While the late Gerald Genta may be the most prominent watch designer of our time, Jorg Hysek could be considered one of its hidden talents. His resumé reads like a who’s-who of the watch world, including Rolex, Cartier, Ebel, Seiko, and others. Clearly, Hysek has made significant contributions to the development of the modern luxury watch.
But if you’re not familiar with the name, keep reading to discover four of his iconic watch designs from brand you’ll certainly know.
Named for the 222nd anniversary of the brand, the Vacheron Constantin 222 was the precursor of the current Overseas watch. Released in 1977, the 222 was a true product of its era. Unlike anything Vacheron had ever produced, it was, nevertheless, in line with the other luxury sports watches of the period. In fact, it was so similar in style to the Royal Oak, Nautilus, and Ingenieur, that the 222’s design was mistakenly credited to Gerald Genta for a long time.
However, that credit belonged to a young Jorg Hysek. His design featured several elements de rigueur, including a stainless steel construction, detailed bezel, and integrated bracelet. The clear dial housed simple stick indexes, two center hands, and a date window. Straightforward and rugged, the Vacheron Constantin 222 was exactly the high-end sports watch 1970s consumers wanted.
Fast-forward to today and the 222 is still in demand—thanks in part to its rarity. Launched as a limited-edition model, Jorg Hysek’s Vacheron Constantin 222 enjoys grail watch status among vintage watch collectors.
Although Breguet is most famous for its elegant dress watches and high complications, it boasts some sportier watches too, including the Marine. In 1815, Abraham-Louis Breguet became an official supplier to the French Navy. Inspired by this military heritage, Jorg Hysek took the strong Breguet design codes and reinterpreted them into a contemporary timepiece. The Breguet Marine had two distinguishing features: the oversized crown and crown guards—a departure from other Breguet models.
The Breguet Marine debuted in 1990 and has since remained in the brand’s current collection. While the first generation of the Breguet Marine leaned towards a dressier aesthetic, the collection has evolved into a more rugged and sporty model. The collection also houses different versions including chronograph, GMT, tourbillon and ladies’ models. There’s also the Marine Royale: a diver model complete with a unidirectional rotating bezel, water resistance to 300m, and a rubber strap.
Introduced in 1997, the Kirium was a watch that was symbolically significant to TAG Heuer. Since TAG Heuer was freshly independent, it was looking for a hit with their next launch to confirm the company’s relevance in the new era. So they turned to Jorg Hysek, and the Kirium was born.
Tasked to be a more modern interpretation of the preceding TAG Heuer 4000 series, the Kirium was sleek and versatile. Constructed as one solid shape with an integrated bracelet rather than separate pieces put together, TAG Heuer played up the watch’s “liquid metal” style. It produced the Kirium until 2008. During its lifetime, there were many versions including automatic, quartz, men’s and ladies’ models, and it did indeed become the hit TAG Heuer needed.
In the 1990s, Tiffany & Co. debuted the Streamerica line as a tribute to the American industrial design aesthetic of the 1930s. In addition to jewelry, pocket knives, and key chains, Tiffany & Co. also launched a collection of Streamerica watches. Behind the design? None other than Jorg Hysek. You can clearly see some of his hallmarks on this particular watch. The bracelet style, the larger domed winding crown, and the watch’s sporty flair are characteristic of Hysek’s designs. Furthermore, the abundance of rivets on the case, bezel, and bracelet is a distinct style of the Streamerica.
While the Streamerica watch came in several different versions, including steel or gold cases as well as metal bracelets or leather straps, not that many were made. As a result, they’re quite hard to find in the secondary market.
Aside from designing for top watch brands, Jorg Hysek also launched his own eponymous brand of watches. Although he eventually left that company, it continues to make watches and pens under the Hysek name. Never one to sit still, he teamed up with other prominent watch designers to create cutting-edge HD3 Complication timepieces. Also, it’s worth noting that Hysek Designs recently rolled out an Instagram account, so perhaps the designer has something up his sleeve.
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