The oft-forgotten third musketeer in the original steel sports holy trinity, Vacheron’s 222 has seen increasing limelight in the wake of recent 5711 madness. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve wanted to shout ‘but what about the 222 or Overseas?!’ into the ether whilst reading those Nautilus and Royal Oak grey-market-value articles that bore me senseless. I could make a stronger case for the very rare 222 Jumbo to be worth a half million than that green retail monstrosity. Luckily, it’s not 2050. One may still acquire an original steel 222 at just a fraction of the auction value of a green Nautilus, which seems like absurd comparative value.
Vacheron Constantin were last of the big three Swiss houses to debut their steel sports offering. AP had first mover advantage, but VC had the competitive advantage of being able to watch and learn. Commemorating the manufacture’s 222nd anniversary, Jorg Hysek was tasked to pen an integrated sports offering. The case was super thin, harshly angular, hexagonal in theme, and serrated in detail. No porthole faff was to be found anywhere. Its design impression was VC to the core. The extreme proportions were made possible through a very thin yet bulletproof, JLC-based cal. 920. The 222 was produced in 37 & 34mm, with the midsize 34 (shown here). I particularly love the VC-cross case stamp just beneath its 5 marker, a divisive detail to say the least.
This example sports a lovely light wear across all surfaces. The bracelet appears tight and its dial lightly weathered. The luminous plots in its handset are evenly faded but wholly present. Lugs are sharp, a critical piece to this model’s angular appearance. It comes with a full set and additional paperwork from a very well-regarded London retailer. The 222 is possibly the most slept on yet still famous watch to be manufactured in steel. It is a watch enthusiast’s choice, not a hypebeast’s fascination. Those are fighting words, I know. But I stand by them.
Find this 222 here from A Collected Man for 52500 GBP.