In A Royal Oak And Nautilus World, Why I Love The Vacheron Constantin Overseas Deep Stream Chronograph

by GaryG

Ask and ye shall receive, dear readers! Well, within reason.

Quill & Pad reader and frequent commenter Greg has been after me for a while to put together a piece on my Vacheron Constantin Overseas Deep Stream Chronograph, most recently in response to my article on three “keepers” from my collection that don’t get a lot of wrist time.

I didn’t include the Deep Stream on that list as it is a quite frequent wearer for me, but now its time in the spotlight has come.

Vacheron Constantin Overseas Deep Stream Chronograph

While I suppose this qualifies as a “Why I Bought It” narrative, its purchase was long enough ago – almost a decade now – that it seemed more appropriate to meld the purchase story with the reasons why I’ve kept this watch, and why it’s been on my wrist perhaps more than any other over that time.

In the beginning

Once upon a time, I found out about a brand called Vacheron Constantin through the kind offices of a local dealer. As a Jaeger-LeCoultre fanatic, I had tended to dismiss many of Vacheron Constantin’s offerings as dressed-up Jaegers at a higher price point. But there was one area in which Vacheron Constantin stood apart: skeletonization.

I saved up my money, sold off a couple of pieces including my Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Art Deco, and plunked down my cash for a Vacheron Constantin Malte Squelette.

Starting with Vacheron Constantin: Malte Squelette and Overseas Dual Time

A few years later, I happened upon the second watch you see in the photo above: the second-generation Vacheron Overseas Dual Time in glorious yellow gold, aka “the Bling Special.” DrMrsG still can’t comprehend what drew me to it, but I can tell you why I bought it:

  • The familiar arrangement of time, second time zone, date, and power reserve on the dial told me that the underlying movement was based on Caliber 929 from Jaeger-LeCoultre, which powered my favorite watch at the time, the Jaeger-LeCoultre Géographique.
  • The Maltese Cross motif of the bezel, and especially the bracelet, seemed quintessentially “VC” to me as well as being tremendously pleasing to the eye; and the bracelet itself was a pleasure to wear on the wrist.
  • Despite its obvious bling factor, it is very much a true sports watch in concept, and both its dimensions and its heft made it a great weekend wearer and a substantial departure from my usual dress watches.

Maltese madness: the “Bling Special” Vacheron Constantin Overseas Dual Time

That last point may help to explain why at the time (and since then) I’ve been drawn to watches like the Overseas (and more recently, the A .Lange & Söhne Odysseus) in preference to the Gérald Genta-styled pieces that, at least to my eye, occupy the dressier end of the sport-dress continuum.

So, when DrMrsG gave the gold Overseas the stink eye one last time and I sold it to a happy new owner, it seemed only natural to replace it with a more subdued representative of the Overseas line.

A new Vacheron Constantin Overseas comes home

But which one? At the time, the steel Overseas versions came with embossed white or black dials, and then there was the question of whether to select time-only, dual time, or chronograph.

A bit more subtle: Vacheron Constantin Overseas Chronograph in steel and titanium

I wasn’t totally convinced by any of the black- or white-dialed variants, but in the end Vacheron Constantin came to the rescue with the Deep Stream series in a steel case with blasted titanium bezel and accents and a soleil-brushed anthracite-colored dial.

Brushed, blasted, and bright surfaces interact on the Vacheron Constantin Overseas Deep Stream

I’d already owned a Dual Time Overseas, but to my eye the Chronograph layout looked better in the Deep Stream’s monochromatic scheme and I appreciated the presence of the big date, so my choice was made.

In the photo above, you can pick out the surprising variety in surface finishes, from the bright splashes in the crevices of the bracelet, the crown and pushers, and the rings surrounding the subdials to the brushed case and bracelet, grainy texture of the bezel, dark-finished hands, and finally, to the light-catching radial brushing of the dial itself.

Same watch, different light: two views of the Vacheron Constantin Deep Stream Chronograph

The way that these different finishes catch different light is one of the most attractive attributes of this piece for me. Take a look at the side-by-side shots above, taken with the watch and camera in exactly the same position but with the direction of the flash altered.

Is it a dark case with a lighter bezel or a shiny case with a dark bezel? Happily for owners of this watch, the answer is both.

Back of the Vacheron Constantin Overseas Deep Stream Chronograph

For me, the most interesting aspect of the rear of the Deep Stream is the continuation of the Maltese Cross bracelet and its termination in a neat set of links that form the outer surface of the hidden clasp and display their own etched cross motif.

Bracelet and clasp detail, Vacheron Constantin Overseas

Once you open the clasp (or as in my case, remove the small screws, push out the linking pin, and remove one end of the bracelet from the case), the solid case back comes into view, its bulged profile further enhancing the sense of robustness of this watch in addition to providing space below for the soft iron inner anti-magnetic case back.

Case back and inner bracelet, second-generation Vacheron Constantin Overseas

I actually removed the case back once, a few years ago, when I was giving the watch a thorough external cleaning. But I lacked the courage to go further and remove the screws holding down the inner case back to get a peek at Caliber 1137, which in turn is based on the Frédéric Piguet/Blancpain Caliber 1185 vertical-clutch column-wheel chronograph movement.

Had I done so, I probably would have been impressed based on available photos of the movement, but for now I’ll continue to resist the temptation to get out my screwdriver again.

Vacheron Constantin Caliber 1137 (photo courtesy

The 1185 and its variants have been widely used over the years, and opinions on it vary. But for my money the pusher feel is smooth and progressive, and the vertical clutch yields a smooth startup to the swing of the chrono second hand that is always satisfying.

As long as I’m not able to see the movement anyway, I’m perfectly happy with a pleasant tactile experience and consistent mechanical functioning, and the anti-magnetic capability provided by the Faraday cage inside the case back is a nice side benefit.

One more look at the enclosed back before we move on allows us to check out the hallmark of the earlier-generation Overseas watches: the Italian three-masted ship Amerigo Vespucci. Vacheron Constantin’s website and literature, as well as online reviews of the time, all wax poetic about how this particular ship evokes the romance of travel and the spirit of the seven seas, but for the life of me I can’t seem to find any explanation of why an Italian ship is on a Swiss watch.

Ride, captain, ride upon your mystery ship: ‘Amerigo Vespucci’ insignia, Vacheron Constantin Overseas

And what is it about the landlocked Swiss and the romance of the seas, anyway?

Vacheron Constantin Overseas Deep Stream Chronograph on the wrist

As you can imagine, I wouldn’t wear this piece as much as I do if it weren’t comfortable and attractive on the wrist!

On the wrist: Vacheron Constantin Overseas Deep Stream Chronograph

Comfort is helped, and boredom forestalled, by the availability of three different strap options. The Deep Stream was originally delivered with grey crocodile and black rubber straps with a two-sided Maltese Cross deployant clasp, and I quickly took up the option to add the full steel bracelet that I wear most of the time.

Changing straps requires a quick screwdriver operation, so it’s not as simple as the quick-release system incorporated into today’s Overseas models. But with a metal pin passing through both lugs and metal pieces embedded into each end of the straps, you’re never worried about the security of the strap on the watch.

Straps and bracelet, Overseas Deep Stream Chronograph by Vacheron Constantin

The pleasant paradox about this piece is that it’s an all-grey design that seems to catch the light in a variety of ways that much more colorful pieces find tough to match.

And while the hands are ruthenium-toned, a quick turn of the wrist is always sufficient to bring them into view. The luminous treatment of the hour and minute hands ensures that they are easily read in both light and dark conditions.

Legible in light and dark: lume shot, Vacheron Constantin Overseas Chronograph

As far as the Vacheron Constantin Overseas vs. Patek Philippe Nautilus vs. Audemars Piguet Royal Oak battle goes, I can certainly understand that each has its fans. For all of the reasons set out above, though, I’m more than happy with my choice of the Deep Stream.

And I will confess that I took a bit of satisfaction from Audemars Piguet’s 2012 introduction of the Lionel Messi limited edition Royal Oak in steel with tantalum bezel that bore a certain strong resemblance to my watch. If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em, I suppose!

Audemars Piguet Lionel Messi Royal Oak in steel and tantalum (photo courtesy Audemars Piguet)

Any quibbles?

This watch has been a reliable daily wearer for me for a long time, and despite taking a bunch of knocks looks surprisingly fresh, even under the harsh scrutiny of the macro lens.

If I had to make a complaint or two, I’d confess that I’m of two minds about the words “Automatic” and “Antimagnetic” printed inside of the running seconds subdial, although I do like a bit of clutter on a watch dial, especially with chronographs.

And the cool-looking Maltese Cross bezel and Amerigo Vespucci relief case back do come at a cost: it doesn’t take long for dust, dirt, and assorted wrist cheese to build up in all of those corners and crevices. The good news is that a minute or two spent once in a while with a soft toothbrush and gently running water (and tightly screwed down crown and pushers) does wonders to make the watch look fresh once again.

Too many words? The antimagnetic, automatic, Vacheron Constantin Overseas Deep Stream

Is the Vacheron Constantin Overseas Deep Stream Chronograph right for you?

This one has been a long-term keeper for me – and I find that I prefer it to the newer series of Overseas that was launched in 2016.

You might consider starting to prowl the pre-owned market for one of these if:

  • The “Deep Stream” aesthetic with its touch of mystery really catches your eye.
  • You are looking for a “holy trinity” dressy sports watch that won’t break the bank, and that will even cost less than a secondary-market ceramic Rolex Daytona.
  • You are confident in your own tastes and don’t feel that you “have to” own a Royal Oak or Nautilus.

On the other hand, different options might make more sense for you if:

  • The changes made between this generation of Overseas and the current one, including quick-change straps and luminous blue dials, really speak to you.
  • You prefer a visible movement and/or a recently developed in-house one in your chronographs.
  • You’re not seeing the nuances in the appearance of this watch in changing light that I am.
  • You see this as more of a tool watch and you feel that there are comparable pieces out there that are available at lower prices.

Let me know your thoughts in the comments section below.

Parting shot: Vacheron Constantin Overseas Deep Stream Chronograph

Quick Facts Vacheron Constantin Overseas Chronograph Ref. 49150/000W-9501
Case: 42 x 12.45mm, stainless steel with titanium bezel and trim and brushed and polished case body; sapphire crystal on front and solid case back with relief detailing; screw-down crown and pusher guards; 150 m water resistance
Dial: soleil pattern-brushed anthracite-colored dial; grooved subdials with bright surrounds; printed numerals and logo and applied indices; blackened hands; luminous detailing on main hands and hour markers
Movement: automatic Caliber 1137 (based on Frédéric Piguet/Blancpain Caliber 1185); 40-hour power reserve; 21,600 vph/3 Hz frequency; column wheel chronograph with vertical clutch
Functions: hours, minutes, subsidiary seconds; two-window big date; 30-minute and 12-hour continuous chronograph
Strap: grey crocodile and black rubber straps with two-sided deployant (standard); steel Maltese Cross pattern full bracelet (optional)
Price: early 2021 online asking prices (pre-owned) $15,000 to $20,000 (without optional steel bracelet)
Production years: 2009 – 2016

You may also enjoy:

A History Of Vacheron Constantin’s Overseas Line, Culminating In 2016’s Worldtimer

2016 Vacheron Constantin Overseas Reflects Travel, Companionship, And Extremely Easy Strap Interchangeability

Why I Bought It: Vacheron Constantin Malte Squelette

Long-Term Keepers: Three Watches I Can’t Bear To Sell

GaryG’s Year In Review 2020: Trends, Notable Watches, Favorite Photos, Plus Watches He Bought And Watches He’d Like To Buy (And You Might Consider)

23 replies
  1. Greg
    Greg says:

    Well Gary, what can i say except ‘Thank you’!
    I thoroughly enjoyed reading that and the photos are just beautiful.
    For a watch that is almost 10 years old and that has received as much wrist time as this one, the condition is remarkable, surely as much testament to your maintenance skills with a toothbrush as to VC’s manufacturing prowess! 🙂
    Thank you once again, Gary, I very much appreciate how generous you are with your time to write and photograph these beautiful little machines that we enjoy so much.

    • GaryG
      GaryG says:

      I’m very pleased that you enjoyed the words and pictures! Thanks for nudging me to write this one — from the comments it’s clear that folks are enjoying it.

      Best, Gary

  2. WillTell
    WillTell says:

    While must confess to never having actually looked at the new OS models, I am awfully suspicious that the straps’ quick change mechanism isn’t as robust as the prior models’. From what I can tell the quick change mechanism is attached towards the center of the strap. Surely that subjects the mechanism to higher torque and loads? Other than that I think it’s the most attractive design of the trinity…

    • GaryG
      GaryG says:

      I haven’t heard any horror stories about the quick release on the newer Overseas, but I’ll confess that I do like the feeling of security I get with my earlier construction.

      Best, Gary

  3. Gav
    Gav says:

    The bracelet design is fantastic, but I don’t think ‘bling’ when I see your previous model; I see – for my tastes, anyway – the only bracelet design in the world that could possibly rise above the usual burden that coloured gold can place on the self-consciousness of the owner – it just suits it completely (and all the better with a white dial). Journe’s Linesport bracelet comes close, but not quite.

    • Gav
      Gav says:

      Oh, also, the only issue I have with Vacheron’s standard Overseas models may be a counterpoint to your perception of it as more sporty than its Genta competitors (but of course we know none of them are intended to go near most sporting activities) – Vacheron don’t put free-sprung balances in standard models where AP and Patek do, and those enable the watch to hold its rate better after knocks and shocks.

      I think they could change that.

    • GaryG
      GaryG says:

      I do love the Maltese Cross bracelet! I’m particularly partial to the second-generation one on which the width of the center section of the cross matches the adjacent gap on the bezel — on the latest versions, the center section of the bracelet links is narrower than the bezel gap, which strikes my eye oddly.

      Best, Gary

  4. Christopher Dean
    Christopher Dean says:

    Hi Gary always enjoy your articles and just love your collection. Reading this made me wonder if I have made the right decision. I have always craved the Overseas and the prices are creeping up preowned. I was looking to get a new Overseas dual time but instead opted for a H Moser Streamliner centre seconds without seeing one in the flesh as this is the only way you can buy it! It arrived in the UK last week and am waiting for lockdown to lift so I can have it properly fitted. Hoping I won’t be disappointed.
    Having three straps with the Overseas is a real plus. I was on the waiting list for an AP Royal Oak 41mm for over three years and to my glee it never came turning my attention to the fore-mentioned. Dare I say it but I think the Royal Oak is becoming a bit too repeated with offshore ect. Whereas Vacheron Constantin Overseas is still a rare sight and obtainable.

    • GaryG
      GaryG says:

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts and for the kind words, Christopher. I’ve handled the Streamliners and while they are not at the top of my personal list that’s just a matter of taste — they are in my opinion quite cool and well-made, and the bracelet does flow around the wrist very smoothly indeed.

      I do like having three strap choices of very different kinds for a single watch — I’m sure that the ability to have a “new” watch from time to time by swapping out the strap has contributed to the longevity of this piece in my collection.

      All best wishes for happy wearing of your new Moser!

      Best, Gary

  5. Onemorewatch
    Onemorewatch says:

    A lovely piece I once owned the blue face model albeit regrettably only on the strap.

    Preowned prices are edging up but it is IMO a trinity daytona beater and great bang for the buck. The watch wears much smaller than the 42 it claims to be, much smaller than the newer models. If I had one criticism it was cyclops dial with one larger subdial making it seem off. That said I’d buy another tomorrow if I had the chance

    • GaryG
      GaryG says:

      Not to rub it in, but that blue dial version was super!

      Interesting point on the cyclops dial — I actually quite like a bit of asymmetry on my watch dials and in particular the “big eye” look on chronographs speaks to me, so I suppose we are at different ends of the scale on that dimension!

      Best, Gary

  6. Paul
    Paul says:

    Great review, and what a fantastic watch! I just love the big date window so much more than the current generation.

    Do you know if the generation 3 chrono interchangeable system is compatible in any way to generation 2 chronos, or are the dimensions completely different? Also, does the steel bracelet have the micro adjustments that the new bracelets have? (I believe it’s 2-3 mm on each side of the clasp).

    • GaryG
      GaryG says:

      Glad you liked the article — and the watch! I’m also a fan of the big date implementation, and of the Gen 2 look overall.

      I am as certain as I can be that the Gen 3 bracelet/strap system will not work with the earlier pieces. Among other things, the width of the central part of the Maltese Cross elements of the bracelet is smaller on the new bracelets than on the Gen 2 ones, so there’s an issue of fit — and I’d be surprised if the new quick-release clip could be adapted to hook on to some part of the earlier mounting points for the Gen 2 strap in any case. Sorry!

      Best, Gary

  7. Al Coton
    Al Coton says:

    I am so excited to see an article debuting this fantastic time peace. I am very recently purchased this second generation with the black dial. I am absolutely over the moon with it I can’t believe it doesn’t have a bigger following but at the same time very happy it doesn’t since the price reflects that and the purchase price was reasonable especially for a holy Trinity sports watch.I imagine that in the years to come people will start looking more at VC and prices will climb climb climb. Like stated in the article for me it was an absolute no-brainer to pick this watch up when compared to a Rolex Daytona for so much less while getting so much more.

    • GaryG
      GaryG says:

      Congratulations on your recent acquisition, Al! The black dial is a striking look and as you can tell from my article I’m a big fan of this design.

      We shall see what happens with values over the longer term, but for now I think it’s great to have a watch of this quality that’s accessible and, in comparative terms, relatively affordable.

      Best, Gary

    • Ray
      Ray says:

      Don’t understand , you are saying the Rolex cost more ? It simply does not, new or used , you can buy a used Daytona for 10k if you dig a bit, no chance you get this VC for that .

      • GaryG
        GaryG says:

        Not sure where you are looking, but I’m not seeing what you are! I was thinking specifically of the ceramic-bezel Daytonas, which for quite a while could be had pre-owned for about $23k but now seem to have skyrocketed to the $40k+ range (excuse me while I shake my head) — and my search on Chrono24 for any Daytona under $15k found a lowest asking price of over $13k for a particularly unattractive champagne/steel two-tone model.

        Best, Gary

  8. Dominic
    Dominic says:

    I went the same route, had the Dual Time 47450 first…. suffered significant seller’s remorse after parting with it.

    When I bought my current one which is a keeper I went with the 49150 chronograph.

    Both times I went with the white dial (over the black one).

    Never considered the deep stream as the one’s I’d seen for sale all had rubber or leather straps.

  9. Gergely
    Gergely says:

    This is an incredibly well written piece, thanks for sharing Gary!
    Such a gorgeous watch even on a rubber strap! But man, on a steel bracelet?! That’s whole another level😍
    Would you mind sharing the details of sourcing the bracelet and what is the reference to look for?


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