As part of our ongoing watch pairs series, we thought we’d take a look at two watches that are once again polar opposites: one a dress watch and the other a sports watch. However, both complement each other well and share some similarities.
Breguet Classique 5157 & Vacheron Constantin Overseas Chronograph
These are two entirely different watches, yet both are from watch brands that are considered manufacturers of haute horlogerie. As Montblanc speaks of writing instruments rather than pens, these watches should really be addressed as timepieces.
The Breguet Classique 5157 is a classic thin timepiece that comes in 18-karat white gold and yellow gold. At only 38 mm in diameter and 5.4 mm thick, this is a piece for typical formal occasions, as are most Breguet watches. Of course, there are a few exceptions. The Classique 5157 is a time-only watch with two blued Breguet hands indicating hours and minutes. You really don’t need anything else during a formal event or a date at a classy restaurant.
Vacheron Constantin is also well known for their classic timepieces, but as an ‘opposite’ for this week’s watch pair, we picked their Overseas chronograph. To be honest, while the Overseas is a sports watch, it is not a rugged piece you’d want to take out hiking, mountain climbing, sailing, or to other extreme activities. There are certainly other watches out there that are more suitable. However, the Overseas may be considered a luxury sports watch: an elegant stainless steel watch with the appeal of a sports watch.
Breguet Classique 5157
The Breguet Classique 5157 would be correctly described as a timeless classic dress watch. The silvered gold dial, hand engraved by a single craftsman, is a piece of art in itself. The watch is powered by Breguet’s caliber 502.3, which consists of 140 parts. This self-winding movement has a 22-karat gold rotor, a power reserve of 45 hours, and a silicon balance spring. The movement is beautifully finished as you’d expect from a house like Breguet. Add to that a couple of blued Breguet hands and it is safe to say that it doesn’t get any more classic than this. The watch is finished with a brown alligator strap and gold buckle.
Its price tag aside, this piece is not for everyone, but it can be a great pairing with a sportier second watch. Make sure to try this extra-thin watch before you buy it, as it needs to suit you, but if it does, you’ll be sold right away.
Vacheron Constantin Overseas Chronograph
A common misunderstanding is that the Overseas, which was introduced as model ‘222’ in the 1970s, also came from Gérald Genta’s drawing table. This is not the case, however, it was actually designed by Hysek in 1977 as an answer to Genta’s IWC Ingenieur, the Patek Philippe Nautilus, and of course, the model that started it all, the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak. Later on, Vacheron Constantin called this specific model the Overseas.
Today, the Overseas comes in a couple of variations, including an extra-thin version with the original Caliber 1120 movement from the ‘222.’ The current Overseas chronograph (reference 5500V) is clearly a descendant of the ‘222.’ Vacheron redesigned the bracelet a couple of times in the last 39 years, but in essence, the design code has been respected at all times.
The chronograph version has a Caliber 5200 movement. This Overseas chronograph has a (modest) 42.5-mm diameter and is 13.7 mm thick. This is an in-house chronograph caliber; something that Audemars Piguet, for example, still lacks. The Overseas chronograph is available in stainless steel, gold or stailess steel and gold; the latter comes on a leather strap. This is a very versatile watch, so we had to find a purely classic timepiece like the Breguet Classique as an appropriate counterpart.
We are well aware of the fact that these two haute horlogerie timepieces are quite out of the ordinary, but if you are fortunate enough to be purchasing watches in this category, both of these pieces from Swatch Group’s Breguet and Richemont Group’s Vacheron Constantin are well worth investigating. You may very well end up finding a luxury sports watch in the Breguet collection and an ultra-thin dress watch from Vacheron Constantin. Both manufacturers are well known for their long history, collectors, and importance during auctions.