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Vacheron Constantin Phidias

Phidias was a sports watch produced by Vacheron Constantin in the 1990s and is a predecessor to today's Overseas model.


In 1972, Audemars Piguet shook the watch world by introducing the Royal Oak, a premium-priced steel sports watch with an integrated bracelet and “porthole” styling. Designed by Gerald Genta, the Royal Oak provided a template for other Swiss luxury watch makers to follow. He went on to design similar watches for Patek Philippe (the Nautilus) and IWC (the "Jumbo" Ingenieur SL). Vacheron Constantin followed the same basic template for their “project 222”, introduced in 1977. Young designer Jörg Hysek created a very similar design, complete with screws from the caseback to the bezel “sandwiching” the case for water and shock resistance and an integrated bracelet of flat links.

The distinctive style of the 222 was watered down greatly for the octagonal Ref. 333 model of the 1980s, and was almost gone with the Phidias from the 1990s. Although the bracelet was still integrated into a cushion-style case, the distinctive scalloped bezel of the 222, rounded octagonal case of the 333, and hexagonal center link bracelet of both was gone. In its place, Vacheron Constantin delivered a dress watch with none of the sporting pretensions of the 222.

The Phidias case is round, flowing smoothly to connect to the bracelet. The most distinctive element of the Phidias is the bracelet, with a distinct central bar element in each link, wrapping around the wrist. Many examples are two-tone, with the bar being gold and the body and bracelet in brushed stainless steel, though all-gold and all-steel examples exist too. Some sportier models (a chronograph and GMT) feature a prominent bezel but most other models have a simple and thin gold bezel that meets the central bar of the bracelet at 12 00 and 6 00. Both automatic and quartz models exist, but all feature thin, delicate hands and bar markers rather than numerals.

A 2-handed Phidias with a quartz movement was available in 25 mm (ladies) or 29 mm with a 2-handed automatic model (with date window at 3 00) was offered in a 25 mm or 33 mm case. The automatic chronograph model had a 35 mm case, as did the automatic GMT. A world time watch was also produced in 1992.

Vacheron Constantin returned to the style of the 222 in 1996 with the Overseas, one of their most popular lines today.


vacheron_constantin_phidias.txt · Last modified: 03.07.2022 15:39 by

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