Vacheron Constantin is reissuing its legendary 222, launched in 1977 for the 222nd anniversary of the Maison. The watch’s bold design by Jorg Hysek marked a turning point in the history of the Manufacture, which thereby made a remarkable foray into the world of “sporty-chic” watches. Among the various existing 222 references, the one chosen to mark the return of the legend was the Reference 44018 in 18K 3N gold with a 37 mm diameter. In keeping with the spirit of the Historiques collection, this new watch highlights Vacheron Constantin’s rich aesthetic and cultural heritage through a contemporary reinterpretation.
A place in collectors’ hearts
In the 1970s, a period marked by increasing competition from quartz watches, timepieces combining the watchmaking worlds of sport and luxury appeared. With the 222, Vacheron Constantin contributed to this new approach to the mechanical watch, which was very much in keeping with an era open to new ideas. This model clearly marked a break in the stylistic evolution of the Maison: the sporting codes of watchmaking are integrated within a timepiece featuring taut lines and sharp angle, yet consistently elegant.
In addition to being a new model with an integrated bracelet, the 222 watch launched in 1977 introduced a functional architecture with its flat base topped by a prominent fluted bezel. Its monobloc case, which required the movement to be cased-up from above, was water-resistant to 120 metres thanks to its screw-down bezel. The 222 boasted exemplary thinness at 7 mm, thanks to its ultra-thin movement measuring barely 3.05 mm and driving indications of the hours, minutes and date. The baton-type hands and straight hour-markers similar to the 1963 reference 6782 Turnograph watch confirmed an understated and refined aesthetic, while exuding an impression of robustness thanks to its bracelet screwed to the case middle and featuring large hexagonal central links. Initially presented in a 37 mm version nicknamed “Jumbo”, the 222 was subsequently interpreted in 34 mm and 24 mm steel, yellow gold or two-tone iterations, polished or gemset but always adorned with the Maison’s Maltese cross emblem nestling in the right-hand corner of the case at 5 o’clock. Remaining in limited production until 1985, the 222 belongs to the legend of the first “sporty-chic” watches in watchmaking history.
The importance of details
Vacheron Constantin is offering an updated interpretation of this legendary model in its Jumbo version with the Historiques 222 watch in 18K 3N yellow gold. In keeping with the spirit of the Historiques collection, the watches composing the collection are not identical replicas of the original watch, but instead contemporary reinterpretations, endowed with the latest technical advances to optimise their reliability and comfort on the wrist.
With its monobloc flat-based tonneau-shaped case topped by a fluted bezel, this timepiece with integrated bracelet displayed a robust, functional and sporty spirit with elegance stemming from the purity of its lines and the finesse of its curves. This re-edition in the Historiques collection is faithful to the original model, albeit with a few adjustments in the interests of comfort and enhanced reliability. The case adorned with a Maltese cross emblem at 5 o’clock has an exhibition back serving to reveal the new-generation in-house Calibre 2455/2 featuring an oscillating weight redesigned for this model. Operating at a rate of 28,800 vibrations per hour. it offers optimal precision with a level of finishing just as meticulous as that of the original model. The aesthetic codes of the initial 222 model have been respected: a gold-toned dial with straight hour- markers and baton-type hands whose luminescence takes on a green-tinted hue at night, in reference to the tritium used on the original 222. The articulation of the bracelet has been redesigned to ensure a more ergonomic feel.