Vacheron Overseas Quartz: Why?

VC quartz blue dial

A quartz Vacheron? While I’m a huge fan of the battery-powered Longines Conquest VHP, I was under the impression that watch buyers beyond a certain price point expect – demand – a mechanical movement. Nope. Apparently there’s one demographic that can and does prefer battery-powered watches, no matter what the cost . . .

Women.

Before you tell your wife “nothing dear” as you snicker at the “gentler sex’s” inability to appreciate high horology, my go-to Vacheron Constantin authorized dealer has a practical explanation for the XX chromosome set’s preference for quartz timepieces. My man Michael Majors points out that women are occasional watch wearers.

“They often put their watch aside to wear bracelets,” double-M reveals. As a horophile who’s mortally offended by the cling-clang of double wristers, I get the desire to avoid scratching a watch with an accompanying bracelet. But how does leaving a mechanical watch to one side mandate a quartz movement?

Vacheron quartz black face

“Women don’t like resetting their watch when the power runs out,” MM posits. “They’d rather just pick up a quartz piece, slip it on and hit the road.” It’s an idea bound to offend more than a few women. Let’s face it fellas: anyone who thinks men are more mechanically-minded than women is irredeemably sexist.

We could debate that presumption and/or its political correctness, but commercial considerations trump cultural wrangling. You did notice that the watches above – the only quartz-powered Vacheron models out of 35 total – are diamond-studded 33mm timepieces, right? That the official VC photos display them as female wristwear?

$26k Vacheron quartz

Well, at least they’re expensive. Two of the three mini-me Overseas clock-in at $13,600. The third (above) boasts extra diamonds and a white, non-stainless steel bracelet (in addition to the usual alligator and rubber straps). That bad boy (!) runs $26k.

Thirteen large is only five Grovers away from the entry-level 41mm time-only Overseas. More than that, it’s a lot of money for a quartz watch, even if it from the house of Vacheron. Or is it?

Grand Seiko Elegance Collection STGK004

Grand Seiko’s equally fastidious quartz “women’s” watches range from $2,200 to $4,800. Launched last June, Grand Seiko’s new line of “women’s models” are all automatics. GS sells a watch not dissimilar to Vacheron’s top quartz model – the Elegance Collection STGK004 above – for $28k .

Vacheron Overseas quartz (lower watch) and friends

Then again, Patek Phillipe sells a quartz Nautilus. Audemars Piguet sells a battery-powered Royal Oak (for the same price as the “entry level” battery-powered Vacherons).

Would any of these purveyors of high-end wristwear dare make a men’s quartz? To quote Will Smith, oh hell no. So what does that tell you? Meanwhile, I’m here to tell you Vacheron will sell an awful lot of quartz-powered women’s watches, which will only be worn occasionally.

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