The Vacheron Constantin 222 — The Return of an Icon

The Vacheron Constantin 222 — The Return of an Icon

I think the time has come for me to cease my rhetoric about integrated bracelet sports watches being a big trend. Time for a paradigm shift, I think. Integrated bracelet watches are actually mainstream sports watches now, and I think they will be for the foreseeable future. Of the “big four” (Audemars Piguet, Patek Philippe, IWC and Vacheron Constantin) from the ’70s, we have all been waiting for the last of the quartet to re-release a version of their classic watch, and now Vacheron Constantin has done what many collectors have been waiting for… the triple two is back.

Old advertisements for Vacheron Constantin 222
Old advertisements for Vacheron Constantin 222

Vacheron entered the integrated bracelet sports watch fray in 1977 with the reference 222. I remember that due to it being a classic of-the-era style, collectors would often mistakenly think of it as a Gérald Genta watch. However, a young watch designer called Jörg Hysek was hired by Vacheron to create something new and in line with the mid-1970s horological zeitgeist. Hysek sold them the design which was then put into production. As per the horizontal model of watchmaking back in the last quarter of the 20th century, the watch’s various elements were produced by some of the horological rock stars of the day. The dial was made by Stern, the movement by Jaeger-LeCoultre and the bracelet by Gay Frères.

The 222 was available in three sizes, with the most collectible being what collectors termed the “Jumbo” at 37mm. The watches featured a stylized “222” engraving on the caseback and a gold VC Maltese cross on the lower right lug. The bezel was unusual without being too much, having notches around the circumference that almost look like they could be gripped to rotate it. The majority of the 700 Jumbos made featured either blue or charcoal dials, with a small number having silver dials and a handful with white dials.

(From left) 1977 Vacheron Constantin 222 "Jumbo" and Vacheron Constantin Historiques 222
(From left) 1977 Vacheron Constantin 222 "Jumbo" and Vacheron Constantin Historiques 222

For 2022, Vacheron Constantin is revisiting the Jumbo watch in 18K yellow gold, with a watch that heavily draws inspiration from the original, but is every bit 21st-century in execution. The watch is fitted with a gold-toned dial with straight applied baton markers. The lume is green colored in a nod to the tritium used in the original 1970s models, and the font used for “AUTOMATIC” in the lower half of the dial has been borrowed from the original watches. The case is beautifully finished with a vertical-brushed satin finish with contrasting circular brushing on the notched bezel.

The return of Vacheron Constantin 222 Jumbo Watch in 18k yellow gold.
The return of Vacheron Constantin 222 Jumbo Watch in 18k yellow gold.

The biggest and maybe most important update is to the movement. The caliber 2455/2 movement operates at 4Hz (28,800 vibrations per hour) and boasts a 40-hour power reserve.

Caliber 2455/2

The watch has a newly designed rotor that has 222 engraved on it, in the original caseback font, with finishing around the edge of the rotor that echoes the bezel.

The edge of the rotor that echoes the bezel

Tech Specs

Vacheron Constantin Historiques 222, Ref: 4200H/222J-B935

Movement: Self-winding mechanical caliber 2455/2; 40 hours of power reserve
Functions: Hours, minutes, date
Case: 37mm; 18K 3N yellow gold; water resistant to 50m
Dial: Gold toned with applied Maltese cross and yellow gold hour markers
Bracelet: 18K 3N satin-brushed yellow gold bracelet with triple-folding clasp

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Ross Povey

Ross Povey, the founder of TudorCollector.com is regarded as the world’s leading expert on vintage Tudor watches. Although an expert on Rolex and Tudor watches primarily, Ross’s work covers the entire field of horology and he is currently Editor-in-Chief of Revolution magazine in the UK. He writes for and has contributed to some of the most influential horological publications, including; The Telegraph, The Rake, Bulang & Sons, Watchonista, Hodinkee, QP and is the co-author of the book Daytona Perpetual, a celebration of the automatic Rolex Daytona released through Pucci Papaleo Editore. Ross is also an international speaker and regularly hosts watch events in the UK and Europe.

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