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The Vacheron Constantin FIFTYSIX Collection #SIHH2018

26 February 2018

By Peter Vossner

With its newly-unveiled FIFTYSIX® collection, Vacheron Constantin has added a new chapter to its long history, 263 years since its creation in 1755 in fact.

Geneva's oldest watch Manufacture has taken inspiration from a historical timepiece dating from 1956 (reference 6073), during a time that was the golden age of round timepieces, and with it, rolled out three 40mm diameter models available in various steel or gold versions:

  • Date
  • Day of the week, date, power-reserve indicator
  • Complete calendar with precision moon phase

The role that reference 6073 had in Vacheron Constantin’s history is not insignificant - It was one of the first watches from the Manufacture to be equipped with a self-winding (automatic) movement. The Calibre 1019/1 inside was precise and reliable, compared to most other models on the market that were still driven by manual-winding mechanisms. Back then, it also boasted boasted a water-resistant construction, using with a multi-sided caseback.

The new FIFTYSIX® collection features several of the defining characteristics from its 1950s predecessor. Firstly, its lugs are inspired by the branches of the Maltese cross.

Secondly, it retains the distinctive shape of the box-type crystal rising well above the bezel. Plexiglas or mineral glass was used before, but now has been replaced by sapphire, a far more scratch-resistant material.

Inside, all the versions of the FIFTYSIX® collection, including those with complications, are powered by a self-winding movement, with a new calibre for the three-hand variation. A transparent caseback provides an unobstructed view of the beauty inside: the movement finishing – Côtes de Genève, circular graining and snailing – as well as the new oscillating weight designed by Vacheron Constantin for this collection.

This polished and satin-brushed 22 carats open-worked rotor, bearing a Maltese Cross applique and a frosted-snailed finish, represents a signature feature across all three models.

For the first time, the Maison is offering a classic collection both in gold, and in steel. However white gold hands and appliques remain even in the steel versions.

One of the collection’s distinguishing characteristics lies in the appearance of its sector-type dial. While the chapter ring, punctuated by alternating Arabic numerals and baton-type hour-markers, channels its 1950s inspiration, the presence on the surface of two subtle tones achieved by finishing effects lends an additional touch of elegance and sophistication.

Where the FIFTYSIX differs is its crown is recessed into the case, a contrast with its 1956 predecessor, which took a more classic approach to this specific detail.

Inspired by the past but looking every bit in place for these modern times, the retro-contemporary FIFTYSIX collection is befitting for cosmopolitan gentleman and watch enthusiasts alike.

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