Watches and Wonders 2022: Vacheron Constantin revives sporty classic

Watchmaker Vacheron Constantin puts a golden touch on its novelties with a classic timepiece from its archives this year

Photo: Handout

Born at the height of the sports watch revolution in the 1970s, when top watchmakers pivoted from classic dress watches and began embracing the more athletic aesthetics of bracelet timepieces, Vacheron Constantin gave the world the Historiques 222. Launched in 1977 to celebrate the house’s 222nd anniversary, the watch has been a sleepy icon until now. 

A stark departure from the round dress watch typical of the time, the 222 represented the best of fine watchmaking and the era. The piece’s round dial sits atop tapered lugs integrated into its bracelet, all of which are beautifully crafted in yellow gold. The watchmaker created precious alloy renditions and stainless steel versions of the 222 over the years. 

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Unlike archival pieces from the era of fellow watchmakers, Vacheron Constantin has managed to keep this piece out of the limelight for decades. It’s a treasure from the maison that’s largely been forgotten and entirely unknown to new enthusiasts. 

The watch features a simple reading of the hours and minutes, plus an aperture at three o’clock indicating the date. Measuring 37 mm, the house’s Maltese cross emblem appears at the 12 o’clock position and on the right side of the lower lug, a feature that adds an interesting visual attraction. The piece’s contrast comes from the mixed polished and brushed finish and a scalloped fluted bezel. 

Little has changed from the original design besides the triple-blade folding clasp. Entirely in 18k yellow gold, the dial, too, is completed in matte gold. The 222’s overall aesthetics is one that captures the nostalgia of the 1970s.

The in-house, ultra-thin movement gives the piece 40-hours of power reserve when in full force.

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