The 1970s gave birth to four high-end stainless-steel mechanical watches with integrated bracelets. The Audemars Piguet Royal Oak (1972), the IWC Ingenieur SL (1976), the Patek Philippe Nautilus (also 1976), and the Vacheron Constantin Overseas (1977). The first three were all signed by Gerald Genta, during what many consider to be his creative peak. The other was an ambitious response from a talented 23-year-old named Jorg Hysek. (For many years, it was thought that Genta was responsible for the first Overseas; Vacheron has however confirmed for us that Jorg Hysek was responsible.)

Launched last, the Overseas (then called reference 222, in reference to the 222nd anniversary of the founding of Vacheron Constantin) was unlike anything else that had come out of Vacheron Constantin’s manufacture. They had spent more than two centuries making watches, but had never made a watch like this. It would be their first sports watch; and their last.