In a world where “luxury” means pretty much anything a Kickstarter campaign says it means, it is hard to keep a finger on the nebulous concept of those inessential, yet very desirable, things that—if we’re very lucky—we can buy to add color to our drab lives. What creates luxury is innovation, ingenuity, excellence, and, above all, knowledge. It cannot be cooked up in a lab nor imagined in a marketing meeting. Because luxury is, in the end, what we, as customers, believe it is. An expensive watch is the prime example of beauty (and value) being in the eye of the beholder. Some of us would sell a car to buy a watch.
For much of Vacheron Constantin’s long 265-year story (it’s the oldest brand in continuous production in the world), like many brands in the loftier end of the business, VC made expensive, beautiful, gentlemen’s watches from precious metals, often with mind-bendingly delicate engraving and minutely detailed cloisonné enamel, but technically groundbreaking, too. It’s arguably the old school notion of luxury, though it’s hardly what you’d want from your daily beater.
But in 1977 Vacheron Constantin’s big gamble to find an escape route from the quartz crisis was the 222, a watch that could be both luxurious and sporty, something that felt modern and everyday without ignoring what was, by then, then 222 years of history. It was, if anything, an answer to Patek Philippe’s Nautilus (’76) and Audemars Piguet’s Royal Oak (‘72) both of them designed by watch guru Gerald Genta. The design of the 222 paved the way for the launch of the Overseas in 1996, and Vacheron has built on that modern family ever since. The steel version at $19,000 (and change) is not what you’d call entry level. But then, Vacheron Constantin has never been entry level.
Last week a breathtaking new version of the Overseas, in 18K rose gold and with a lacquered blue dial, emerged in the classic automatic three-hand date model. It’s beefy at 41mm yet slim on the wrist at just 11mm thick. At $46,200, it is certainly not a look for the light of pocket, but with a full gold bracelet that’s a lot of gold at least. You also get two more straps as standard, in blue alligator and blue rubber, all of which can be swapped out via a quick-release mechanism in seconds. Bingo!
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Source : Esquire