Vacheron Constantin is heralding a new chapter in its history with its FIFTYSIX® collection which is inspired by a historical Vacheron Constantin watch dating from 1956, the reference 6073. Its design expresses the particularly abundant creativity displayed by Vacheron Constantin during the 1950s. This timepiece is distinguished by its shape – and notably its lugs, each representing a branch of the Maltese cross which has become an emblem of the Manufacture. The originality of reference 6073, as indeed of all 1950s Vacheron Constantin models, also stems from the contrast between the classicism of its dial and the bold design of its case.
The lasting impact that reference 6073 was to have on Vacheron Constantin’s history also stemmed from its stature as one of the first watches from the Manufacture to be equipped with a self-winding movement, Calibre 1019/1. Lastly, this model has a special place within the Vacheron Constantin heritage: the case of the 6073 boasted a water-resistant construction (with a multi-sided caseback).
The FIFTYSIX® collection presented at the SIHH 2018 comprises three 40 mm diameter models available in various steel or gold versions:
• FIFTYSIX® self-winding
• FIFTYSIX® day-date with power-reserve indicator
• FIFTYSIX® complete calendar with precision moon phase
There is a definite sense of kinship – in spirit as well as in substance – between the 6073 model presented in 1956 and the FIFTYSIX® collection introduced in 2018. A number of 1950s characteristics are incorporated into this contemporary heir.
The Maltese cross is inspired by the shape of a component formerly found in mechanical movements. A small wheel connected to the barrel of the cover which made it possible to use the most constant section of the spring by regulating its degree of winding and unwinding, in order to enhance the precision of the watch.
Today, the Maltese cross has become the very symbol of horological excellence. It is echoed by the design of the FIFTYSIX® watches, since the lugs of their cases are inspired by the branches of the Maltese cross.
The golden choice omits the bracelet completely in favour of a brownish leather and rubber strap. A tool-free fitting system enables the wearer to switch between strap options with ease, providing on-the-go style flexibility. The hour markers, hour , and minute hands are made of 18K white gold to the steel-cased variations, or a matching 18K pink gold for the gold-cased version.With an instance dimensions of 41mm by 12.8mm, the more Vacheron Constantin Overseas Double Time is stylistically versatile yet contemporary in percentage, and ought to occupy that sweet place of sense substantial on the wrist without wearing too large. The case is water-resistant to 15 bar (or roughly 150m), making it suitable for sporting during most water sports, although this isn’t a diving watch and isn’t designed for wearing a wetsuit. A gentle iron casing ring round the motion also provides enhanced magnetic resistance, but unlike the typical Faraday Cage, it allows for viewing the movement via the sapphire exhibition caseback.The high water resistance together with soft iron casing ring make this a somewhat durable timepiece, particularly the steel cased variations, which is quite uncommon from high-end watchmakers such as VC. Lots of Vacheron Constantin’s peers tend to generate beautiful yet fragile works of wrist artwork, which I can’t help but believe shackle their owners into sporting their watches quite carefully, or worse, maintaining them in the safe because of fear of damaging them. A wristwatch is meant to be wornout, along with the Vacheron Constantin Overseas Dual Time is one of those rare pieces that combines beauty and pedigree with a certain nonchalance regarding the lifestyle of its wearer.
FIFTYSIX® self-winding © Vacheron Constantin
Another bridge between the past and the present can be seen in the distinctive shape of the box-type crystal rising well above the bezel. Historically made from Plexiglas or mineral glass, it is now in sapphire.
Both in tribute to the self-winding movement of the 6073 and for the wearer’s convenience, 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 a chance to admire 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 openworked rotor, bearing a Maltese Cross applique and a frosted-snailed finish, represents a signature feature of all FIFTYSIX® models.
FIFTYSIX® day-date with power-reserve indicator © Vacheron Constantin
Gold and steel
For the first time in its history, the Maison has decided to offer a classic collection both in gold and in steel, while treating the latter material with the same high aesthetic standards as the precious metal.
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. The play of light across the dial gives it depth and a stronger personality.
It is by reinterpreting its own roots that the FIFTYSIX® collection achieves a distinctive style by adopting a crown recessed into the case, thereby setting it apart from its 1956 predecessor, which took a more classic approach to this specific detail.
FIFTYSIX® complete calendar © Vacheron Constatin