Remember that ad from the 1980s that went, ‘Since 1735, there has never been a quartz Blancpain watch. And there never will be.’ I feel like Vacheron Constantin could credibly run an ad campaign likewise stating, ‘Since 1755, there has never been a bad Vacheron Constantin. And there never will be.’ Now at this point, I’m sure everyone is about to weigh in with their least-loved VC reference of all time. By all means, let’s sort this out. But that ad campaign I’m dreaming of is particularly true of their integrated sports offerings, where I’m not sure a credible case could be made against a single entrant. Definitely not this one.
I’ve made my voice sore here from so frequently singing the praises of the 222 that I’m giving it a rest. But early Overseas? They’re not yet crazy money. For all their storied lineage, early Overseas are still not seeing the same interest, on a market value basis, as their peers from PP or AP. Perhaps that’s because production was not continuous, VC waited almost twenty years after the 222 folded to resume a steel sports offering. But that disparity is particularly egregious and evident when you see examples like this: a first generation Jumbo in steel with salmon sunray-finish dial. Best spec? I’d say so. The salmon dial typifies neo-vintage style in a way that few details can.
Of all 90s holy trinity cases, the Overseas probably has the most aggressive character. The case has broad shoulders. Its bezel is harsh and serrated. The bracelet taper is minimal. There’s polished and brushed contrast in every detail. The crown guards are at least twice as long as they need be. Why? It looks stout. Under that steel beats a Girard Perregaux 3100 ébauche, but now COSC certified and just 3.4mm tall. This allows the jumbo to be 37mm and just 7mm slim. It’s industrial and brutalist, trading elegance to be a gothic monolith to neo-vintage design. That only serves to lend immense charm and is just fine by me. Perhaps its day in the sun is coming, but for now the early Overseas remains an exceptional value, surely a watch nerd’s darling.
This example comes out of Japan and, like most that hail from the land of the rising sun, it’s great. Light to moderate surface wear on the exterior, really only noticeable on the highly polished bezel sections. The dial is flawless with beautiful gold tritium. It comes with a full set from a well-regarded retailer.
Find this 42040 here from Wrist Icons for 27500 EUR.