Historiques 222 – Return of an icon
- Vacheron Constantin’s Historiques collection is enriched by the 222, a contemporary re-edition of the legendary 1977 “Jumbo”.
- A new 37 mm-diameter timepiece crafted in 18K 3N yellow gold
- In-house self-winding Calibre 2455/2 is equipped with a dedicated oscillating weight engraved with the original 222 logo.
Geneva, 30 March 2022 – 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.
For collectors of vintage watches, 222 is no ordinary number. It refers to a legendary timepiece, a symbol of an era as well as a watershed in the history of Vacheron Constantin. With the 222 watch, presented on the occasion of its 222nd anniversary 45 years ago, the Maison unveiled a sports watch adding to a vocabulary that had been little used until then. During the previous decades, sports models had been designed for active people, notably with ‘professional’ timepieces designed for use by pilots or divers, for example, while luxury watches occupied the ‘dressy’ timepiece segment.
It was in the 1970s, a period marked by increasing competition from quartz watches, that 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.
A place in collectors’ hearts
In 1963, Vacheron Constantin presented its first model adapted to the contingencies of working life: the Turnograph reference 6782, a name derived from its bidirectional rotating bezel with a 15-minute graduated scale. The shape of the baton-type hands and the geometry of its straight hour-markers did not go unnoticed, even though the model had a relatively short lifespan.
In 1975, the Maison made a new foray into the field of urban watches with the Chronomètre Royal reference 42001. With its special-shaped case, combined with a rounded octagonal bezel, this first Vacheron Constantin timepiece in steel with an integrated bracelet opened up new style perspectives. These were confirmed two years with the 222 designed by Jorg Hysek, whose modern style retains Vacheron Constantin’s inherent elegance and attention to detail.
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.
The emblematic codes of the 222 have been respected: 37 mm diameter, fluted bezel, gold-toned dial, straight hour-markers and baton-type hands, integrated bracelet and hexagonal central links, as well as the Maltese cross at 5 o’clock made of polished Pd150 white gold and soldered onto the flat base of the case.
A few subtle changes have been made to the Historiques 222 watch:
- Operating at a frequency of 4 Hz (28,800 vibrations/hour) and endowed with a 40-hour power reserve (compared with 2.75 Hz for the original model), Calibre 2455/2 delivers enhanced precision.
- The oscillating weight of Calibre 2455/2 was specifically developed for this model and is engraved with the original 222 logo, surrounded by a fluted motif echoing the bezel.
- The caseback is openworked to reveal the calibre.
- The finishes – vertical-satin-brushed crown and bracelet; circular satin-finished bezel and polished hour-markers, hand-chamfered gear trains and bridges adorned with a Côtes de Genève motif, as well as a circular-grained mainplate – reveal the concern for each and every detail characterising the world of Haute Horlogerie.
- The dial features the vintage font of the “AUTOMATIC” inscription.
- The date window has been significantly offset from the outer rim of the dial to enhance legibility, thanks to the slightly smaller diameter of the calibre compared with its predecessor.
- The Super-LumiNova® coating of the hands and hour-markers (off-white by day and lime green by night) also results in improved readability.
- The bracelet is fitted with a triple-blade (rather than double-blade) clasp
- The bracelet articulations have been revisited to hide the visible pins and improve comfort on the wrist.
The Anatomy of Beauty®
All the features of the legendary 222 have been respected in this contemporary re-edition. The meticulous attention to detail illustrates the Vacheron Constantin theme of the year, “The Anatomy of Beauty®”. This painstaking care is expressed through the designers’ aesthetic choices and preferences as well as in the finishing work performed by the artisans. All the components of a Vacheron Constantin watch benefit from this scrupulous attention, even those that remain invisible once the movement has been assembled. A keen eye will note the fine guilloché work on a dial or the gem-set minutes track; it will make out the contours of the Maison’s Maltese cross emblem on the links of a bracelet; it will notice the small flame-blued screw serving as a seconds indicator on a tourbillon carriage and the mirror polish of a minute-repeater hammer; it will appreciate the artisans’ delicate touch when chamfering a plate or rounding off a bridge; and finally, it will admire the miniature enamel painting depicting a ship tossed around by a stormy sea streaked with lightning. At Vacheron Constantin, concern for detail delicately shapes an anatomy of beauty in which nothing is left to chance.
“Above and beyond its status as an icon, the 222 watch is a wonderful tribute to the work of our designers and engineers, and an illustration of their ability to perpetuate the avant-garde spirit of our Maison.”
Louis Ferla, CEO Vacheron Constantin.
“The 222 watch crystallises the spirit of the 1970s, marked by an evolution of design towards something more authentic, more personal or even more ‘disordered’, as well as endowed with character and organic shapes.”
Christian Selmoni, Director of Style and Heritage
“I wanted to design an elegant sporty timepiece while striking the right balance between these two elements to fit in with Vacheron Constantin’s classic and refined universe.”
Jorg Hysek, designer
Vacheron Constantin presents a contemporary re-edition of the 37 mm-diameter yellow gold 222 “Jumbo”: an iconic timepiece from the 1970s. The 222 was an emblematic “sporty-chic” model launched in 1977 that marked a turning point in Vacheron Constantin’s classic creations. 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.
Developed and crafted by Vacheron Constantin
Mechanical, self-winding, 18K 3N yellow gold dedicated oscillating weight
26.2 mm (12½‘’’) diameter, 3.6 mm thick
Approximately 40 hours of power reserve
4Hz (28,800 vibrations per hour)
Hallmark of Geneva certified timepiece
Hours and minutes
18K 3N yellow gold
37 mm diameter, 7.95 mm thick
Pd150 white gold Maltese cross placed at 5 o’clock
Transparent sapphire crystal caseback
Water-resistance tested at a pressure of 5 bar (approx. 50 metres)
Yellow gold polished Maltese cross placed on the dial
Yellow gold hour-markers and hands highlighted with Super-LumiNova® (off-white during the day and lime green at night)
18K 3N yellow gold vertical satin finished
18K 3N yellow gold triple-blade folding clasp
Polished half Maltese cross-shaped
Available exclusively from Vacheron Constantin boutiques.