status and 160-year history in the field of anti-magnetic watches. In 1885, the manufacture created a famous anti-magnetic Vacheron Constantin signed watch with a balance, hairspring and lever shaft made from palladium, while the lever arms were made in bronze and the escape wheel made in gold. Throughout the next 100

years, engineers or scientists working in close proximity to magnetic

fields used these types of watches. Similarly, the redesigned Overseas uses a soft iron inner case to protect the movement from magnetic fields. This pragmatic feature is a winning example of Torres’ ability to tap into the manufacture’s rich history. The much-enlarged 42mm case (in comparison to the 37mm case of its predecessor) of the Overseas chronograph is the perfect home for this feature rooted in the manufacture’s past.

the oVerSeaS for the neW MillenniuM:

the yelloW gold chronograPh

2006 marks the 10th anniversary of the Overseas. However, if you were to look at the entire history of the Overseas since the 1977 introduction of the 222, this model represents 30 years of sporting evolution. For 2006, Vacheron Constantin has unveiled its most exciting versions of the Overseas yet. The first creative salvo fired by the world’s oldest manufacture is the yellow gold Overseas. This brushed yellow gold case watch literally revels in incandescent opulence while still boasting the highly pragmatic anti-magnetic soft iron inner case. Its sporting character is further defined by the elapsed time capture ability of its grande date chronograph movement. The three subdials as well as the grande date aperture are positioned to create perfect visual harmony on the dial. A chronograph minute counter occupies the 3 o’clock position and is slightly larger than the 12-hour counter located directly opposite it at 9 o’clock. At 6 o’clock, you’ll find the watch’s continuous seconds indicator. As with each member of the modern Overseas family, the yellow gold chronograph receives individual locking crowns for its chronograph pushers to ensure that these are not accidentally activated under water and to provide additional protection against shock. This muscular timepiece is water resistant to 150 meters and offers a sultry appeal perfect for throbbing nightspots anywhere from South Beach to Sardinia. The combination of go-anywhere, do-anything attitude, with its real world performance (as expressed by its anti-magnetic case and chronograph function) as well as its sexy predatorial looks make the yellow gold Overseas the perfect luxury tool for self- expression for any cooler-than-thou jet setter. Indeed, we would even go so far as to say that in the high stakes mating game, the gold Overseas is the ultimate symbol of personal evolution.

oVerSeaS dual tiMe

One reality modern man faces is the constant need for travel. The problem is that time is different in every 15 degrees of longitude around the globe. Beginning with your location, destinations to the east of you are experiencing time one hour earlier for every 15 degrees of longitude they are from you. Conversely, locations to the west of you experience time one hour later for every 15 degrees of longitude they are from you. In all, the earth possesses 24 time zones, meaning people are awake and business never stops at any time. Be it the endless vision quest for “all tomorrow’s parties,” or the by-product of transglobal corporate dominance, the ability to tell time in multiple zones is no longer a luxury but a necessity. Stepping into this world is the latest Overseas Dual Time, a watch that can keep you on time and on track when you are literally “overseas”. Offered in three metals (in stainless steel with either a silver or

The yellow gold Overseas chronograph is the perfect tool for luxurious self-expression

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yellow gold Overseas chronograph is the perfect tool for luxurious self-expression BROUGHT TO YOU BY vacHeROn

Photo: Geoff Ang

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On the dial is every piece of information needed by the modern corporate samurai. Local time is told from the watch’s centrally mounted hands; home time is read from a subdial at 6 o’clock

gIRL

WITH

ROSE

gOLD

black dial, in yellow gold with a silver dial, and in a special 250-piece rose gold limited edition case with an achingly gorgeous chocolate dial), the Overseas Dual Time is a brilliant merger of the iconic Overseas form with real world practicality. On the dial is every piece of information needed by the modern corporate samurai. Local time is told from the watch’s centrally mounted hands; home time is read from

a subdial at 6 o’clock. This indicator uses only an hour hand (because

minutes remain the same in all major 24 time zones) and is rendered in

a 12-hour format for better clarity. So how do you tell the difference between day and night hours? Take

a look at the small integrated day and night indicator that is located just to the left of the home time subdial. Setting your watch to an alternate

time zone is as easy as depressing the pusher located at 2 o’clock on the watch case. As with the chronograph pusher on the chronograph version, this pusher features a locking crown that enhances water resistance and has the added benefit of preventing the time from being accidentally changed. At 9 o’clock on the main dial is the watch’s power reserve indicator, letting you know how much of the automatic caliber 1222’s 40-hour reserve remains. At 3 o’clock on the main dial is the indication for date.

Vacheron Constantin Overseas Dual Time in stainless steel

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Creating luxury symbols up to the task of real sporting life is a concern for Vacheron Constantin. The case backs of all Overseas watches are screwed tightly into the one-piece case, compressing numerous water resistant gaskets and ensuring the watch’s 150-meter water resistance. As with all modern Overseas watches, the Dual Time also features a soft iron anti-magnetic shield. Finally, even the bracelet of the Overseas has been optimized to offer comfort and security while remaining visually stunning with its rhythm of brushed and polished textures. That the latest Overseas models have turned out so winningly comes as no surprise when you consider that these watches hold a particularly special place in the heart of CEO Juan-Carlos Torres. Torres’ first project upon joining Vacheron Constantin was the 222, the steel and gold sports watch designed by Gerald Genta and that in truth still provides the genetic tissue of the modern Overseas. Torres says, “When I entered Vacheron Constantin, this was the first watch project I worked on. I saw the 222 and I immediately said this watch is strong. So in the future, I might take the design cues of the 222 as the platform on which to evolve the next generation of the Overseas. It could be the perfect balance between power and elegance.” H

on which to evolve the next generation of the Overseas. It could be the perfect balance