222 supply dial

Dear Loungers,

surfing the web, I found a 222 for sale in the States, on a notorius auction web-site. I'm not sure policies and laws allow me to publish the picture of this dial and so, I won't, but it's a very interesting topic to discuss for the following reasons.

This dial has a graphic ( the writing of both: "automatic" and "Vacheron Constantin") I've never seen, it looks more compressed than the original one; more, the Swiss at six is accompanied at its sides by the sigma symbol for the Association pour la Promotion Industrielle de l'Or (Aprior) we all know. I've never seen a sigma dial on a ref. 222 but there are evidences it was used for at least one version/model, the ref 44518/415 as shown in this official document.

The calendar discus looks original although numbers look a little rough (due to the picture perhaps). The watch was serviced in the recent past by the Maison itself.

The dial looks clearly not coeval to the watch to my thinking but it doesn't mean it has been reprinted, it could be simply a supplied dial, produced in the very early years after the watch was born. For instance, ref. 222 square model do bear the sigma dial. On the other side, it's not easy to explain why VC had to change the clichès used to print the original dials only after few years since the debut of this reference. Maybe it's just recent supply. Was the accent over the "E" of Genève still adopted in the original, supplied dials?

I'd like to see the dial in metal, a close inspection would probably solve the mistery but I can't and so I ask for your opinion.

I would really like to read your comments and argumentations about this dial and watch. For those willing to give it a try, I don't think it's necessary for me to provide more info about the site which is currently hosting the auction.

Please consider I'm not interested to this watch or to its sale etc. this topic is very interesting to me, to bring under the loupe the history of the reference and its evolution, supplied dials included.

Alex, if you think this post is not appropriate or somehow hard to manage, please delete it.

Regards,

 

roberto

 

I should have known you'd be one step ahead of me on this one...
07/17/2015 - 16:16

I read about this auction as well (ovre at Hodinkee's "Bring a Loupe").  I had come here specifically to let you know about it, but you already know.  Your observations are interesting and I shall await the responses.  Happy investigating.

Thanks :-)
07/17/2015 - 18:25

patientiam forti et virtute cheeky

What intrigues me are the sigma, it would be anachronystic to have sigma in a late supplied dial, this led me thinking it could be an old supply.

Honestly, without those sigma types I would have considered the dial reprinted outside the Company, more, the watch has been serviced inside VC and I don't think the dial would have passed that test easily (considering VC would have demanded to change it with an original one, although supplied but that's just a guess).

I've seen several AP ref. 5402 with old supplied dials, probably due to an improper usage of the watch; sold as a sport watch, it was not, several owners must have worn the watch in close contact with water with the result of having the case (and dial) flooded. Ref 222 share the same nature of the 5402 and so it could have happened the same in this case.

Re: 222 supply dial
07/18/2015 - 00:36

As you've mentioned, the Sigma Swiss mark was introduced in 1973 to signify dials or indexes made of gold.  The 222 was introduced in 1977 and, one would think, should display this symbol as all indexes and hands were gold, even on the steel models.  However, mine did not have the Sigma mark, simply SWISS.

 222 supply dial

This would lead us to re-consider the history of this symbol; it was a promotional initiative among an Association of Swiss manufacturers, not mandated by government legislation.  I would venture there were dial manufacturers that belonged and some that didn't.  This would presuppose that VC used more than one supplier.  Here are further examples:

 222 supply dial

 222 supply dial

 222 supply dial

 222 supply dial

While still on the subject of the 222 dial, what do you think of these?

 222 supply dial

 222 supply dial

 222 supply dial

What's the coffee shop and its link with James Bond? :-) (nt)
07/18/2015 - 11:12
Guess ;-)
07/18/2015 - 16:26

Sorry, I have no prize to offer, but here is a further clue....

Guess ;-)

Well, that looks like Lazenby....
07/18/2015 - 16:55

Narrows it considerably. Makes the search "gloriously" simple?

A "piz" of cake, even. (Nt)
07/18/2015 - 16:56
Groan
07/18/2015 - 23:15

Very punny smiley

Groan

You would have preferred I did something with Schilthorn?
07/19/2015 - 14:15

I thought not. Great photos by the way. I check the back of WatchTime every issue for you know. Hehe. 

I didn't notice the menu before
07/18/2015 - 17:26

You were obviously in a German-speaking part of Switzerland.  Perhaps where that part of the movie was filmed?  That would make sense if this was a 007 themed coffee shop, or at least a coffee selection off the menu. smiley

Re: Re: 222 supply dial
07/18/2015 - 14:16

Hi Dean,

I agree with you the Sigma types don't represent nor guarantee a precise time sequence, also, it could be used on supply either.

Several dial makers and brands adopted the goute, curious, the only 37mm 222 with sigma doesn't have indexes but it makes sense due the fact the producer wanted to indicate the dial was made in gold; sometimes instead, the sigma is visible just on the back of the dial.

As per the examples you're asking my opinion.

1) The dove dial is surely a reprint; never seen such a graphic (small letters for "automatic") and then the quality of the print is poor and rough

2) The gold one is impossible to evaluate, I just can notice the "swiss" at 6 is lacking

3) The square looks good, although still hard to evaluate with just one picture with that resolution, if I had to make an educated guess, I'd say it's good, considering the types for "Tiffany" look good. Sometimes Tiffany is able to provide info about the originality of the personalization, it depends by the period the watch was produced. Moreover, to my knowledge, Tiffany itself was able to customize the dials on its own. I don't have information about Vacheron, just for other brands; it occurred since the middle of the 80's. This makes me think that (gorgeous) dial is ok.

 

And the "&" ?
07/18/2015 - 16:20

enlightened

Oops! Missed that!
07/18/2015 - 17:34

Focused on the Tiffany print, I simply didn't see the ampersand. I've no evidence of an original dial for the square with the "&", the same, for a blue dial, I've never seen one live nor in a picture but I'm not that hard to consider exceptions which are always possible. Only the inspection of the dial would tell its genuinenesses.

Do you know the story of this dial perhaps?

Makes one wonder
07/18/2015 - 23:28

The conjunction between Vacheron and Constantin ("et" or "&") was dropped when the company name changed to Vacheron Constantin SA in 1974.  However, as late as the 1977 catalog, certain pieces were featured with the "&" showing on the dial, likely to use up existing stocks. But....the 222 was introduced as a new model in 1977, so there can be no old stocks to use up!

To get things more complicated
07/19/2015 - 00:40

Consider also the print "Tiffany" for what we can see with just one picture, uses a font and a style which should be anterior to the period, being replaced by a more known fatter font during the 70's (with several slight modifications) onward.

What do you think of the dial of the 222 for sale, inceptive reason of this post?

 

 

 

Well, the 222 was clearly targeted for a specific year of release...
07/19/2015 - 14:24

Could it possibly be that at least some production started as early as 1974?

Serial numbers may help
07/19/2015 - 15:07

This one for sale has case number 5221XX, the smaller number I've seen so far on a 222 case is 5219XX.

All the watches in I've seen with a SN in between these 2, do show the same graphic. Many say the whole steel bacthes were produced within a timeframe of just one year.

No way out, reprinted and/or supply but I'm starting to favor the first option. If it wasn't for the service made in-house, I would have already chosen that option.

If I just could see the back of that dial! crying

If the seller would offer the case and movement numbers...
07/19/2015 - 15:50

Could the helpful concierge see if the service records note the dial, or do they not have or offer that kind of information?

Good point
07/20/2015 - 09:48

I wonder what happened when the watch was serviced. Did they notice the dial was reprinted? Maybe they didn't touch it because it looked in good conditions even if reprinted? Did they replaced the dial with the one currently installed which means it should be supply? Did the reprint happen after the service?

I know for sure another Maison doesn't mention the dial replacement in its service reports (or at least it has happened several times, there are evidences to prove it) but I don't know VC's policy and procedures about this matter.

 

Good point
07/20/2015 - 09:49

I wonder what happened when the watch was serviced. Did they notice the dial was reprinted? Maybe they didn't touch it because it looked in good conditions even if reprinted? Did they replace the dial with the one currently installed which means it should be supply? Did the reprint happen after the service?

I know for sure another Maison doesn't mention the dial replacement in its service reports (or at least it has happened several times, there are evidences to prove it) but I don't know VC's policy and procedures about this matter.

 

Someone just spent $18k
07/24/2015 - 18:53

for a steel 222 on fleabay.  Wonder how soon it will be re-listed.

I feel sorry
07/25/2015 - 16:28

for the buyer, he should have read this threadfrown

40th anniversary is coming, this reference suffers the same speculation experienced with the royal oak ref 5402, we've lately witnessed; not a good thing imho.