The Ultra-Thin Vacheron Constantin Overseas replica is indeed a very flat watch, with a case thickness of 7.5 mm (and a diameter of 40 mm). The movement is the Vacheron caliber 1120, which, as we mentioned in our earlier introductory coverage of this watch at the SIHH, started life in 1967 as the result of a collaborative movement development program which involved Jaeger-LeCoultre, Audemars Piguet, Vacheron Constantin, and Patek Philippe; AP, VC, and Patek all used the movement under different caliber designations, with Jaeger-LeCoultre producing it as the JLC caliber 920, although JLC has never actually used the movement in their own watches.
We first saw the Vacheron Constantin Overseas Ultra-Thin at the SIHH last January, and at the time, our impressions based on the brief exposure afforded by a meeting in the middle of a busy trade show were limited to “seems nice, pretty expensive, too bad it’s not in steel.” To a certain extent those are still the impressions I have of the watch, but after a week of wearing it, they’ve become (I hope) more nuanced. Let’s look at what it’s like to live with one of the most austere (and pricey) time-only watches in the world.
Unlike many ultra-thin watches, which more often than not come on straps and are extremely light in the hand, as well as virtually unnoticeable on the wrist, the Overseas Ultra-Thin has a palpable heft to it. Given the slender profile, it’s not an unpleasant sensation at all; there is just enough weight to the watch, on its bracelet, that you’re aware of its presence, and when you combine that with the suppleness and beauty of execution of the bracelet, putting the Overseas Ultra-Thin on for the first time is very much a “wow” experience. Right from the outset, the Overseas Ultra-Thin is an extremely seductive Vacheron Constantin replica watch.
The movement was at the time of its launch in 1967 the thinnest full rotor self-winding movement in the world, and rather amazingly, it remains the holder of that record today, 49 years later. Naturally, it’s mostly been used in watches notable for their slim profiles. The thinnest watch from Vacheron using this movement isn’t the Overseas Ultra-Thin, but rather, the Historiques Ultra-Thin 1968, a square-cased wristwatch with a case thickness of 5.4 mm, water resistant to 3 bar/30 meters. Audemars Piguet’s Jules Audemars Extra Thin, which uses the same movement, is 6.7 mm x 41 mm; the Royal Oak Extra Thin, which uses the caliber 2121 – the same movement as the VC1120/AP2120, but with the addition of the date – is 8.1 mm thick, at 39 mm in diameter, with a water resistance of 50 m
It’s fine enough to be suitable for pretty much any occasion I can imagine short of by-the-book white tie (and you might be able to get away with it even then). It’s also, interestingly enough, quite robust for an ultra-thin watch, as befits its membership in the Overseas family. It’s antimagnetic, to a degree – there’s no full soft-iron enclosure but there is a soft iron casing ring, which provides, if not a similar degree of protection as a full inner case and dial, at least some degree of protection (in the same way a full enclosure would: by providing a preferred pathway for magnetic field lines). It’s even rated to 5 bar/50 meters water resistance.
The mens fake Vacheron Constantin Overseas Ultra-Thin, on the other hand, comes very, very close to being an unequivocal yes in terms of not only being a watch you could wear every day, but also a watch you would want to wear every day.