Sport tourbillon

A Tourbillon in Steel? It’s a Baller Move for Vacheron Constantin and We Dig it


January 14, 2019 Watches By
This week, the Palexpo facility in Geneva, Switzerland, will become the center of the watch world for the Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie, or SIHH, a luxury watch show rivaled only by BaselWorld in relevance and prestige. We’ve got a team on the ground, there to bring you the most exciting releases. Follow our coverage here, and also be sure to check out Instagram. We’ll be posting to our feed throughout the week.
Key Specs
Price: $103,000
Availability: TDB
Movement: 2160
Winding: Automatic
Case Diameter: 42.5mm
Case Thickness: 10.39mm
Water Resistance: 50 meters
Unique Features: Tourbillon

Upshot: As we’ve noted before, the Overseas is Vacheron’s casual sports watch line. It was originally launched as the ref. 222 back in 1976, and was updated in 2016 with a world timer, an ultra-thin, a perpetual calendar, and a chronograph. Though the line’s been expanded to include gold options, its heart remains that of a steel sports watch with a funky case design and six-sided bezel. To that unbeatable formula, Vacheron’s added…wait for it…a tourbillon!

Who It’s For: Tourbillons and their rotating cages, it should be noted, were initially made to counter the effects of gravity on a pocketwatch as it sat in its wearer’s pocket. On a wristwatch, its effects are negligible. On the other hand, the escapement is probably the most mesmerizing piece of watch machinery ever made. To put one inside a steel sports watch is both bizarre and awesome — the kind of thing that would make a Red Bar vet freak out. Given its price, it’s also worth noting that the Overseas Tourbillon is made for someone who can drop “new house” money on a wristwatch.

First Take: Generally, a tourbillon demands a flashy package: a gold case, skeletonized dial, loads of other complications, and the like. This watch is incredibly understated in stainless steel, with a dial that looks a lot like the Overseas Self-Winding — handsome, simple, and mostly empty. Except for that freakin’ tourbillon spinning away at six o’clock. Oh, and thanks to Vacheron’s interchangeable strap system, you can wear a tourbillon on rubber.

Insight: Call the combination of understated steel sports watch and tourbillon bizarre — but maybe it’s brilliant. What better way to isolate timekeeping’s flashiest complication than to surround it with simple, clean trappings? There’s surely a high-end collector out there who’s been waiting for Vacheron to understate its tourbillon, and for them, this is the watch of a lifetime.

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