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Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 September 2018

Vacheron Constantin creates a watch just for the Middle East 

While the Swiss watchmaker's signature timepieces typically feature blue dials, this special-edition pays homage to our region with rich shades of brown

The Middle East-exclusive Overseas watch by Vacheron Constantin; Dh185,400
The Middle East-exclusive Overseas watch by Vacheron Constantin; Dh185,400

One of the oldest luxury-watch manufacturers in the world, Vacheron Constantin has a client list that has included the likes of Napoleon Bonaparte, Pope Pius XI and Edward VIII. Current customers include the ever-controversial US president Donald Trump, who owns a rare Vacheron Constantin Historiques Ultra-Fine 1968 watch with a rose gold case.

Rose gold is also a defining element of the brand’s latest launch: a timepiece from its Overseas collection, inspired by and exclusive to the Middle East, produced in a limited quantity of about 35 pieces for men. There are also about 40 smaller watches, each encrusted with 84 round-cut diamonds, for women.

“It’s very rare, actually, that Vacheron Constantin makes regional specials,” says Alexander Schmiedt, the Middle East brand director for Vacheron Constantin. “Because we can produce only very few watches each year, there is a lot of demand for special pieces, and very rarely can we convince our HQ to create something exclusive for a region,” he says.

The Overseas collection launched in 2003 and, as its name suggests, is inspired by travel. While signature timepieces from the range typically feature blue dials, the new special-edition pays homage to the Middle East with rich shades of brown. “We found that the key colours you have in mind when you think of the region are the different shades of brown and gold,” says Schmiedt. “The gold from the sun, and the brown that you find on the old buildings, the desert sand, the camels, the coffee and in the eyes of the people. The beauty is that it’s not one colour of brown, it’s a kaleidoscopic interpretation of brown and gold.”

The men’s timepiece has a 42.5-millimetre diameter case and features a calibre 5200, self-winding chronograph movement comprising 263 components. A column wheel coordinates the chronograph’s start, stop and reset functions, while a vertical coupling clutch ensures smooth functioning. The movement has a twin barrel that allows for more than 50 hours of power reserve, and is protected from magnetic fields by a soft iron ring. The timepiece is also water-resistant up to 150 metres.

Since the Overseas collection is travel-inspired, Schmiedt believes it is particularly relevant to the UAE, especially Dubai. “There are few other cities in the world that have this cosmopolitan spirit, when in the same day you can be in the office, on the beach and then travelling somewhere around the world.”

For these cosmopolitan men, adaptability is key when watch-shopping, and the interchangeable strap feature of the Overseas timepieces caters to this need for constant variation. The watch comes with three options: a robust metal bracelet; a sporty, textured rubber strap inspired by the Maltese cross; and a nubuck alligator leather strap. Customers can switch between straps within a matter of seconds, thanks to the brand’s patent-pending folding-clasp mechanism.

“These people can change in one day, from something that is very enduring and safe, to something that is more formal, to something that is casual and sporty,” explains Schmiedt. “And the important thing is the usability and easiness, because as soon as something takes more than 30 seconds, people won’t do it.”

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