I’ve been thinking long and hard about my next purchase and the high end SS sports watch is calling to me. Currently I have a rose gold Lange 1815 and a rose gold Yacht Master on oysterflex, but I’d like a nice SS piece that isn’t quite as attention grabbing as rose gold and still versatile.
I’ve always been attracted to the allure of royal oaks. Tried on the 41mm 15500 and it just felt too large on me. I can pull it off, but it just felt like it wore larger than it should on my 7 inch wrist. All a matter of preference of course, but that was my takeaway, which is a little bit of a bummer because the new movement is really beautiful.
I tried on a gold version of the 38mm chrono, and while the aesthetic of the gold wasn’t to my taste (or wallet), the size felt great on my wrist. Wish it was just a hair thinner, but not a dealbreaker for me. Convention wisdom is that the ROs wear 1-2mm bigger than they are sized, and feel like that’s true, largely because the ends of the bracelet are quite wide so as to match the width of the lugs of the case.
I’ve been looking through the photos of the steel version, and the grey one looks beautiful. To be honest, I have a slightly stronger pull to the silver/blue panda, but on such a visually attention grabbing watch like the RO, I think realistically it’s a little too over the top for me. They grey seems less flashy, but still retains a lot of visual interest of different patterns and still plays with the light. I Also think the grey will stand the test of time a little better. Some photos by way of Hodinkee:
Now the downsides of the 38mm RO....Probably most annoying is that I actually don’t really care much for the chronograph complication. It’s a bit of a shame to to have to pay a premium ($4.6k, mind you) for a complication whose functionality I’m not particularly yearning for. It does ad some nice visual flourish to the dial, but you could also make the case for the simplicity of the time-only variant. The second thing that is a bit irksome is the off-center date window: it’s not centered between 4 and 5 o’clock, being closer to 5, which is a minor design irritant. Luckily with the grey dial, it uses a grey date wheel so it minimizes the visual impact of the date window. The chrono not an in-house movement, despite using trusty the F. Piguet 1185, without a display case back. Not the end of the world, but the movement can be had in much less expensive watches. It’s only a matter of time before AP moves its in house movement form the 11:59 to its royal oak chronograph, though I would not expect it to make its way to the 38mm version as the movement itself is quite large. But this means that the 38mm version will eventually be relegated to second class citizen in the AP lineup, and affect potential resale value. But the size and the bracelet make it stunner.
So, now on to the Vacheron Overseas time and date....
One thing to note is that I’ve been yearning for a Journe Chronometre Bleu for a few years now. At this point, I’ve basically given up as I just don’t want to pay secondary market prices for access...$35k+ just stings too hard....and the Journe boutique with their allocation mechanism (i.e. conditional selling) renders it pretty much impossible for me to access a new one unless I buy another one of their watches first, which currently isn’t in the cards.
So the blue dial Overseas piqued my interest with its deep blue dial. I had the chance to try on the 42.5mm chronograph and liked the dial, but didn’t love the chrono complication and the size was a little to big (and a little too thick) for my liking.
So I’ve concluded that the 41mm time and date version may be a good way to go: less expensive, smaller size and thinner (though still about the same thickness as the 38mm RO chrono), and an uncluttered dial to allow that blue to shine. It’s also just so practical. The strap release system is magical, it comes with rubber and leather straps, it has 150M water resistance, longer power reserve than the RO, display case back, anti magnetic. Being more adaptable, it may end up getting more wrist time than the RO. Vacheron also seems to be on the upswing, so that’s a nice little plus. It feels a little less special than the RO, but also more practical with more utility. At this price, that may be a good thing.
But I still haven’t tried it on so I’m not sure. Of course, there’s a question of access, but within a few months I should be able to acquire either at retail I think. I’d love to hear what the community thinks, and if anyone has had experience with one or both of these pieces.