24 Hours Later: Vacheron Constantin Goes for Versatility with the New Overseas Chronograph “Panda”
Vacheron Constantin is rewriting the dress codes with its new stainless steel, elegant sporty-chic Overseas.
Who doesn’t love a panda? When this style of chronograph dial first appeared in the 1960s, the legibility of the contrasting black sub-dials and its distinctive, bold look was the main attraction. Over the years, the sport chic aesthetic kept enthusiasts interested.
Vacheron Constantin has further piqued our passion with the new Overseas Chronograph “Panda.” The brand has used its impressive artisanal acumen to elevate every detail on this stainless steel watch. And they’ve packed it with their in-house Calibre 5200, a self-winding column-wheel chronograph movement featuring a 22K gold oscillating weight adorned with a compass rose.
Maybe it’s the white-tie appearance of this timepiece tricking our collective brain, but dare we suggest that this Overseas Chronograph “Panda” is a sports watch that transcends all social codes? That it’s a dress watch and a sports watch?
Let’s make like a podcast and investigate.
Dress to Kill
Vacheron Constantin launched its first Overseas Chronograph in 1999. Geared towards travel and escapism, the Overseas told the story of an elegant world traveler – a spirit who was at home in the boardroom and the beach. It was a versatile chronograph but still miles away from the watches associated with auto racing
In 2004, and 2016, the manufacture revisited the look of the Overseas Chronograph, further refining its sporty-chic aesthetic. At the same time, the world kept changing. Dress codes changed, and dressing up became more of an extension of one’s personality. Of course, these changes did not result in a flat-out rejection of formal attire, but rather wearers of fine watches began choosing pieces they felt a connection to for important moments.
With its stylized six-sided bezel, the Overseas Chronograph already has a distinctive look. Now Vacheron has made it even more unmistakable by adding more elegance to its character with a panda dial.
“For the manufacture, Overseas Chronographs have always marked a desire for controlled yet subtly disruptive breakthroughs,” VC’s Style & Heritage Director Christian Selmoni said in a press release. “These versatile timepieces combine the spirit of Haute Horlogerie characterizing Vacheron. A desire to explore other watchmaking territories and to experiment with new creative fields.”
According to Selmoni, the 42.5mm Overseas Chronograph “Panda” is a fluid extension of this philosophy. This version features many little disruptions, including a silver-toned, sunburst satin-finished dial, snailed black counters, black velvet-finished flange, 18K white gold hour-markers, and hours, minutes, seconds, and counters hands, highlighted with Super-LumiNova.
In addition to the two-tone dial’s distinctive look, this watch’s personality can also be expressed via its three interchangeable bracelets and straps (calfskin, steel with half-Maltese cross-links, and black rubber). When one is jet-setting or code-switching between work and off-duty activities, it’s nice to change up your look in a few seconds without any need for tools.
All of this attention to detail deserves a calibre that’s just as refined. So, at the heart of the Overseas Chronograph “Panda” beats an in-house self-winding Calibre 5200 with a 22K gold oscillating weight adorned with a wind rose, a symbol of travel and exploration, visible through a sapphire caseback. The movement also has a twin barrel fitted with a column wheel complete with Vacheron’s signature Maltese cross-shaped screw, which controls the start-stop-reset chronograph function.
Finally, this ultra-precise mechanism employs a vertical clutch to prevent any possible jerking of the hands when starting the chronograph, a detail that is technically and emotionally satisfying (for all of you ASMR fans).
With its dual sporty yet posh spirit, Vacheron believes the new Overseas Chronograph “Panda” is also a continuation of the 222, which was re-released in 2022 to much fanfare. But its hybrid nature is also a nod to the future, its modularity reflecting both the changing requirements of its customers and signaling the legitimacy of sporty elegance in the rarified world of Haute Horlogerie.
Appreciating the past and living in the moment is important, but the Overseas Chronograph “Panda” delivers extra joy because of its cute face that looks to the future!
(Photography by Liam O'Donnell)