Vacheron Constantin | 222 | Limited edition | 20 pieces

2,800 CHF
Title   Vacheron Constantin | 222 | Genève - Tour de l'Ile 
Artist   Robert Topulos
Limited Edition   20 pieces 

To celebrate the manufacture’s 222nd anniversary, Vacheron brought out the 222. For its distinctive design, Vacheron Constantin leaned on a young maverick designer in their stable by the name of Jorg Hysek. The watch that Hysek designed bore a thin, angular case with an integrated bracelet. It was the birth of a new modern look for a classic atelier. 

Though similar to the Royal Oak, the serrated bezel of the 222 and its clean, elegant dial was entirely unique to Vacheron Constantin. The 222 saw production in limited numbers: 500 in steel, 100 in 18k gold, and 120 in gold and stainless steel, and was discontinued in 1985, making it exceedingly rare.

The particular 222 despict on the artwork dates to circa 1978. This timepiece is incredibly hard to come by, with far less of these being produced than its rivals from the era. That is — until spring of 2022 when Vacheron released a reissue in solid 18k yellow gold. 

In the background, we rediscover one of the main cultural and architectural heritage sites of Geneva, Tour de l'Ile (“Tower On The Island”) depict here as it looked in the 19th century. The tower is what's left of the fortified Castle de l'Ile completed in 1219 by the Bishop Aymé de Grandson, who once ruled the city as a Prince of the Holy Roman Empire.

The castle played an important role in the defense of the city of Geneva and was originally built to provide additional control over the strategic Rhône crossing – placed on the small island which for many years was the only checkpoint en route between northern and southern Europe, thanks to the Le Pont de l’Ile bridge spanning the river banks. Julius Caesar, who met Divico, King of the Helvetii, here in 58 BC, had this bridge destroyed.

In 1842, Vacheron Constantin moved in the Tour de l'Ile replacing the previous tenants, the Geneva police department. He took up residence in the tower in 1844 and his company remained here until 1875. After nearly a 140 year hiatus, in 2012, Vacheron Constantin firm re-established their quarters here again.

There has been a clock, in one form or another, on the top of the tower since 1538. One of the most fascinating period is in the 19th century, as to facilitate the life of railroad travelers, the Tour de l'Ile included 3 clocks indicating the time of Paris, the time of Geneva and the time of Bern. A difference of 5 minutes 6 seconds exists between the time of Bern and that of Geneva. There is a difference of 15 minutes 16 seconds between Geneva time and Paris time. The Central European Time, valid for the whole of Switzerland, will be introduced only in 1893.

Today the clock has been restored to the appearance it had when the first mechanism was replaced in 1680, complete with the Latin motto, "Post Tenebras Lux" (After Darkness, Light) on the dial. 

Sources: Bibliothèque Ville de Genève ; MySwitzerland ; Notre Histoire; Watches of Switzerland


[This artwork is not affiliated in any way to the Vacheron Constantin company and brand, it is part of a large art collection in homage to the Swiss watchmaking heritage including multiple Swiss timepieces and watch companies]




Printing technique   Étorie on fine art paper
Printing house   Atelier WOCS, Genève
Authentification   Certificate of authenticity



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