About Time: Design Secrets Of The Vacheron Constantin Overseas
No category of watch is currently more idolised than the stainless-steel luxury sports watch – specifically those with a design that integrates case and bracelet in one continuous, coherent shape. Unlike the majority of design trends, which evolve over time, this concept sprang abruptly into being in 1972 with Audemars Piguet’s Royal Oak, and was followed shortly by the Patek Philippe Nautilus and the Vacheron Constantin 222, in 1976 and 1977 respectively. This holy trinity of “sports-luxe” watches laid the foundations for the Cartier Santos, Piaget Polo S and many more, from the A. Lange & Söhne Odysseus to the Zenith Defy.
The nomenclature might be confusing to the uninitiated (suffice to say, a “sports” watch has very little to do with actual sport), but there is little mystery over why these designs have remained popular. They are masterpieces of proportion, with a sleek profile that hugs the wrist and an attention to detail that means it’s easy to dress them up or down.
Here, we take a close look at the Vacheron Constantin Overseas – the successor to the 222 – and explore how it incorporates the maison’s historic Maltese cross logo, building a sophisticated design language for both case and bracelet around that one shape. The cross was chosen as the brand’s logo in 1880 with one eye on its mechanical applications: cross-shaped wheels are used in a few places within watch movements. More than a century later, it was used on the launch of the Overseas, and the result is one of the most charismatic watches of its type.
To watch the rest of our About Time video series, go to our YouTube channel – and don’t miss the time we went behind the scenes at the Vacheron Constantin manufacture with the help of heritage director Mr Christian Selmoni.