Vacheron Constantin 44518 'Jumbo 222'


A fresh to the market find that will blow your mind: factory bling 222 'Jumbo' in white gold, from the family of the original owner. The story of the 222 goes back to the 1970s. At the time, the Swiss watch industry experienced important changes, among which the introduction of an entirely new category of watches: the stainless steel luxury sports watch with integrated bracelets. The Gerald Genta designed Audemars Piguet Royal Oak that was released in 1972 was the progenitor of them all. Patek and IWC followed in 1976 with the Nautilus and the Ingenieur SL, both designed by Genta as well. Vacheron Constantin followed suit in 1977 with the introduction of the ‘222’ to celebrate the company’s 222nd birthday. Unlike the earlier three brands, Vacheron Constantin did not turn to Gerald Genta but opted to enlist Jörg Hysek, an upcoming designer, to envision a new watch. Hysek employed the same basic design language found in Genta’s creations: an ultra-thin cushion shaped case with broad shoulders and an integrated flat-link bracelet with large geometric center links. The distinctive serrated screw-down bezel and stamped Maltese cross on the lower-right corner of the case, however, clearly set the design apart from its Genta-designed forebears. The 222 was produced for just seven years and came out in three sizes: this ‘Jumbo’ version -in 37 mm- being the most coveted. The production numbers were divided among steel, two-tone, yellow & white gold executions, totalling up to 700 pieces. Only a handful were crafted in the last mentioned material. The ones known carry sub reference 44518, which is a variety -with diamond set bezel -of the 44018. The case and bracelet remain strong with the gold hallmarks clearly visible. Besides the bezel, we can also find 11 brilliant cut diamonds on the satin-finished grey dial. According to the original papers, the carat weight totals up to 0.56, divided into 60 stones. Another interesting aspect of this dial, as opposed to the more common varieties with baton markers, it does not feature a minute track with hash marks. Furthermore, since there is no lume on the indices, the handset used is different and more elegant: faceted dauphine hands. The periphery of the dial has some slight imperfections and the surface has aged over time, resulting in minor blistering. The 222 is powered by the ultra-thin caliber 1121 automatic movement, itself based on Jaeger-LeCoultre’s legendary caliber 920 that can also be found in the original Nautilus and Royal Oak references. This historically important model surely experienced a surge of renewed interest due to the 2022 reboot. But only true connoisseurs will choose the real vintage one. But before people like Brad Pitt found out about this beauty, some 40 years ago a timepiece aficionado from Colombia ordered this special execution. This renowned gentleman acquired numerous uncommon examples from multiple brands, including Vacheron. After his daughter reached out to us to sell this specimen, we asked her about the backstory. She explained that her father travelled to Geneva on the 9th of September In 1982, to pick up his special order, for the agreed 10'000 Dollar. Vacheron Constantin honoured their word regarding the price, but mentioned to him that the project turned out to be costlier than they had expected. Over the years he proudly wore his beloved 222 and kept the box and all documents. We are very grateful to the family of the original owner, who trusted us with this once in a lifetime opportunity.

  • extrasFull set
  • year1982
  • reference44518
  • model222 Jumbo