Vacheron Constantin Square 222 Automatic
Unconventional, obscure, and shrouded in mystery, the square 222 is is something of a footnote today. It is rare to come across an original shape 222 in steel, midsized or jumbo. This unassuming reference 46004 is an even less common sight. Most give it a pass for its mildly undersized proportions at 31x38mm, however square watches wear a few mil larger than round counterparts as rule. If it fits your wrist or style, I urge consideration. The square Royal Oak is one (quartz) thing, but this is something else entirely. The square 222 is not just a footnote to the most overlooked member of the original holy trinity, it’s an eccentric design with true history that is almost completely overlooked by the modern market, even in this recent surge.
Genta may have invented the genre, but Jorg Hysek created my personal pinnacle in integrated sports steel: the original 222 Jumbo in steel. However, to the best of my knowledge (and general collector consensus), Mr. Hysek had nothing to do with this alternative sibling. The square 222 was entirely imagined by VC upper management. How this watch came to be, exactly, remains something of a mystery. A story for someone with more time and curiosity than I to dig out (Rescapement where you at). The thin angular case remains a hallmark, as does the maltese VC case stamp. However, the famed hexagonal bracelet is now contrasted by a case that only just manages to hexagonalize the top and bottom of its largely square face. It has been said that this square variant was made in fewer than 300 examples. From the relatively low volume that surface, this seems accurate to me. However rare it may be, I believe it deserves just a little more of the spotlight.
This example has it where it counts. The tritium (yes, there’s tritium in those indices) is intact and the dial has faded to a very even grey. Its case is still hugely angular, no polish to be see. As that is the case, there is a large amount of surface wear visible across its flanks and bezel. The polished bracelet sections match. Its movement looks free of problems and is said to be running well. It comes as a naked watch from a Japanese retailer.
Find this Square 222 Automatic here from Complet Co Japan for 31950 USD.