Welcome to Always On Time, where we’ll highlight the very best, most interesting, and coolest new watches in the world.
The watches: Vacheron Constantin’s Overseas “Everest” Dual Time and Chronograph
The single best thing about these watches: Pieces specially designed to summit Everest can now be yours.
The backstory: In 2019, American explorer and photographer Cory Richards set out to make Everest—already the most famously treacherous mountain in the world—all that more difficult. He’d already made it to the mountain’s summit twice without oxygen. Now, he wanted to attempt a fresh route up Everest’s northeast face. This was a big deal: there are only 18 different paths up Everest. For his voyage journey, Richards brought along a buddy: a Vacheron Constantin Overseas dual time prototype. The one-of-one watch was so desirable that it went up for auction that same year at Phillips and sold for $106,250 (proceeds went to the National Geographic Society). Richards and eager watch collectors suddenly had something in common: they both needed a new path to get where they wanted to go.
Richards and his climbing partner eventually had to bail partway through their 2019 attempt but the hike is still paying dividends for the watch community years later. This week, Vacheron Constantin announced it will produce a limited number of Everest Overseas models based on Richards’s prototype. While Vacheron is known for its sublime tuxedo-friendly dress watches, this pair proves the brand can turn out awesome sports pieces as well. The watches come with the rugged mountain-ready features you’d want: titanium cases, “grained” finishes on the dials, and orange accents that echo another handsome sports piece.
The watch world’s Everest: Everest has long been a source of inspiration for watch brands—or at least a way for makers to prove their pieces are up to the task. When Sir Edmund Hilary became the first man to hike to the top of Everest in 1953, he did so while wearing a Rolex Oyster Perpetual. Hilary’s version of the watch eventually inspired the brand’s Explorer model, which Rolex sold by touting the mountaineer’s accomplishments. Bremont put one of its watches on climber Nirmal Purja while he attempted to scale the world’s 8,000-meter-plus mountains, including Everest, in record time. Even watches that could never handle the climb like to get in on the fun: Jacob & Co. produced a watch that contained actual rock from Everest earlier this year. This new pair of Vacheron watches prove that after almost seven decades, the mountain still contains some magic for watch brands and collectors alike.
Where and when to buy it: The Vacheron Constantin Overseas “Everest” Dual Time ($31,300) and Chronograph ($37,000) are available exclusively at Vacheron Constantin boutiques now.