In 2016, Vacheron Constantin updated their Overseas collection with the 4500V. It remained a sleeper, until early 2021 when the VCO collection, specifically the blue dial 4500V, increased sharply in popularity. Today, it's rumoured that the waitlist for the blue dial 4500V is in the years, and secondary market prices have climbed significantly in the past few months. Yet one thing has not changed from 2016 until today - the lack of viable leather strap options for the VCO.
While the VCO has a lot going for it, one of the key selling points was the extremely thoughtful design of the strap attachment system - you can easily switch between different straps and the bracelet, in seconds and without the use of any tools, with their proprietary quick change system. But being a proprietary system, that meant that you could only get straps through Vacheron Constantin - good if you prefer to stick with OEM, but not so good for your wallet.
Vacheron Constantin OEM Leather Straps - Not too friendly on smaller wrists
In addition to the steep price tag, there was also one big issue with the OEM VC leather strap - it is not suitable for people with small wrist sizes (~7.25 inches and below). This is because the OEM strap is made very thick at the attachment area to allow for a smooth transition from the case to the strap, but this prevents the strap from hanging directly downwards at the point of attachment, and instead flares outwards. See @kingflum's post for more photos. Because of this problem, many VCO owners with smaller wrists have not been able to fully enjoy this watch on a leather strap, and has had to use it mostly on the bracelet and rubber strap which doesn't have this issue.
In addition, you have to use the OEM strap with the VC deployant clasp, because there are no tang buckles provided. This is unfortunate, because switching between straps should be quick and easy - having to also change clasps adds to the inconvenience of switching straps.
All of these factors combined contribute to a situation where the VCO is often seen on the bracelet or the rubber strap, which is a crying shame because the VCO looks equally handsome on a leather strap.
Vacheron Constantin Overseas Straps by Delugs
This is where we enter the picture. As no one else has been making VCO straps other than Vacheron Constantin themselves (with those issues mentioned above), there is a huge gap in the market for a viable leather strap. The VC community has been clamouring for more options, but the use of a proprietary attachment system meant that most strap brands and makers are not able to make a strap for the VCO. So for the past five years since the watch was introduced, demand for VCO straps started growing, and kept increasing. As the watch became increasingly popular in 2021, this demand increased alongside, and one day, we get a DM from a VCO owner, "Do you guys make straps for the VCO?"
Making an integrated, watch-specific strap was something new to us. We had made straps for F.P. Journe, Ming, Moser etc which required curved straps before. But those were still relatively commonplace - the tricky part was in getting specialty curved spring bars made (that's a story for another time). But getting the hardware to fit the VC Overseas was on a whole different level of difficulty. We spent quite some time sourcing around, speaking to different factories, asking all of our network. After a few months, we finally found a factory that could develop this adapter for us, and the rest is history.
These straps are entirely handcrafted by our leather artisan, and you can choose from the wide range of leather that we have on offer. Construction of this strap is a little trickier compared to a regular custom strap, due to the need to be very precise when working around the adapters. The straps are made with a thickness of 4.5mm at the lug end, tapered down to a thickness of 2.5mm where the strap holes sit.
Compared to the OEM VCO leather strap, there are five main differences in our straps.
- Our straps are more flexible (because it is less thick and doesn’t fit as tightly) and doesn’t bulge outwards as much as the stock VCO leather straps. This makes the 41.5mm VCO much more wearable on a leather strap for people with smaller wrists (below 7 inch).
- You can choose the strap taper that you want (we recommend 23-18 for the most balanced look). The stock VCO straps are made with a 23-20 taper, which might not be the most elegant taper.
- Our straps come with a tang buckle, and you don’t have to use the OEM deployant if you don’t want to. It’s much more convenient - just switch out the strap and put the watch on!
- The quality of leather and construction of our straps is usually much better than OEM ones. We don’t have to say much more if you own any of our strap - Delugs VCO straps will be made to the same high standards that we hold for all our straps.
- Our straps are not made in limited quantities. If you want one, you’ll be able to get one.
The taper of the strap deserves a little bit more elaboration. While the stock VCO strap comes with a 23-20 taper, and the OEM deployant clasp is sized to only fit a 20mm width at the buckle end (so you cannot use the deployant clasp if you go with 18mm or 16mm buckle width), we find that the 23-20 taper is not the most elegant for a dressier look. Having to switch your deployant clasps between different straps is also fairly inconvenient. Hence, we recommend that you choose a 23-18 width taper, using our regular tang buckles, for a more elegant look with leather straps, and leaving the deployant clasp on your rubber strap.
Pairing with your Vacheron Constantin Overseas
With so many different models of the VC Overseas, it can be a little tricky to know if our VC Straps would fit. Here's the latest:
- This strap would definitely FIT the following models: VCO 4500V (Self-Winding), VCO 7900V (Dual Time)
- This strap would definitely NOT FIT the following models due to vastly different case sizes: VCO 2300V (Self-Winding, 37mm), VCO 1205V (Quartz, 33mm)
- This strap MIGHT FIT the following models. We suspect that the adapter is the same, and the only difference is in the thickness of the leather. However, we have yet to try it in-person to confirm: VCO 4300V (Perpetual Calendar Ultra-Thin), VCO 5500V (Chronograph), VCO 6000V (Tourbillon), VCO 7700V (World-Time).
With such a wide range of leather and colour options available, VCO owners are now left with the difficult task of deciding how to pair the strap with the watch. Here’s what we would recommend, but feel free to explore out of these recommendations - after all, finding new combos that work is part of the fun!
- VCO Blue: With a blue dial, we generally recommend for the strap to be either a blue, grey or orange colour. Here’s our top 5 pick:
- Nubuck, Light Grey
- Alligator, Matte Grey Storm
- Ostrich, Nubuck Denim
- Saffiano, Orange
- Saffiano, Navy
- VCO Black: Black dials are incredibly versatile and can work with almost any strap. Here’s our top 5 pick:
- Nubuck, Light Grey
- Alligator, Matte Astral Blue
- Alligator, Matte Mahogany Brown
- Saffiano, Navy
- Chevre, Tiffany Blue
- VCO White: White dials are also very versatile with straps, but we really like how it pairs with lighter shades of browns & taupe. Here’s our top 5 pick:
- Alligator, Matte Cognac
- Saffiano, Taupe
- Epsom, Cream
- Barenia, Fauve
- Buttero, Chestnut
With so many different strap options and pairing possible, we wanted to allow the community to really go wild, and decided to release the straps for custom order, rather than having the straps in stock but limited to a much smaller range of curated straps.
We have decided to go with a pre-order model for the initial launch of our VCO straps. This is to allow us to have a better gauge of the demand, and to make the necessary number of adapters according to the demand. After one week of pre-order, we will close orders to give our crafters some time to catch up on orders - after the orders are done, we will open VCO straps back for order! Subsequently, if there are any straps that prove to be more popular than the rest, we could also consider having them in stock.
Prices of the VCO straps are as follows:
- Regular leather: $200
- Shell Cordovan: $225
- Lizard & Ostrich: $255
- Alligator & Stingray: $275
If you would like to place your order for a VCO strap, please head over to this page.
While we have yet to see the full extent of the demand from the sales, the initial pre-sales excitement from the VC community is amazing. Never have we received so many DMs, messages and emails from people asking when these straps will be released for order, whether there was a limit in the number of straps they could order for themselves etc.
It is incredible how much pent-up demand there really is, and witnessing the pure joy and excitement from the collectors really makes us believe in our mission of providing high quality watch straps and accessories even more.
It is our genuine hope that the launch of the VCO straps will really help the VC community to enjoy the VC Overseas even more than they already do, and find new delights in discovering new strap combos and possibilities. We also hope to take the lessons learnt from crafting and launching the VCO straps, and applying it to other watch brands and models that might also require a proprietary attachment system - Cartier, I'm looking at you!
I would like to take this chance to thank and acknowledge members of the community that have contributed to the launch of the VCO strap (in no particular order):