In the world of watchmaking, there are a handful of brands that stand out above all others. Vacheron Constantin is one of those brands. First founded in 1755, their timepieces have been worn by kings, emperors, and some of the most significant figures in history. If you’re looking for a worthy collector’s item, just about any Vacheron watch is a wise choice.
That said, there are some timepieces that could be particularly attractive to collectors. Whether because they’re throwbacks to an earlier design or because they’re unique in and of themselves, these watches are a great choice for expanding your collection. Let’s take a closer look at five of Vacheron Constantin’s best offerings!
Overseas Self-Winding Silver Dial Ref. 4500v
The Overseas Self-Winding Silver Dial Ref. 4500v is designed as a no-nonsense watch for people with active lifestyles. The stainless steel case has a 41mm diameter, and it has a relatively smooth finish. The exception is the bezel, which is cut to create the rough profiles of a Maltese cross.
The watch comes with a tri-link bracelet attached, but the package also includes leather and rubber options. It might seem strange to wear a Vacheron watch with a rubber strap, but this is much more than a collector’s item. It’s clear from the design and packaging that the Overseas self-winder is meant to be worn.
The dial has an understated design, with a metallic silver background and slender black hands. The hour and minute hands are slightly arched on the top, and feature lume stripes down the centers for better visibility. The only text on the dial is the words “Vacheron Constantin Geneve,” printed in small black letters.
The outer index has tiny black hashes at the minute marks, with longer hashes at the five-minute marks, along with small Arabic numerals. Inside of this, there are larger hashes at the minute marks, with applied silver markers at the five-minute marks. At the three-minute position, you’ll see a small date window.
Overseas Chronograph Blue Dial
The Overseas Chronograph Blue Dial is part of the same series as the Overseas Self-Winding, and the case has a similar profile, with a bezel that’s reminiscent of Vacheron’s trademark Maltese cross. Like the self-winding version, you also get a full set of steel, leather, and rubber watch bands.
That said, there are significant differences in the case design. At 42.5mm, the Chronograph version is ever so slightly larger, and it’s noticeably more complicated. In addition to the 3 o’clock crown, there are also pushers at 2 and 4 o’clock.
The display back reveals a 22K gold oscillating weight, with a compass rose stamped into the surface. Off to the side, you’ll also see a Maltese cross worked into the design of the movement.
The dial is a stunning blue color, with three chronograph subdials at 3, 6, and 9 o’clock. These are also blue, with tiny silver hands that are surprisingly easy to read. The main hands are also silver, although they’re broad and sword-shaped, with lume stripes down the centers.
This watch has an outer index, with tiny hashes that are more for decoration than for actual timekeeping, and similarly-tiny Arabic numerals at the five-minute positions. The main index is inside of this, and consists of a ladder index with the minute markings, and applied silver hashes at the five-minute positions. Of particular note is the tiny date window, which sits at an odd angle between the 3 and 4 o’clock hashes.
Historiques American 1921 Pink Gold
The Historiques American 1921 Pink Gold is the recreation of a 1921 model that Vacheron Constantin designed specifically for the American Market. This is the most unique of the five watches I looked at, and it’s easy to see why; it’s a driving watch, with the dial angled to the right by one-eighth turn, you can read it easily without taking your hand off the steering wheel – at least if you’re right handed.
The rose gold case has a squarish design, with bowed sides that keep it from having too much of an angular appearance. The crown even has a quirky position. It’s located at the top right corner of the case, which corresponds to the 12 o’clock position on the dial. However, this is a useful location, because the crown is easier to turn. That’s important, because the Historiques American 1921 is a manual-winding watch.
The dial itself has an attractive, retro vibe. The background is off white, with minimal writing and branding. Around the outside, there’s a black ladder index, with hashes at each minute mark. Inside of this are large Arabic numerals, stamped in a vintage 1920s font. A 60-minute chronometer subdial at the bottom right takes the place of a 3-o’clock numeral. The hands themselves are slender and black, with decorative circular cutouts near the tips.
Historiques Cornes de Vache 1955 Platinum
The Historiques Cornes de Vache 1955 Platinum is an homage to Vacheron Constantin’s 1955 Cornes De Vache (“cow horns”). The horn-shaped lugs certainly leave an impression, as do the tall 2- and 4-o’clock pushers. A display case allows you to view the movement, which needs to be manually wound.
Meanwhile, the smooth, curved bezel attracts no attention, the better to show off the lugs and dial. At 38.5mm in diameter, the case has a medium-small presence, although it looks bigger than it is. The blue leather strap is attractive, as well as providing a soft, supple fit.
This is a tachymeter watch, which is designed to find average speeds. Around the outside of the white dial, there’s a blue tachymeter scale, with numerals as well as hashes. The second hand, which doubles as a tachymeter hand, is a matching metallic blue, which makes it stand out more against the background.
The main dial has a black outer index, with hashes at the single-minute positions and black Arabic numerals at the five-minute positions. Inside of this, there are large silver Roman numerals marking out the hours. Some of these are partially obscured by the 30- and 60-minute subdials, which sit to the right and left respectively.
The Fifty-Six Self-Winding is yet another throwback, this time designed to replicate the 1956 Reference 6073. The stainless steel case is round in shape, with a diameter of 40mm, and a flared crown at 3 o’clock, which has an embossed Maltese cross on the end.
The case sports a display back, which reveals the automatic movement and an oscillating 22K gold weight. Here, too, you’ll find several Maltese crosses worked into the design. The bezel is wide and flat, and doesn’t have any texture or markings on it. It’s bare stainless steel, which is in keeping with the elegant dial design.
The dial has a shimmery silver finish, with a black ladder index worked into the outermost edge of the dial. Inside of that, there are large, applied, metal Arabic numerals at the even-numbered hours. At the odd-numbered hours, there are long hashes, with lume stripes that create a unique pattern in the dark.
Inside of the main index, there’s another black ladder index, which gives the dial a segmented appearance. The hands are also silver, with a needle-shaped second hand and broadsword-shaped hour and minute hands. The hour and minute hands have lume stripes, for plenty of readability in any lighting.
To view all of Vacheron Constantin’s offerings visit their official website here.
Graeme Woodhouse says
Was looking for several years at the watch market. Eventually purchased an Omega 300 dive watch then the amazing Grand Seiko Silver Birch, the amazing craftsmanship did it for me.. Looked at Rolex but i find the supply, irritating and annoying, and to be honest they are for many people a show of item of jewellery. The Vacheron Constantin watches have been drawing me in for a while. A recent chat with a elderly gentleman regarding his historic Vacheron confirming my feelings for these seriously attractive and deeply tastefully watches. A Vacheron Constantin will most certainly be my next purchase…..
With the exception of the plat CDV, this article is pretty far off the mark.
Especially glaring is the base fiftysix, which no serious collector would entertain – being the one model the brand makes without a Geneva Hallmark.
Overseas blue dial, rose overseas perpetual, 1921 white gold… these are the ones to get