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The Other Stainless Steel Sport Watch: Vacheron Constantin Ref. 2215

Vacheron Constantin Royal Chronometer Automatic 2215. Photo courtesy: Mr Porter

The history of the Overseas goes all the way back to, believe it or not, 1975, when Vacheron briefly produced a watch known as the reference 2215… which had an integrated stainless steel bracelet and a sort of squared-off cushion case.Hodinkee

Another steel sports watch? It seems the horological buzzword of the past decade has shown no signs of dwindling. Especially of late, we see brand after brand put out their own version of luxury steel sports timepieces, a watch genre heralded by the legendary Genta-designed Patek Philippe Nautilus and Audemars Piguet Royal Oak.

A few notable examples that stood out personally include Bvlgari’s Octo Finissimo, Urban Jürgensen’s Reference 5241 and Lange’s Odysseus, all great riffs on the theme of steel sports watches.

However, no conversation about stainless steel luxury sport watches would be complete without mention of the venerable 222 from Vacheron Constantin.

With its iconic integrated bracelet with hexagonal center-links and a striking tonneau case with a stamp edged bezel, it is not hard to see why the Vacheron Constantin 222 is so desirable and representative of sport watches from its era.

Vacheron Constantin 222. Photo courtesy: Monochrome Watches

Widely known as one of the most recognizable ascendants to the popular Vacheron Constantin Overseas, the 222 has already been covered widely by various other sites.

Hence, in this article, we look higher up the family tree, at a lesser known, but no less interesting reference, the Vacheron Constantin Royal Chronometer Automatic 2215, or for sake of simplicity, the 2215.

Upon first glance, the 2215 bears a distinct resemblance to Patek Philippe’s Ref 3770, better known to many as the Nautellipse, a nickname given for its case and bracelet design based on the classic Patek Philippe Nautilus that was elongated vertically to achieve the proportions of the Patek Philippe Golden Ellipse.

Visual similarities aside however, the two watches couldn’t be any more different.

Introduced in 1980 exclusively with the quartz E27 caliber, Patek Philippe’s Ref 3770 was one of their responses to the unfolding quartz crisis. Vacheron Constantin’s 2215, on the other hand, was released in the early-mid 70’s, approximately the same time, possibly even earlier than the legendary Genta-designed Patek Philippe Nautilus.

Patek Philippe Ref. 3770JA. Photo courtesy: Collectability
Vacheron Constantin Royal Chronometer Automatic 2215. Photo courtesy: Luxwatch
Royal chronometer was a designation invented in 1907 and is used only for the most accurate Vacheron Constantin movementsChristian Selmoni on Mr Porter

Vacheron Constantin Ref. 2215 Royal Chronometer Automatic

Manufacture

Vacheron Constantin

Year

Circa 1975

Model

Royal Chronometer Automatic 2215

Case

Stainless steel octagonal-shaped
36 × 35 × 10.2 mm (H × W × T)

Complications

Time and date

Dial

Black with diamond-set numerals

Movement

Automatic Cal. 1096, rhodium-plated, fausses côtes decoration, 21 jewels, lever escapement, annular beryllium balance, adjusted for heat, cold, isochronism and five positions, shock-absorber free-sprung flat balance-spring, guilloché gold rotor

This generation of timepieces have been the biggest influence for the modern integrated timepieces such as the OverseasChristian Selmoni on Mr Porter

Housed in a octagonal stainless steel or yellow gold case, the Vacheron Constantin 2215 is powered by the self-winding caliber 1096, which comes with a hacking function that allows for more precise time-setting.

The timepiece is engraved with its running serial and case numbers on the outside of the caseback while the inside is engraved with the model reference and case numbers.

Decorated with three diamond-set numerals, the dial comes in either textured gold, textured silver or glossy black,  and has a date aperture with metallic surround.

The integrated bracelet blends seamlessly into the angular geometries of the case, and appears to serve as the inspiration for the modern Vacheron Constantin Overseas.

Vacheron Constantin Royal Chronometer Automatic 2215. Photo courtesy: Mr Porter
Vacheron Constantin Royal Chronometer Automatic 2215. Photo courtesy: Brandizzi
Vacheron Constantin Royal Chronometer Automatic 2215. Photo courtesy: Brandizzi
Vacheron Constantin Royal Chronometer Automatic 2215. Photo courtesy: Brandizzi
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