Continuing on Vacheron Constatin’s mission to bring their new collection of Overseas watches out to the world, the maison was in Japan from the 14th through to the 16th of June for its Asia leg of the collection’s unveiling. Prior to this, the maison’s first location based unveiling was made in the heart of New York City by Juan-Carlos Torres, CEO Vacheron Constantin, where the third generation of the Overseas collection of watches received much laud.

However, it wasn’t simply an occasion to announce the watches in the USA. It was also an opportunity to showcase the spirit of travel that is embodied by the 260-year-old maison and the refreshed Overseas collection. When in Japan, the same approach was taken to share locations within the country that exemplified this spirit embodied by the maison.

The First Stop: Heritage — Kyoto

Specially invited guests of the maison were first brought into the city of Kyoto, which formed the first stop along the journey planned through the Land of the Rising Sun. Kyoto is known as the spiritual center of Japan — a part of country that yet holds many of its ancient structures and cobbled streets, in a city that oozes traditional and cultural richness.

For the day in Kyoto, Vacheron Constantin brought its guests to the Taizō-in Zen Buddhist Temple, where age old traditions such as the mystical Japanese tea ceremony and Ikebana, better known as the ancient art of Japanese floral arrangement — were demonstrated. It was, no doubt, an incredibly surreal and spiritual experience being within the temple grounds that have been around since the 15th century witnessing traditions that have existed in Japan for longer still.

Vacheron Constantin’s Artistic Director, Christian Selmoni also took the chance to speak to the maison’s guests about the 2016 Overseas collection while we were on the temple’s sacred grounds. He spoke of the story of the Overseas’ origins, the evolution of the first into the second generation and, of course, of the motivations that lead the maison to create the third generation.

Says Selmoni, “the first 3D printed prototype of the Overseas generation three was made in 2012, so you can see how long we’ve worked on the design before we unveiled it. This was an important for us because it was first and foremost some design aspects of the second generation Overseas collection that we felt weren’t perfectly in line with the inclinations of today. It’s design codes needed to evolve.”

It was greatly fascinating to come face to face with the actual 3D moulds and even metal casts, that showcase the maison’s thought process in the various stages of design — as it set itself out to create a far superior version of the Overseas collection that would fit perfectly into 2016.

Adds Selmoni, “the second generation of the Overseas has served us well since 2004 — that is a long time — we needed to make sure that the third generation would be just as, if not more, long serving. This was extremely important for us.”

And all of this the maison has, no doubt, achieved with staggering success with a handsome roundup of six watch types in the collection — the highlight of which was no doubt the late unveiled Overseas World Time. Along with that, some progressive innovations in this generation include a complete collection of in-house movements for the evolved generation and an ingeniously practical strap-swap mechanism that makes dressing your watch for different occasions a piece of deliciously moist cake.

While the third generation of the Overseas collection is perfectly modern, Christian Selmoni’s demonstration of its development process and the location we were in was a pertinent reminder that all of this was in line with the maison’s 260 years of heritage, where crafting eternity has constantly required fresh perspectives.

Journey Home: Fresh Perspectives — Tokyo

A few hours’ worth of a Shinkansen ride and we were shortly in the starkly modern metropolis of Tokyo.  Here we were joined by yet more guests of Vacheron Constantin.

We were all there in Tokyo to meet with part two of the travel themed story of the Overseas collection — photographer extraordinaire, Steve McCurry and the photographs of the six locations that he had produced, having been inspired by the 2016 Overseas collection. These locations are: the Vacheron Constantin manufacture in Geneva, the Aqueduct of Padre Tembleque in Mexico, the Beaux-Arts building of Grand Central Terminal, the 71m-high Leshan Giant Buddha in China, the Chand Baori stepwell in India and Tsurunoyu in Japan.

McCurry’s voice is an important one to have added to the Overseas tale, because his work perpetuates the ultimate example of learning to see the world with a unique perspective.

While in Tokyo, Mr. McCurry took time to speak to all of Vacheron Constantin’s guests about his life and works, and even offered up tips and advice from his own bag of photography tricks. A particular treat for the guests was that the evening before in Kyoto, the maison gave all of us time to roam about and photograph something worth talking about. These photos were then submitted to Mr. McCurry who carefully categorized all of the submissions and then one by one gave constructive critique to each submitting photographer during his talk.

Our time in Tokyo, and therefore in Japan, ended that evening with a grand gala dinner that formally ushered the 2016 Overseas collection into Asia. Attended by many more guests and media, the night included a chance to experience the several photographs that Mr. McCurry had produced in glorious large print, along with the opportunity to speak with the man himself about his work and, of course, the Vacheron Constantin Overseas collection of 2016.

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