Just last week at Watches & Wonders Geneva 2022, Vacheron Constantin unveiled a remake of a legendary watch from the 1970’s. In fact, it was 45 years ago in 1977 that the brand unveiled the 222 watch — better known by collectors as the Jumbo. It was designed by Jorg Hysek and created in celebration of the 222 anniversary of the brand. Now, to celebrate 45 years of that distinctive sporty-chic watch, Vacheron Constantin releases the new 222 timepiece in 18-karat yellow gold just like its forerunner.
The 37mm timepiece is based on one of the iterations of the original 222. Part of Vacheron Constantin’s Historiques collection, the new watch rivals the original, thanks to a few contemporary updates that make it both sporty chic and ergonomically comfortable to wear.
The original 222 was boasted an integrated bracelet with a fluted bezel and monobloc case. It was water resistant to 120 meters thanks to a screw-down bezel and was incredibly thin for the times at 7mm thin when fully cased (the movement was 3.05mm thick). The bracelet was particularly appealing because of its hexagonal center links – one of the key features collectors love.
That era was all about 18-karat 3N yellow gold, and so the first watch made its appearance in that coveted metal. Following the 37mm size, a 34 and 24 mm size was also released and the 37mm size quickly received the nickname, the Jumbo. Subsequent versions included two-tone steel and gold models, sometimes with diamonds. All 222 watches, though, boasted the Vacheron Constantin Maltese Cross emblem on the right lower corner of the case. The 222 was in production until 1985, when it was retired.
Now, the new Historiques 222 watches – just in time for 2022—take inspiration from the early versions, but with updated styling perfect for today’s sporty chic lifestyles. The 37mm size, the yellow gold, the fluted bezel, the gold-toned dial and the hour markers and hands are all there. Even the integrated bracelet with hexagonal central links and the beloved Maltese Cross at 5:00 on the case (and crafted of 18-karat white gold) adorn the watch. Nuances, though, abound.
To begin with, the new Historiques 222 watches are powered by the self-winding Caliber 2455/2 movement created in house and equipped with an oscillating weight engraved with the original 222 logo. This caliber operates at a frequency of 4 Hz for enhanced performance and offers 40 hours of power reserve. The case back of the watch is transparent sapphire crystal to allow for viewing of the movement and the specially made oscillating weight. The caliber is finished with a host of brushed and polished and hand-chamfered techniques that contribute to the movement’s Cotes de Geneve certification.
On the front of the watch, the golden-hued dial features the word “automatic” in the vintage font of yesteryear. The date window has been moved from the rim of the dial toward the middle for easier readability.. Even the hands and hour markers are improved thanks to Super-LumiNova coatings for easier readability and a great lime green glow at night. Oh, and that beloved bracelet with hexagon links? It has been fitted with a triple-blade clasp and totally re-articulated for superb comfort. The watch is intended to underscore the brand’s theme for 2022: The Anatomy of Beauty®.
Thanks to its ability to stay true to the original, but evoke a contemporary feel and boast updated features, this Historiques 222 is destined to be a collector’s watch.
“The 222 watch crystallizes 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,” said Christian Selmoni, Director of Style and Heritage for Vacheron Constantin.