This is an exceptional example of the Vacheron Constantin 222 reference 46003/411 in stainless steel. The case retains all its sharp, architectural elements while the beautifully constructed bracelet has no discernible stretch. The tritium on the hour markers and hands has aged evenly to a rich shade of cream, giving the monochrome face warmth. The watch is complete with its box, Certificate of Origin, and servicing invoice.
The Birth of the 222
In the wake of the Quartz Crisis, watchmaking manufactures were under increased pressure to justify their existence, as the very idea of a mechanical watch was under threat.
Against this backdrop, the phenomenon of the luxury steel sports watch with an integrated bracelet was born. Audemars Piguet released the Royal Oak in 1972, followed closely by the Patek Philippe Nautilus four years later, both of which were famously penned by Gérald Genta. Since then, these watches have gained a cult status which is difficult to quantify.
One year after the release of the Nautilus, in 1977, Vacheron Constantin put forward their own version of an integrated bracelet sports watch, with the 222. Designed Jörg Hysek, it was released to celebrate the 222nd anniversary of the manufacture. The 222 was produced for a brief eight-year period, between 1977 and 1984.