Gold / Industry / Watches

A Historic Swiss Watch Now Comes in a Contemporary 18-Karat-Gold Sheath


Few watches introduced at the Watches and Wonders fair in Geneva at the end of March garnered as much praise as the new Historiques 222 from Geneva-based Vacheron Constantin, which was hailed by more than a few influencers as “the talk of the town.”

The $69,000 model is a reissue of the famed Jumbo 222 introduced in 1977 on the occasion of the venerated brand’s 222nd anniversary. Designed by Jorg Hysek, the steel watch embodied the sport-luxury trend that Audemars Piguet kicked off in 1972 with the debut of the Royal Oak, the first luxury watch to be made in steel, and Patek Philippe continued in 1976 with the launch of its legendary steel Nautilus watch. Notably, all three models appeared on integrated bracelets.

Vacheron Constantin vintage ad
A vintage ad for Vacheron Constantin’s 222

Perhaps due to the vagaries of the marketplace, however, the 222, which eventually gave rise to Vacheron’s much sought after Overseas collection, remained under the radar. Until recently, that is.

Among collectors, renewed interest in the 222 is a result of both the hype over steel sport watches that has characterized the past five—and especially, the past two—years of luxury watch sales, as well as soaring demand for iconic vintage wristwatches. At the same time, a growing fervor over gold timepieces—perhaps as a fallback option for collectors seeking unavailable steel models—set the stage for Vacheron Constantin’s savvy reintroduction.

Although the 222 came in various iterations, Vacheron chose to remake Reference 44018 in 18k 3N gold with a 37 mm diameter, and add it to its Historiques collection of reinterpreted classics.

Vacheron Constantin 222
Historiques 222 in 37 mm 18k gold case, $69,000

“The reissue of the Vacheron Constantin 222 was a really nice surprise,” Los Angeles–based collector Jarrod Cooper told Robb Report. “I love it when a brand can pay homage to a previous model correctly, and this did not disappoint. At 37 mm, it’s right up my alley, although it does wear larger on the wrist, which I’m sure the majority will be happy with.”

The updates to the model range from the obvious (the all-gold execution) to the subtle details that only collectors would notice (such as the new oscillating weight of Calibre 2455/2, engraved with the original 222 logo and surrounded by a fluted motif echoing the bezel).

Vacheron Constantin 222 oscillating weight
The oscillating weight of Vacheron Constantin’s reissued 222

Evocative of the 1970s with a chic contemporary appeal, the reimagined 222 is shaping up to be Vacheron Constantin’s golden ticket to strong collector interest, and sales, in 2022.

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By: Victoria Gomelsky

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