Collector Notes – The Vacheron Constantin Overseas, a Retrospective (Live Pics + Pricing)

The Vacheron Constantin Overseas has always been one of our favorite watches at Shreve, Crump & Low.  The Overseas collection falls into that majestic category of stainless steel integrated bracelet, luxury sports watch, and is often compared to the likes of the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak, and Patek Philippe Nautilus.  The 1st iteration of the Overseas was released in 1996, 20 years after the Patek Nautilus in 1976, and 24 years after the AP Royal Oak released in 1972 – the originator of the stainless steel luxury sports watch.  However, in this post we will cover the difference between the 2016 ref. 5400V (the third revision of the Overseas) with it’s predecessor ref. 47040.

CASE 

ref. 47040 (left) vs. ref.5400V (right)

The overseas collection offers many variations of watch including the time-only above, but also a chronograph, perpetual calendar, dual time, and now a world time (all refs offered in various dial colors and metal combinations) For the simplification of comparisons sake we are looking at the time-only versions with the white dials.

When it comes to the aesthetics of the piece, the new ref. 5400V looks more Vacheron-esque, it has a refined and elegant sensibility, while the ref. 47040 in contrast looks rugged and actually more sporty.  It is very important to note the case diameter on the new 5400V has shrunk from 42.5mm to 41mm, yet the 47040 is actually slimmer by 1.3mm.  The bezel to case proportion appears more balanced on the 47040 Overseas than the design of the 5400V.  The VC Maltese cross component on the bezel is more smoothly merged into the design of the 5400V, but the similar bezel on the 47040 while more boldly integrated feels more at home on the watch.

The screw-down crown on 47040 appears more securely fashioned to the case compared to the 5400V, which is more exposed on the latter, but still screw-down.

DIAL – IMPROVEMENT ✓

The dial design of the 5400V is certainly an improvement over the dial of the 47040.  Vacheron is heralded in-particular for their use of traditional hand-turned, rose engine lathing machines to decorate the guilloché dials of their more elegant dress watches, the 47040 has a stamped dial, which for some purists was a disconcerting feature.  The silver-toned sunburst, satin dial of the 5400V is a welcomed nuisance.  In general the dial 5400V is more visually refined.  In additional to slimmer hour indices and hour, minute second hands, Vacheron has also removed the rather uncouth arabic/baton hybrid markers at the 3/6/9/12, as well as the “AUTOMATIC” designator above the 6 0’clock, which ultimately lends to this cleaner look.  Some may accuse the outer second track on the 5400V of being too busy, we believe it frames out this new dial quite elegantly.

Of course one of the biggest change-up to the dial of 5400V is the repositioning of the date window to the 3 o’clock.  While almost all purist bemoan a date window as the bane of a perfect dial, the repositioned date at the 3 o’clock makes sense on a sport watch.  It also stands out better than the date window on the 47040, which gets lost like all date windows between the 4 and 5 o’clock…definitely an IMPROVEMENT ✓

BRACELET

ref. 47040 (left) vs ref. 5400V (right)

The Overseas’ bracelet is one of the most intricate and thoughtful in the realm of luxury sport watches.  Like the Overseas’ bezel Vacheron again looks to integrate the Maltese cross feature into the highly tooled design of the link bracelet, which once sized to the wrist makes for a sharp, but comfortable fit.  I personally appreciate the pronounced taper of the bracelet on the 47040 from the case to the clasp, though the thickness on 47040 bracelet is not tapered and can wear slightly bulkier than the the 47040.  This is the opposite on 5400V, the width taper is not as pronounced, but the links are nicely tapered in from thick at the case to thinner at the clasp.

showing all three strap options

There is also the newest feature of the 5400V Overseas bracelet, which is the quick-change feature giving the wearer the ease to swap out the bracelet to either a black alligator strap or textured black rubber strap with the flick of quick release trigger (both of which come with the watch).

MOVEMENT

The solid case back of the 47040 conceals an anti-magnetic cage that helps protect the caliber 1126 within.  While the exhibition caseback of the 5400V showcases the new 5100 caliberone of the biggest new features of Overseas collection, complete with a solid 22k gold automatic winding system.  This new movement is Vacheron’s in-house 5100 automatic caliber, which is a milestone to be noted, and closely examined over the next few years.  This new caliber is both smaller in diameter by 2.2mm and thinner by 1.5mm than the 1126, while also managing to gain an impressive 20 hours of extra power reserve via two main-spring barrels.  That is not to say the caliber 1126 needed replacing, the Caliber 1126 is a movement built off the legendary Jaeger Le Coultre caliber 889 which was co-developed by JLC, Audemars Piguet, and Patek Philippe.  A variation of each has been used in the AP Royal Oak, Patek Nautilus and JLC Master Control.

caliber 1126 (left) vs. caliber 5100 (right)

It is rare and brief period of time, generally ranging from 6-24 months of time when a watch brand releases a new model that overlaps with the availability of a previous model.  At Shreve, Crump & Low we are currently offering both the 47040 and new 5400V you can further browse our selection here

Introducing: Panerai PAM 692 Luminor Submersible 1950 BMG-TECH™ (Live Pics + Pricing)

Let’s talk about Bulk Metallic Glass, or BMG rather.  What the hell is bulk metallic glass? And why on Earth does it have any practical application to fine timepieces?

PAM00692

Innovative and unique case materials have never been more prevalent a trend in the watch industry than they are today.  While your ceramic and PVD cases of yesteryear are today finding stiff competition from brands like Richard Mille leading the charge in wildly high-tech case materials. Brands like Panerai, Hublot, AP,Roger Dubius and others are all following suit.  Collectors and enthusiasts have flocked to some of these unique pieces, take either one of the Panerai Bronzo(s) the PAM 382 or the PAM 507 (pictured below).  Both originally retailing for over/under $10,000 USD, limited to 1000 pieces each.  They are presently trading in the secondary market for anywhere from $25,000 to $40,000 if you can get your hands on either one.

PAM00382 (2011 release)
PAM00507 (2013 release)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On the subject of the Bronzo, 2017 marked the addition of a third Panerai Bronzo (PAM00671) with a blue dial. The PAM 671 will again be a limited edition of 1,000 pieces, and it will be priced at $14,400 USD.  The new blue dial Bronzo was just one of the new 2017 SIHH Panerai novelties that overshadowed the Panerai BMG-TECH™.  There was also the release of the highly innovative LAB-ID™ Carbotech™ (PAM00700), which is a fascinating timepiece and seemed to be Panerai’s showstopper this year.

PAM00700 (2017 release)
PAM000671 (2017 release)

 

 

 

 

 

These other exciting pieces should not for a moment take away from how cool the BMG TECH™ is, and perhaps the best grade of non-precious metal watch on the market today.  If you are as serious a watch enthusiast as we proudly exalt ourselves to be at Shreve, Crump & Low than you will find the following very interesting…

Live SIHH 2017 shot

Conventionally, a stainless steel watch case is shaped from a chuck of finished solid stainless steel metal alloy stamped via a series of industrial hydraulic presses.  Breitling and Rolex being two prime examples of this process.  However, the case on the Panerai BMG-TECH™ is die-cast, meaning a molten hot liquid mix of zirconium, copper, aluminium, titanium and nickel (Bulk Metals) is poured into a mold of the Luminor Submersible 1950 watch case producing your BMG case.

The liquid metal is immediately cooled within seconds after casting, allowing the metal to take on an atomic make-up similar to that of glass, which is very hard and very resistant to scratches. While glass is brittle, metal is not.  Hence the moniker Metallic Glass, one of the strongest materials on the market today.

Let me better illustrate the structure of BMG on an atomic level.  The atomic make-up of conventional stainless steel packs and arranges atoms into the group structures observed in exhibit A, whereas the BMG has an amorphous more encompassing atomic make-up observed in exhibit B.

exhibit A) source Materion™ Bulk Metallic Glass Data Sheet
exhibit B) source Materion™ Bulk Metallic Glass Data Sheet

 

 

 

 

 

 

The effect this has on the quality of the metal produces a profoundly more durable product than high grade 316L “surgical grade” stainless steel that Breitling and other brands use, and even a higher quality grade metal than the 904L stainless steel which Rolex uses.

BMG has a hardness twice that of most stainless steels and titanium, and at least four times the hardness of aluminum and magnesium.  It also has far fewer surface imperfections than stainless steel.   In general, the resistance to corrosive environments in BMG is outstanding and also superior to stainless steel.

Live SIHH 2017 wrist-shot

The piece didn’t feel much heavier on the wrist than it’s stainless steel counterpart.  It did give off a smooth dark gray metallic sheen, similar to a titanium coloring.  The “BMG-TECH™” logo is set off in a sharp blue, and really does pop against a royal blue dial, which like most blue dials varies significantly in hue with lighting.

dial close-up

The PAM 692 houses an automatic P.9010 calibre (in-house Panerai movement). The case is a 47mm Luminor Submersible 1950, and it is water-resistant to 300 meters.  The piece will have a set retail price of $10,200 USD.  Shreve, Crump & Low Boston has been allocated very few of these pieces for 2017, for purchase inquiry please call the Boston store 617-267-9100 or email [email protected]

Check out Panerai’s promotion video for the BMG-TECH™ below:

 

Jewelry, Time and Art Collide – Introducing the Audemars Piguet Diamond Outrage

As one of the country’s most revered purveyors of luxury gifts, Shreve, Crump & Low has always offered the finest quality diamonds and precious gemstones available to the market, as well as the finest in handcrafted jewelry – new and estate.  That is why we were once again blown away by the amazingly creative work of art Audemars Piguet [AP] released at this year’s SIHH in Geneva, Switzerland.  The Diamond Outrage is the third and final piece (and our favorite) to be released in AP’s trilogy of one-of-a-kind haute joallerie timepieces following the Diamond Fury release in 2016, and the Diamond Punk release in 2015.

While no collector will deny AP’s dedication and heritage to precision timekeeping, it is now undeniable they hold the title of Master Jewelers of the modern watch world.  I am not just talking about the casual, yet impressive gem-set diamond bezel, diamond dial, diamond bracelet wristwatch, I am referring to the absolutely dream-like splendor of Diamond Outrage.   Other fine Swiss brands such as Vacheron Constantin, and Piaget have historically offered high diamond jewelry timepieces, but AP has taken the expertise in this field to an entirely new level, while maintaining true to the inspiration of the rugged forest landscape of Le Brassus’ mountainous Swiss town nestled in the Vallée de Joux.

More high diamond jewelry than watch, this Kafka-esque diamond bracelet consists of nearly 66 total diamond carats with an insane 10,277 individual diamonds all painstakingly gem-set in a solid 18 karat white gold intricate “cone” link setting.  AP throws caution to the wind in their design aesthetic, and aim to impress not just the masses, but please the savviest of collectors and connoisseurs alike with the uniquely untraditional and innovative BOLD style of the Diamond Outrage.  The mesmerizing kaleidoscope of gem-white diamonds conceal the quartz timekeeping mechanism (calibre 2701) via an invisibly set compartment hidden at the bottom of the bracelet.  The Diamond Outrage represents an audaciously triumphant feat of excellence in jewelry manufactory from none other than a fine watchmaker.  We at SC&L recognize master jewelry craftsmanship in many forms other than the traditional sense, but the entire haute joallerie collection is a landmark collection in the canon of Swiss watchmaking.  We are proud to see AP continuing to pursue and push the limits of what it means to create high-diamond timepieces.

*Having seen this piece revealed in-person at AP’s SIHH showroom I can attest to the lustful temptation of the Diamond Outrage [see brief clip below:]

Audemars Piguet – Diamond Outrage from Shreve, Crump & Low on Vimeo.

Diamond Outrage REF. #67700BC.ZZ.9190BC.01

The Diamond Outrage certainly lives up to it’s namesake, and would make the perfect addition to the collection of any modern woman with discerning taste for the BEST.  While AP has not officially published pricing on this one-of-a-kind piece of modern jewelry artwork, expect the value to be upwards of the 1 million dollar mark…  As an authorized dealer for Audemars Piguet ,the Diamond Outrage as well as Diamond Fury and Diamond Punk are available per request via our Boston Flagship storefront (617-267-9100) or email: [email protected]  

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