Vacheron Constantin 222
Why We Love it
Why We Love it–
Let's get one thing out of the way first: the Vacheron Constantin 222 was not designed by Gerald Genta, but his influence on it is unmistakable.
One can't consider "luxury sports watches" without examining Genta's contribution to the genre--in fact, one can say that he single-handedly created it with the Royal Oak, which he designed for Audemars Piguet.
Genta penned the Royal Oak for Audemars Piguet's Italian market, at the behest of the brand's managing director Georges Golay. Golay foresaw a place in the watch market for a sporty steel watch with unprecedented looks. When the Royal Oak was released in 1972, there was nothing else like it available commercially.
In terms of success, the Royal Oak was a sleeper in that it languished in boutiques for two years before seeing notoriety on the wrist of Fiat's chief, Giovanni Agnelli. After that, the Royal Oak proved to be such a star in the world of watches that it's inspired other brands to release their own particular flavor of luxury sports watch. While the Nautilus by Patek Philippe and the Ingenieur by IWC--along with the Royal Oak--are the best known of all of these, the most elusive (and mysterious) is the 222 by Vacheron Constantin.
Vacheron Constantin released the 222 in 1977, the manufacture's 222nd anniversary. For the distinctive design Vacheron Constantin leaned on a young maverick designer in their stable by the name of Jorg Hysek. However, for many years Hysek's contribution was obscured in favor of Genta--even by Vacheron Constantin executives themselves.
Genta, for himself, obliquely acknowledged Vacheron's attribution of the 222's design to him, saying that he was "flattered" at being mentioned "in conjunction with products."
Still, regardless of whether Genta directly designed the 222 or not, it owes much to the Royal Oak. The 222 bears a thin, angular case (with an integrated bracelet, similar to the Royal Oak) which was released in a variety of sizes (from the "jumbo" 37mm to the 31mm model featured here) and case shapes (like the square featured here). The 222 saw production in limited numbers--500 in steel, 100 in 18k gold, and 120 in gold and stainless steel--before it was discontinued in 1985, making it exceedingly rare.
Internally, the 222 is powered by the Calibre 920 (which Vacheron-Constantin re-designated as the VC 1120). Produced by Jaeger-LeCoultre, the Cal. 920 was also used by Patek Philippe in the Nautilus and by Audemars Piguet in the Royal Oak. Introduced in 1967, this ultra-thin calibre is the only one to have been used by all of the "Big Three" watch manufactures (but, oddly enough, never by the manufacture that created it).
This particular 222 comes to us from a very good friend of the Analog/Shift team, and is undeniably special. Complete with box and papers, it's been lovingly preserved and hardly worn. Beyond the mystique, it's a veritable time capsule worthy of serious consideration for the lover of 1970s sports designs. Please contact us for more information and pricing on this remarkable piece!
Analog:Shift stands behind the authenticity of our products in perpetuity.
Since our pieces are vintage or pre-owned, please expect wear & patina from usage and age. Please read each item description and examine all product images.
We back each Analog:Shift vintage timepiece with a one-year mechanical warranty from the date of purchase.
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Shipping & Returns
Shipping & Returns+
All of our watches include complementary insured shipping within the 50 states.
Most of our products are on hand and will ship directly from our headquarters in New York City. In some cases, watches will be shipped directly from one of our authorized partners.
We generally ship our products via FedEx, fully insured, within 5 business days of purchase. An adult signature is required for receipt of all packages for insurance purposes. Expedited shipping is available at an additional cost. We are also happy to hand deliver your purchase in Manhattan or you may pick it up at our showroom.
Returns must be sent overnight or by priority international delivery, fully insured and paid for by the customer. A restocking fee may apply. Watches must be returned in the same condition as initially shipped.
We welcome international buyers, please contact us prior to purchase for additional details on shipping and payment options.
Vacheron Constantin 222