Rumours were already circulating before the SIHH 2018 about a new “entry-level” watch line from Vacheron Constantin. Entry in Vacheron’s terms is of course somewhat different from many other players on the market. It’s true for the price, but also for the appearance and quality you get in return. We went on a date with the new FIFTYSIX® collection in Geneva.
In short, the FIFTYSIX® line, the grandson of a reference the manufacture presented in 1956, comprises of three 40mm diameter self-winding models in various steel and gold versions. The simplest is with a date function, there’s also a day-date model with day of the week, date and power-reserve indicators and the highlight is a model with complete calendar and moon phase display. Prices vary from EUR 12,700 – 38,900 (including taxes).
The 50’s were a fertile period for Vacheron when interesting designs were born: like the curved square timepiece (4737, which was nicknamed by the Italian collectors as “Cioccolatone”) in 1952, the Aronde wristwatch with domed glass in 1954 or the ultra-thin wristwatch from 1954.
The inspiration behind the new FIFTYSIX® line is also connected to this era. The novelties bear the design features of the Reference 6073 – an elegant but slightly bold watch at that time, with a water-resistant case construction and a self-winding movement, the Calibre 1019. See a piece just down here or a similar one here.
The new design reinterprets the aesthetic codes of the brand in a contemporary style. In 1880, Vacheron Constantin officially registered the Maltese cross as a trademark of the company at the Swiss Federal Trademarks Office in Bern. Ever since, the cross has been an important motif for the Manufacture. The branches of the Maltese cross are now echoed by the lugs of the FIFTYSIX® models.
The sector-type dial is a strong factor in their overall appearance. The chapter ring is punctuated by alternating Arabic numerals and baton-type hour-markers. Two different finishing effects are used on the two sectors: a silvered opaline centre and a sunburst exterior.
The FIFTYSIX® Self-winding is powered by the new Calibre 1326, which features many characteristic elements such as the 22k gold open-worked Maltese cross-shaped oscillating weight and the precise finishing with Côtes de Genève on the plates, circular graining and snailing.
The day of the week indication and the date are in separate sub-dials on the FIFTYSIX® Day-date. The power-reserve hand travels on a quarter circle that represents the 40 hours running time. Calibre 2475 SC/2 is inside.
The FIFTYSIX® Complete Calendar model is the collection’s highlight. The Calibre 2460 QCL/1 provides a moon-phase indication, which requires adjustment only once every 122 years. The day and month are in small rectangular apertures and the day is pointed by a hand at the circumference.
Vacheron Constantin made the positioning rather clear by dipping the FIFTYSIX® collection into the trending rakish gentlemen style. In the new advertisement a few digital influencers (Wei Koh from Revolution, Alexander Friedmann from Watchonista, Brian Sacawa from He Spoke Style, Fabio Attanasio from The Bespoke Dudes, Yoshimasa Hoshiba, Anish Bhatt from Watchanish and Mr. Kira) roam around London’s street’s and clubs.
The sophisticated new gears fit into this easy milieu very well. For all the gentlemen out there with style and (hopefully) good manners.
Photo credits: Loupiosity.com.
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