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Vacheron Constantin - One Year, One Watch

Vacheron Constantin One Year, One Watch

2006 : Overseas Dual Time*


To get away from it all, 846 million tourists could hop on a plane – not least the massive Airbus A380, which had at last received its FAA and EASA certifications for the USA and Europe respectively. Sitting comfortably, businessmen and women could stay in touch with their office, by means of the now hyper-vintage Palm Treo 680 – the first Palm to have no aerial – that had just arrived on the market. International travel was booming and there were new destinations for tourists to visit. The largest hotel in the world, with over 6,000 rooms, was inaugurated in the mountain resort of Pahang, Malaysia.

Art and sports lovers had many opportunities to travel: to Italy for the Olympics, Amsterdam for the 400th anniversary of Rembrandt’s birth, Germany for the Soccer World Cup. It was in Berlin that a very short distance left its mark on the history of sport: the distance between Zinedine Zidane’s head and Marco Materazzi’s nose during the World Cup Final. Italy won and France wept, but ended up singing “Zidane hit him, Zidane head-butted him”, lyrics composed by La Plage that become that summer’s hit. The song was soon to be found on iTunes, which had just notched up its billionth track upload. Berlin, Turin, Amsterdam. The wealthy drove like the wind at the wheel of the superb Audi R8, the first supercar from the Ingolstadt-based carmaker, unveiled at the Paris Motor Show.


One Year, One Watch

Overseas Dual Time © Vacheron Constantin


So the 2006 watch had to be a traveller, capable of winning over an Airbus pilot, and able to help those journeying afar: the aptly-named Vacheron Constantin Overseas Dual Time.

Why Vacheron Constantin?

The Geneva-based brand came into being in 1755. To date, it’s the oldest brand never to have ceased trading; the firm’s client list includes Napoleon Bonaparte and the Wright Brothers. The Manufacture holds a large number of patents, too – as well as the record for the most complicated watch ever made, Reference 57260. Although Vacheron Constantin is especially renowned for its classic watches, its assets also include a watch that’s prized by collectors, and a forerunner of the Overseas: the magnificent Reference 222. The watch was unveiled in 1977 to celebrate the brand’s 222nd anniversary. Designed by Jorg Hysek, it was a sporty steel or bimetal watch, fitted with an integrated bracelet, rather like the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak and the Patek Philippe Nautilus. The 222 was to be followed by the 333, then the Overseas in 1996. In 1999, a chronograph was added to the Overseas range. In 2004, the first revised version of the piece was brought out, featuring a toothed bezel and integrated bracelet, neither of which detracted from its core identity. In 2006, ten years after its arrival, Vacheron Constantin equipped the Overseas with one of my favourite complications: dual time.

One Year, One Watch

Overseas Dual Time © Vacheron Constantin

The Vacheron Constantin overseas dual time:
“movin’ doin’ it, you know! Get up, get on up!”

Discerning readers will have recognised the lyrics of a song that makes you want to move: ‘Sex Machine’ by James Brown, who passed away on Christmas Day, 2006. The Vacheron Constantin Overseas Dual Time has exactly the same effect: it’s a watch that makes you want to move. While keeping the same design as the classic Overseas, with a 42mm case, it also features a second time zone, power reserve, and date hand. It’s water-resistant to 100 metres, and the second time zone can be set independently by means of a crown located at 2 o’clock. And to round off this perfect travel kit, the Overseas Dual Time also sports a day / night indicator. In 2006, it was available in two steel versions (black or white dial), as well as in a rose gold limited edition.

The Take from The Devil’s Advocate

Travel definitely broadens the mind. It also tends to make you live longer, much to the annoyance of our watchmaking Satan! The Vacheron Constantin Dual Time has much to offer; perhaps the main criticism is that it actually offers too much. Its power reserve occupies a disproportionate amount of real estate. Ideally, the second time zone, date hand and power reserve should be the same size.

And indeed, all these details were corrected in the 2018 version. Of course, there’s also my usual criticism of the legendary but utterly pointless addition of the word “Automatic”. Apart from that, it’s one of the nicest travel watches of the decade for those who want to ‘go Overseas’.

*On the occasion of GMT Magazine and WorldTempus' 20th anniversary, we have embarked on the ambitious project of summarising the last 20 years in watchmaking in The Millennium Watch Book, a big, beautifully laid out coffee table book. This article is an extract. The Millennium Watch Book is available on www.the-watch-book.com, in French and English.

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An exploration of the history of Vacheron Constantin is a voyage of discovery, revealing the excellence of age-old watchmaking. Each timepiece is the result of the creative inspiration of the watchmaker or craftsman, dedicating their knowhow to the birth of outstanding watches. The Manufacture also works within a social and environmental code of ethics, and has had Responsible Jewellery Council certification since 2012.

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