Vacheron Constantin Introduces Overseas Perpetual Calendar Ultra-Thin in White Gold

In blue and also skeleton.

The style du jour in luxury watches today, the integrated-bracelet sports watch – exemplified by the Nautilus and Royal Oak – describes many of the most desirable watches today. Though a newcomer relative to its peers, it would be remiss to look past the Overseas, which is as thin, distinctive, and finely finished.

Now Vacheron Constantin has unveiled perhaps the best versions of the model yet – the Overseas Perpetual Calendar Ultra-Thin and the Overseas Perpetual Calendar Ultra-Thin Skeleton – both in white gold with dials in blue.

Initial thoughts

Both watches aren’t new – the Overseas Perpetual Calendar Ultra-Thin was first introduced in 2016, while the skeleton variant was launched last year. The novelty is merely the new colour, as well as the white gold case for the skeleton model (which was previously only available in pink gold).

Compared to the previous iterations, the new blue-and-white-gold combinations give the two watches a modern, understated aesthetic that makes them perhaps the most attractive models in the entire Overseas line.

My pick of the pair is the skeleton model, which eminently striking, with its open-worked aesthetic – with all the intricate mechanics on display – elevating the look to another level.

My pick would be the skeleton model

Both new models are priced about 10% more than their predecessors in pink gold, which is more or less in keeping with the industry norm of pricing white gold slightly high (due to ostensibly higher cost of manufacturing due to hardness and the necessity of plating).

The increase for white gold is modest, but both watches are still cost a lot of money. It’s impossible to label either a value proposition, although they are pretty good value in the luxury-sports perpetual-calendar segment.

The most obvious alternative to the Overseas Perpetual Calendar Ultra-Thin is the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar, which is also available in a skeletonised execution. Between the two, the movement finishing of the Royal Oak is slightly better, and it feels sportier on the wrist, being slightly thicker. On the other hand, the Overseas is more elegant and sophisticated, in part due to its thinner profile, which allows it to sit sleeker on the wrist.

White and blue

The standard model is equipped with a lacquered blue dial finished with a sunburst brushing, allowing it to catch the light magnificently, accentuating the polished facets of the case and bracelet. Although the blue dial is identical to that found on the pink gold model, this iteration with white-gold markers and hands is the best-looking yet.

The skeleton model is lightly accented in blue, with its counters and minute track made striking than on the pink gold model with white accents.

Dials aside, the case and bracelet of both remain the same. They are finely finished, with thorough detailing that includes the brushed vertical surfaces in between the notches of the bezel, along with the mirror polishing on the inner faces of the bracelet links.

As is convention, the new Overseas Perpetual Calendars are delivered on a bracelet but accompanied by two additional straps, in leather and rubber respectively. A tab on the back of both the straps and bracelet releases them from the lugs, allowing the wearer to quickly swap between them.

In addition, the bracelet features a micro-adjustment mechanism that allows for an extension of up to 2 mm on each side of the clasp, ensuring a perfect fit.

Both watches are powered by essentially the same movement, the cal. 1120 QP/1, which is a cal. 1120 combined with an in-house perpetual calendar module that will require no correction until the year 2100.

Introduced by Jaeger-LeCoultre in 1967 as the cal. 920, the cal. 1120 base movement has been improved significantly by Vacheron Constantin. It now has a free-sprung, adjustable mass balance wheel, and bears the Poincon de Geneve hallmark. However, the power reserve remains relatively short at a mere 40 hours.

The cal. 1120 QP with its solid, 22k gold compass-rose rotor

And the open-worked calibre with the rotor and bridges treated in grey ruthenium 

Key facts and price

Overseas Ultra-Thin Perpetual Calendar
Ref. 4300V/120G-B945

Diameter: 41.5 mm
Height: 8.1 mm
Material: White gold
Water resistance: 50 m

Movement: Cal. 1120 QP/1
Functions: Hours and minutes; perpetual calendar with moon phase
Winding: Automatic
Frequency: 19,800 beats per hour (2.75 Hz)
Power reserve: 40 hours

Strap: 18k gold bracelet, accompanied by additional straps in blue rubber and alligator

Availability: Only at Vacheron Constantin boutiques

Overseas Ultra-Thin Perpetual Calendar Skeleton
Ref. 4300V/120G-B946

Diameter: 41.5 mm
Height: 8.1 mm
Material: White gold
Water resistance: 50 m

Movement: Cal. 1120 QP SQ/1
Functions: Hours and minutes; perpetual calendar with moon phase
Winding: Automatic
Frequency: 19,800 beats per hour (2.75 Hz)
Power reserve: 40 hours

Strap: 18k gold bracelet, accompanied by additional straps in blue rubber and alligator

Availability: Only at Vacheron Constantin boutiques

For more information, visit


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Up Close: Arnold & Son Luna Magna

The biggest moon sphere ever.

Announced at Watches & Wonders 2021, the Arnold & Son Luna Magna boasts an exceptionally large spherical moon phase display that sits serenely on a dial made of aventurine glass.

Powered by an in-house movement like all Arnold & Son (A&S) watches, the Luna Magna typifies the sort of smartly-executed simple complications that A&S excels at. The hand-wind movement is sharply finished, while the moon phase sphere is an unusual combination of two halves in aventurine glass and white marble.

Initial thoughts

The Luna Magna has simple but striking aesthetics. The dial is symmetrical and made up of classical details like Romain numerals and blued hands. But it has a very, very large moon phase display that’s also spherical.

So it doesn’t try to do very much – the dial shows hours, minutes, and age of the moon – but it does the moon phase well. A&S describes it as the “largest moon ever built into a wristwatch”, which I do not dispute in principle, and it certainly looks the part. But strictly speaking, “ever” is inaccurate, for the spherical moon in the Konstantin Chaykin Lunokhod is the same 12 mm in diameter.

While A&S did have extra-large moon phase display in a past model, it was a flat moon phase, lacking the three-dimensionality of the Luna Magna. That size of the moon sphere means it requires substantial clearance under the crystal, which leaves the total case height, including the crystal, a tall 15.9 mm.

The moon seen from the back

The movement inside is also well done both in styling and finish. It’s clearly a modern movement, but does without the aggressive styling of many contemporary calibres, which is a good thing given the design on the front.

It incorporates interesting details like the open-worked bridge for the going train, as well as something practical – a graphical moon phase indicator for setting the spherical display more precisely.

And the movement is also well finished. Though most of the components are finished by machine, the decoration is done cleanly and done well, bringing to mind movements from comparable brands like H. Moser & Cie. That said, A&S does slightly better, with a handful of components revealing finer hand finishing, like the click for the crown wheel.

Mega moon

Set against a sparkling, glossy aventurine glass dial that evokes outer space, the moon phase and time display on the Luna Magna are a perfect pairing. The moon phase is extreme in size but simple in style, while the time display is just enough.

The moon sphere is an astonishing 12 mm in diameter, making it as wide as a Rolex Daytona is thick. Made of two halves in aventurine glass and marble respectively, the moon phase functions like a conventional moon phase, moving one step a day. It is accurate to a day in 122 years, which is the industry norm.

Setting the moon phase is straightforward: it can be set backwards and forwards via the crown. The spherical moon on the front is impossible to set precisely due to the lack of a scale, but the secondary moon phase display on the back – made up of a pointer against a graduated scale – makes it reasonably easy.

Just above the moon phase display is the time display, which is a simple, white-lacquered sub-dial with blued steel hands. Functional and classical, the time display blends right into the dial. It’s enough to be useful, but not so much that it takes away from the moon phase or aventurine glass, which are arguably more interesting.

The Luna Magna is larger than it looks. The 18k red gold case is 44 mm in diameter, and 15.9 mm high. It doesn’t feel that wide on the wrist, due to the relatively short lugs, but it is obviously thick in profile.

Much of the thickness is the huge domes of the sapphire crystals on the front and back, so the actual thickness is not extremely apparent, but the crystal looks bulbous at certain angles. That said, the Luna Magna doesn’t look clumsy, due to its restrained design and airy aesthetics on the dial.

A&S 1021

The Luna Magna is powered by the A&S1021, an in-house movement that’s clearly been developed specifically to accommodate the oversized moon phase sphere.

A twin barrel movement with a lengthy power reserve of 90 hours, the A&S1021 has all of its key elements arranged in an arc around the moon sphere.

The crown wheel for winding sits right beside the crown, with the ratchet wheels for the two barrels right above. To their left is the going train, which culminates in the balance wheel to the right of the moon sphere. And right in the centre, sitting over the barrel bridge, is the scaled moon phase indicator.

The moon sphere with the crown wheel to its left

The open-worked bridge revealing the gilded wheels of the going train

Though a relatively simple movement, it has an attractive, technical appearance as a result of its layout and details. It incorporates a few smart aesthetic flourishes, like the open working on the going train bridge and balance cock, which reveals gilt components that give the movement richer colours.

Decoration of the movement is comprehensive, neat, and appealing in style. The radial Cotes de Geneve, perlage, and bevelling on the bridges are done by machine but refined in appearance. The bevels, for instance, have the trademark linear striations that indicate they were cut with a diamond-tipped tool in milling machine.

But some components reveal hand finishing, like the ratchet wheel with mirror-polished bevels on its spokes and inner edges. And the winding click for the crown wheel is similar finished, showing mirror-polished, bevelled edges that bear no machining marks at all.

It’s relevant that A&S is a sister company of movement maker La Joux-Perret – both are owned by Citizen – which contributes to the finishing of the new Citizen Caliber 0200, a watch that boasts an impressive movement in both construction and finishing. There’s definitely some shared knowledge at work here.

Polished bevels on the spokes

The finely shaped winding click

Concluding thoughts

The Luna Magna is an attractive watch that is executed to a high quality, and incorporates elements that indicate the attention to detail in its conception. It manages to be unusual with its oversized moon sphere, while remaining eminently classical in style.

Key facts and price

Arnold & Son Luna Magna

Diameter: 44.0 mm
Height: 15.9 mm
Material: 18k red gold
Crystal: Sapphire
Water resistance: 30 m

Dial: Aventurine glass with spherical moon in white marble and aventurine glass

Movement: A&S1021
Functions: Hours, minutes, and moon phase
 21,600 beats per hour (3 Hz)
Winding: Hand-wind
Power reserve: 90 hours

Strap: Leather with pin buckle

Limited edition: 28 pieces
 From authorised retailers 
43,900 Swiss francs before taxes 

For more, visit

Correction April 11, 2021: The moon sphere is the largest found in a wristwatch, but it is not unique; it’s identical in size to that in the Konstantin Chaykin Lunokhod.

Correction April 27, 2021: The balance wheel is not free sprung as stated in an earlier version of the article.

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Audemars Piguet Introduces the Royal Oak Concept “Black Panther”

And a record-setting US$5.2m that goes to charity.

First hinted at in a late-2019 interview its chief executive, the debut of the Audemars Piguet-Marvel partnership was delayed by almost a year – and now it has finally happened. Together with American comedian Kevin Hart, Audemars Piguet boss Francois-Henry Bennahmias revealed the very first product of the Marvel tie-up yesterday during a live-streamed event in Los Angeles.

Inspired by the superhero who’s also the ruler of the fictional kingdom of Wakanda, the Royal Oak Concept “Black Panther” Flying Tourbillon is also notable beyond the comic-book character depicted in hand-engraved white gold sculpture on its dial. It is a more compact version of the historically extra-large Royal Oak Concept wristwatch, making it the most wearable Concept to date.

Francois-Henry Bennahmias

And just after the reveal of the watch, a live auction took place, with all proceeds going to charity. The auction included several experiences with sportspeople who are Audemars Piguet (AP) ambassadors, like lunch with tennis champion Serena Williams, but the closing lot was the highlight. It was a unique version of the Royal Oak Concept “Black Panther” Flying Tourbillon in an 18k white gold case decorated with a hand-engraved Wakandan motif.

After spirited bidding by buyers from several countries, the winner clinched the watch for US$5.20m – over 30 times the retail price of the standard model – an all-time record for an AP watch sold at auction.

The unique piece that sold for US$5.20m

Initial thoughts

The Royal Oak Concept “Black Panther” has been widely and vociferously panned online – largely unfair criticism in my view.

The design approach of the watch is very similar to the Gerald Genta Fantasy watches of the 1990s, which featured printed or painted Disney characters on the dial and were popular amongst some of the world’s most important watch collectors. As with the Genta watches, the interpretation on the Black Panther watch is quite literal. The dial does have a cartoonish aspect to it, which is doubtlessly the desired outcome given the comic-book inspiration.

At the same time, the watch is not that different from the Richard Mille timepieces with miniature sculptures of dragons and tigers, except for being substantially more affordable, relatively speaking.

And the execution of the watch is unquestionably high quality, as AP timepieces typically are. While there are watches that look superficially similar in having comic-book characters on the dial, the new Royal Oak Concept has a solid-gold Black Panther figure rendered by hand in great detail, in a manner that would usually be labelled metiers d’art.

There’s also the watch itself, which at 42 mm wide is the most manageable Royal Oak Concept ever. Earlier Concept models were uncomfortably large, and even the most lightweight models were clunky on the wrist. In contrast, the Black Panther edition is sized almost like an ordinary Royal Oak Offshore, which will improve ergonomics tremendously.

And while it was never explicitly mentioned by Mr Bennahmias or anyone from AP, there was no doubt that the watch and its launch event carried a subtle political and social message.

The Black Panther is African, most famously portrayed by the late African-American actor Chadwick Boseman. At the same time, a slim majority of the celebrities who took part in the launch event were not white; they included Kevin Hart, Serena Williams, basketball LeBron James, boxer Anthony Joshua, as well as Chinese singer Lu Han.

In an industry that is largely white European – despite most clients being Asian – the watch and its launch were atypical. Perhaps it is related to the fact that Audemars Piguet vice-chairman Olivier Audemars, who’s also a member of the founding Piguet family, is of mixed parentage (and he is reputedly next in line to be chairman of the board). Mr Bennahmias and his colleagues should be commended for at least that much.

Black Panther

Clad in his trademark suit made of Vibranium – a super-metal that is resistant to everything – Black Panther is reproduced on the dial in miniature. The figure starts out as a disc of 18k white gold that’s milled out on a CNC machine to form the rough blank. That’s followed by a laser etching to create the fine, fabric-like texture of the character’s suit.

And finally the figure is engraved by hand to realise the smallest details like the eyes and claws, before being painted, again by hand. Black paint is applied in layers to create shading, while certain portions of the costume are left unpainted, revealing polished white gold surfaces for contrast. Both the engraving and painting takes some 30 hours according to Audemars Piguet.

Engraving the details of the figure


And installing

Measuring 42 mm wide and 14.6 mm high – thin for a Royal Oak Concept – the case sticks to the sculpted, angular style of past Royal Oak Concept watches – characterised by a slightly arched profile – but with the modest addition of vented titanium inserts on the lugs that are inspired by Black Panther’s costume.

Made entirely of titanium, the case is topped by a black ceramic bezel. Both are finished in the traditional Royal Oak manner, which means alternating brushed and polished surfaces done to an extremely high standard.

Inside is the cal. 2965, a hand-wind movement with a flying tourbillon regulator and 72-hour power reserve. Similar to the movement found in last year’s Royal Oak Concept Frosted Gold Flying Tourbillon, the calibre here features strikingly textured bridges on both the front and back.

Visible below the Black Panther figure on the dial, the titanium base plate is inlaid with panels of uneven, relief polygonal surfaces that are modelled on the superhero’s suit. Also in titanium, the bridges on the back are sandblasted and engraved with a similar pattern, but achieved with channels on a flat surface instead of relief. The bridges are further treated with a black and grey coating to highlight the engraved pattern.

For a good cause

An auction broadcast live on the internet – with pre-registered participants bidding from local Audemars Piguet events around the world – took place after the debut of the Royal Oak Concept “Black Panther”. Its proceeds were to benefit First Book and Ashoka, charities that aim to bring education to children in disadvantaged communities.

With Audemars Piguet head of complications Michael Friedman holding the gavel, the auction started off in a big way: a golf game and visit with English golfer Ian Poulter sold for US$850,000 to a bidder in China.

Michael Friedman

But it ended even bigger with the unique Royal Oak Concept “Black Panther” Flying Tourbillon in white gold (ref. 26623BC.GG.D077CA.01) selling for an astonishing US$5.20m.

Once again it went to a buyer in China, who trumped bidders several other countries, most notably Germany, Russia, the United Arab Emirates and other countries in the Middle East.

The one-off Royal Oak Concept “Black Panther” is distinguished by its white gold case, which is entirely hand engraved with a motif inspired by the superhero’s costume and similar to that found on the watch movement.

The three auction lots raised a US$6.65m, which was then boosted by an additional US$500,000 donation from Mr Hart, and then rounded up to US$8.00m after Mr Bennahmias pledged another half-million from AP.

The unique Royal Oak Concept “Black Panther” Flying Tourbillon

The unique piece is powered by the same cal. 2965

Key facts and price

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Concept “Black Panther” Flying Tourbillon
Ref. 26620IO.OO.D077CA.01

Diameter: 42 mm
Height: 14.6 mm
Material: Titanium
Crystal: Sapphire
Dial: Hand-painted Black Panther figure in 18k white gold
Water-resistance: 50 m

Movement: Cal. 2965
Functions: Hours, minutes, and tourbillon regulator
Winding: Hand winding
Frequency: 21,600 beats per hour (3 Hz)
Power reserve: 72 hours

Strap: Purple rubber strap with titanium folding clasp, and additional black rubber strap

Limited edition: 250 pieces
 At AP boutiques
Price: CHF150,000, or about US$162,000

For more information, visit


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Cartier Introduces Slightly Ironic Cartier Libre Jewelled Watches

Baignoire and Tortue.

Cartier Libre reimagines signature Cartier case shapes as high jewellery timepieces. Iconic designs like the Crash, Baignoire, Tank Chinoise, and Diagonale have all been given the Libre treatment since the line’s launch in 2017. At Watches & Wonders 2021, Cartier debuts the latest Cartier Libre duo – the Baignoire Turtle and Tortue Snake – both jewelled, enamelled, and slightly ironic: a turtle dressed like a snake, and a turtle named after a bathtub.

Initial Thoughts

Extravagantly styled and impeccably decorated, the new pair of watches are whimsical, as the Libre line has always been, but for the first time draw on the natural world for inspiration. Despite being seriously lavish jewellery watches, the two have a sense of humour. Each case shape is inspired by an object – tortue translates as turtle, and bagnoire, bathtub – but each watch is decorated with a motif from something else entirely, bringing to mind surrealist art.

The turtle

Definitely the more glamorous of the two watches, the Bagnoire Turtle is also the more legible of the two, thanks to the use of blued-steel hands that contrast against the diamond-set dial. And it is more convenient, being powered by a quartz movement, though that makes it less appealing to a watch enthusiast.

The Baignoire Turtle is decorated like, well, a turtle. Both the bezel and dial have been divided into pentagonal and hexagonal panels, outlined in blue enamel. The panels themselves are decorated with brilliant-cut diamonds and flat-cut sapphires.

The panels on the dial and bezel resemble a turtle’s shell

The outer edge of the case is rimmed by a black enamel border and paved with with buff-top tsavorites to complete the turtle’s shell look. And the “bathtub” case is rhodium-plated white gold, measuring just over 32 mm in length by 25 mm at its widest point.

The snake

A fascinating creation both conceptually and stylistically, the Tortue Snake has its dial and bezel segmented into hexagonal cells in a graceful, undulating pattern that evokes the scales of a snake.

The cells are inlaid with black and coral enamel, mother-of-pearl, or brilliant-cut diamonds. And in a subtle detail that speaks to the thought put into its design, the hexagonal cells between one and two o’clock as well as seven and eight o’clock form the edge of the case, creating a jagged and asymmetrical case outline that is simultaneously quirky and appealing.

The case is subtly asymmetrical

Notably, instead of the quartz movement found in most high-jewellery watches, the Tortue Snake is powered by the hand-wound caliber 430 MC. Also found in this year’s Santos-Dumont XL limited editions, the movement is actually a Piaget cal. 430P, a compact caliber measuring 20.5 mm in diameter and a mere 2.15 mm in thickness.

My only reservation is legibility – it might be difficult to discern the thin, rhodium-plated sword hands against the backdrop of diamonds and mother-of-pearl. I realise, however, that time telling is secondary function here.

Key Facts and Price

Cartier Libre Baignoire Turtle
Ref. CRWJLI0021

Diameter: 25.47 mm
Height: 7.57 mm
Material: 18k white gold
Gem-setting: Case, dial, and buckle set with 171 brilliant-cut diamonds (0.74 ct), 18 sapphires, and 24 tsavorites
Crystal: Sapphire

Movement: Quartz

Strap: Alligator with folding clasp

Limited edition: 30 pieces
: Starting June 2021 at boutiques and retailers
Price: Approximately US$85,000

Cartier Libre Tortue Snake
Ref. CRWJLI0023

Diameter: 31 mm
Height: 6.73 mm
Material: Rhodium-plated white gold
Gem-setting: Case, dial and buckle set with 130 brilliant-cut diamonds (0.72 ct)
Crystal: Sapphire

Movement: 430 MC
Functions: Hours, and minutes
Winding: Manual
Frequency: 21,600 vibrations per hour (3 Hz)
Power reserve: 38 hours

Strap: Alligator with folding clasp

Limited edition: 30 pieces
: Starting June 2021 at boutiques and retailers
Price: Approximately US$80,000

For more, visit


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