If luxurious stainless-steel sports activities watches are a sizzling commodity in the marketplace in the present day, Vacheron Constantin‘s Abroad Chronograph Panda has simply raised the bar from sizzling to hotter. Simply forward of Watches & Wonders 2023, Vacheron Constantin pulls a splendid white rabbit out of its prime hat with the discharge of the newest stainless-steel Abroad Chronograph with a panda dial. The model’s newest tackle its Abroad Chronograph ref. 5500V is the paragon of a sporty chronograph flaunting an attention grabbing and remarkably legible Sixties-style panda dial. Mixed with the distinctive case of the Abroad household, impeccable Geneva Seal mechanics and most versatility because of the three interchangeable strap and bracelet choices, Vacheron has produced a winner. It’s evident that VC has been listening to suggestions and has produced this much-anticipated reference that can have many collectors and fans going weak on the knees.
Finger on the heartbeat
What’s stunning a few watch model that has been producing watches since 1755 is its openness to modern traits. Because of Christian Selmoni’s very important position as custodian of the model’s heritage and magnificence, Vacheron Constantin has demonstrated a exceptional means to faucet into modern traits and interpret them with the attribute aptitude and excessive watchmaking spirit of the Maison. Sitting alongside heavyweight horological masterpieces emanating from the bespoke Les Cabinotiers workshop, Vacheron has, for instance, tapped into the pattern for skeletonised watches with spectacular openworked renditions of its Abroad Tourbillon and the gorgeous Abroad Perpetual Calendar Extremely-Skinny.
The non secular ancestor of the Abroad assortment is the 222, a luxurious sports activities watch launched by Vacheron Constantin in 1977 to coincide with its grand 222nd anniversary, a mannequin that shortly ascended to imagine a hallowed seat within the Holy Trinity of luxurious sports activities watches. The primary Abroad assortment noticed the sunshine in 1996 and, since then, has undergone two main overhauls in 2004 and 2016. For an in depth historical past of the evolution of this watch, don’t miss our two movies (overlaying the origin of the gathering and the present assortment) with Christian Selmoni.
Whereas respecting all of the attributes related to the posh sports activities watch style, the spectacular finishings, built-in in-house Geneva Seal motion and versatile interchangeable strap/bracelet located the Abroad Chronograph within the extra elevated realm of high-end luxurious sports activities watches, on par with fashions produced by Audemars Piguet and Patek Philippe. The Abroad Chronograph, reference 5500V, materialised with the third-generation makeover of the gathering in 2016 (there had been prior Abroad Chronographs with modified Frederic Piguet calibres).
Since 2016, the Abroad Chronograph has appeared in numerous case supplies and an assortment of dial colors, together with a 2018 reverse panda dial with a black background and white sub-dials. And whereas the newest Abroad Chronograph represents a mere change in dial color, the result’s dramatically totally different. It’s value clarifying that the discharge of this metal panda chronograph coincides with the discontinuation of the brown and silver dial fashions, whittling down the gathering to 3 stainless-steel references: blue dial in a pink gold case, reverse panda and this panda version.
Large pandas, these lovable furry bears from China with black and white markings, have lent their identify to the watch trade to explain chronograph dials with white or silver faces and black counters. There’s additionally a sub-species of the panda generally known as the reverse panda with black faces and white sub-dials. Naturally, there are panda dials with all types of contrasting colors, Zenith’s El Primero is a mannequin that involves thoughts, however the authentic mission of daring contrasting panda dials was to boost legibility.
Hovering in reputation in the course of the heyday of racing chronographs within the Sixties, classic panda chronographs are extremely sought-after by collectors in the present day. Since solely a handful of collectable manufacturers produced panda-style dials within the Sixties, the costs of classic panda chronographs at public sale have skyrocketed. To provide you a sign of the fever-pitch reputation of pandas, Paul Newman’s Rolex Daytona panda chronograph offered for over USD 17 million at public sale in 2017, adopted three years later by his reverse panda Rolex Daytona for a cool USD 5,475,000.
Given the recognition of panda dials, it’s odd that Vacheron’s first Abroad panda chronograph was a reverse panda with a black dial and white counters. Nonetheless very distinctive and crowd pleasing, the reverse panda Abroad was a welcome addition to the extra static and sedate tone-on-tone variations of the chronograph. Fortunately, it appears like Vacheron has been listening to collectors and, seven years after its debut, has produced a successful panda chronograph that can quickly be tougher to identify within the wild than an actual big panda.
What a distinction a face makes
It’s unbelievable the distinction a easy inversion of colors on a dial could make. Now that includes a silver-toned dial with black sub-dials, this Abroad Chronograph stands out a mile and exudes a a lot sportier, racing automobile vibe.
As you possibly can see in our images, the silvery central space of the dial has a sexy sunburst-brushed ornament that performs elegantly with the ambient mild. The delicate sheen produced by mild hitting the dial is actually not as ‘loud’ as a white dial, nevertheless it underscores the innate class and refinement of the Abroad assortment.
Like a panda’s black eyes and nostril, the contrasting black snailed sub-dials at 3, 6 and 9 o’clock come out towards the silver background and instantly draw the attention to their centres. The numerals contained in the 30-minute and 12-hour chronograph counters are intentionally giant and picked out in a silvery color to boost legibility. The chapter ring, with the utilized white gold faceted and utilized hour markers and minute monitor, is matte. Echoing the two-tone color scheme of the dial, the sloping flange with chronograph seconds is picked out in black with a velvety end and white markings. Prefer it or not, there’s a pretty discreet date window in a bevelled silver body at 4:30 with a white background and black numerals. Consistent with its sports activities watch persona, the hour and minute fingers, together with the indices, are handled with Tremendous-LumiNova.
Sharing an identical specs with earlier Abroad Chronographs, the stainless-steel case measures 42.5mm in diameter and has a peak of 13.7mm. The vertically brushed tonneau-shaped base and round plinth are surmounted by the mirror-polished six-sided bezel designed to seem like the truncated arms of the model’s Maltese Cross brand. The finishings prolong to the bracelet with its flat brushed surfaces and hand-polished bevels. To make sure the 150m water-resistance of the case, the crown is screwed-down, and the push-pieces are screw-locked. Finishing its defensive armour, a gentle iron casing ring protects the motion from magnetism.
Designed particularly for the third-generation Abroad assortment, calibre 5200 is a totally built-in chronograph motion operated with a column wheel (embellished with a Maltese cross) and a vertical clutch. This vertical coupling clutch prevents any jerking of the hand when the chronograph is activated. Beating at 28,8000vph, the dual barrels ship an influence reserve of 52 hours, and elements of the motion will be admired by the sapphire crystal caseback. You possibly can see the 22k gold rotor with its wind rose and a few of the finishings – Geneva stripes, polished bevelled angles, round graining – that embellish this Poinçon de Genève motion.
A number of Personalities
A powerful promoting level of the Abroad assortment is undoubtedly its transformation potential. As one of many first manufacturers to leap on the interchangeable strap/bracelet bandwagon with a foolproof, tool-free and exceptionally well-designed and patented DIY mechanism, Vacheron Constantin confirmed how the Abroad might be dressed up or down, adapting its character to a proper go well with or wetsuit in seconds. Though interchangeable straps at the moment are virtually the norm and one thing the market clamours for, I at all times affiliate Vacheron’s Abroad because the forerunner of this pattern in high-end watches.
The Abroad Chronograph is delivered with three strap choices: a sensible and sporty stainless-steel bracelet with half Maltese cross-shaped hyperlinks and a triple-folding clasp with push-pieces and comfort-adjustment system; a dressier black calfskin leather-based strap with gray stitching; and a sporty hi-tech black rubber strap.
AVAILABILITY & PRICE
The Vacheron Constantin Abroad Chronograph Panda Dial is launched as a part of the everlasting assortment and is now obtainable from boutiques and retailers. The worth, EUR 36,700, CHF 32,700 or USD 32,400, is identical as different metal editions, however you’d be higher put your skates on if in case you have fallen in love with this magnificence.
For extra particulars, please go to www.vacheron-constantin.com.
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