Vacheron Constantin unveils the Historiques 222 to mark 45 years since the model’s launch

Vacheron Constantin restates its place in the pantheon of ‘sports chic’ watches

gold Vacheron watch
Vacheron Constantin Historiques 222
(Image credit: press)

Vacheron Constantin has unveiled a timely reminder of its role in pioneering luxury sports watches with a re-edition of the legendary 222, marking 45 years since the model’s launch.

The new timepiece reflects the era of its birth, a time when the Swiss watch industry was adapting to the arrival of quartz while customers for its luxury timepieces were looking for something more indicative of an active lifestyle (reflected by modish new advertising campaigns).

gold Vacheron Constantin Historiques 222 watch

(Image credit: press)

Launched in 1977 to mark the 222nd anniversary of the company’s founding, Jorg Hysek’s design for the 222 featured many of the elements set forth in the original luxury lifestyle watch – the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak of 1972, by Gérald Genta (revisited in the designer’s execution for the Patek Philippe Nautilus in 1976). These included a boldly executed bezel, an integrated bracelet and a robust, monocoque case water-resistant to 120m (within which could be found an ultra-thin self-winding movement). Available in yellow gold and measuring 37mm, the 222 earned the nickname ‘Jumbo’ (as did its regal forbear). It was later joined by 34mm and 24mm models in a variety of materials.

The 222 was discontinued in 1985, and in 1996, Vacheron Constantin launched its current line of luxury sports watches, the Overseas. Still, Christian Selmoni, director of style and heritage at Vacheron Constantin regards the 222 as crystallising ‘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’.

Now, in common with earlier models in the Historiques collection, such as the recent reanimation of another celebrated archive piece, the Historiques American 1921, the ‘new’ 222 offers a handsome reminder of the maison’s rich cultural and aesthetic heritage to those in search of a contemporary iteration.

back of Vacheron Constantin Historiques 222 watch

(Image credit: press)


To this end, the Historiques 222 delivers enhanced precision thanks to the in-house self-winding Calibre 2455/2 movement, Super-LumiNova coating to the hands and hour-markers (which glow off-white by day and lime green by night) and a date window that’s further offset from the dial’s outer rim than the original (thus aiding legibility) thanks to the slightly smaller diameter of the calibre. Its emblematic bracelet is now fitted with a triple-blade (rather than double-blade) clasp, and has been subtly refashioned to hide previously visible pins and aid comfort on the wrist.

Finally, the dedicated oscillating weight (visible through a clear caseback) is engraved with the original 222 logo surrounded by a fluted motif echoing the bezel – a subtle reminder of its place in the pantheon of ‘sports chic’ watches.

Watches

Heritage advert, 1977

(Image credit: press)

Heritage Turnograph

Heritage Turnograph

(Image credit: press)

Heritage advert

Heritage advert, 1977

(Image credit: press)

Vacheron Constantin

Heritage advert, 1977

(Image credit: press)

INFORMATION

vacheron-constantin.com

Bill Prince is Acting Editor In Chief of Wallpaper*. Prior to taking up the role in March 2022, he served for 23 years as the deputy editor of British GQ, before which he worked at EMAP (as assistant editor of Q Magazine) and IPC (where he began his career at NME). In addition to editing, writing and brand curation, Bill is an acknowledged authority on travel, hospitality and watches. His first book, 'Royal Oak: From Iconoclast To Icon' was published by Assouline in September 2022.