When you think about Vacheron, you usually have in mind complex watches, Haute-Horlogerie, rare handcrafts and a unique sense of precious elegance. Not a single word of which relates to the notion of affordability. However, the deal is about to change. Indeed, the brand has developed a whole new strategy (which it already began implementing with the Quai de L’Ile in steel), by introducing an entry-level collection, the Vacheron Constantin FIFTYSIX. New movements, some even without the costly Hallmark of Geneva, new design, and a sub-10,000 starting price… Promising? Let’s have a first look.
What is the idea behind this “Vacheron for the masses” (relatively speaking, of course)? The new Vacheron Constantin FIFTYSIX is meant to attract new watch enthusiasts. Understand that by that, we mean younger, less fortunate and maybe less hardcore collectors. To reach that group of customers, VC worked on both a more contemporary design, yet still very Vacheron overall, as well as creating a well-positioned offer price-wise.
What the brand comes with is an entirely new collection, featuring 3 different models: one automatic time-and-date, one day-date power reserve and one complete-calendar. All share a similar style, with a cosmopolitan design that is both contemporary and historically inspired – slightly less formal than other VC collections. The design is based on a model the brand introduced back in 1956 (hence the name of the collection), which can be easily seen in the typical shape of the case – highly modified and modernized though.
An example of the Vacheron Constantin ref. 6073 – circa 1956
As often with Vacheron, the Ref. 6073 is a mix of highly traditional elements (dial and hands, round central case) with interesting and bold design elements (for example the lugs, with each representing a branch of the Maltese cross). The new Vacheron Constantin FIFTYSIX revives some of the elements of this historical model, especially the overall shape of the case, here also mixed with a classic, elegant dial. The lugs, even though much more complex in style than the 1956 model, are here again inspired by the branches of the Maltese cross. A box-type crystal on top of the case also refers to glorious vintage watches.
All editions will be available at the launch of the collection in both 18k pink gold (5N colour) and, most importantly, stainless steel – confirming the “entry-level” idea of this Vacheron Constantin FIFTYSIX collection. The final design code shared by the entire collection: sector-type, two-tone dials. The chapter ring, punctuated by alternating Arabic numerals and baton-type hour-markers, circles a railroad track and is brushed. The centre of the dials is, on the other hand, opaline finished (matte surface).
The Vacheron Constantin FIFTYSIX self-winding
First model in the collection – and the one that can be named “almost accessible” – is the Vacheron Constantin FIFTYSIX self-winding, a classic time-and-date automatic watch. Presented in steel or pink gold, in a 40mm case with a reasonably thin 9.6mm profile, it shows an urban, casual style. The relative nudity of the dial (no complications) is compensated by the raised applied numerals and indexes, as well as the two-tone dial. 3 hands are running, with the addition of a date classically positioned at 3. The steel edition has a grey dial, while the gold version shows a silver dial.
Inside the case ticks a brand new self-winding movement, the in-house Calibre 1326, endowed with a 48-hour power reserve. This is a quite simple movement, with 147 components, and (rare for Vacheron), it doesn’t bear the hallmark of Geneva. Yet, its design and decoration are pleasant, with a 22 carats openworked Maltese cross-shaped oscillating weight, Geneva stripes, circular graining and snailing. This allows the Vacheron Constantin FIFTYSIX self-winding to start just under EUR 10,000 – in steel, it will be priced at EUR 9,960 (before taxes) and in gold, at EUR 16,625 (before taxes). Never seen before at VC…
The Vacheron Constantin FIFTYSIX day-date
The second model of the collection, the Vacheron Constantin FIFTYSIX day-date, adopts a signature display of the brand; a day-date with power reserve layout. Far more complex in terms of the style, it remains 40mm in diameter, with steel and gold options, and two-tone grey or silver dials (depending on the case material). The dial shows HMS in the centre, combined with a pointer date and day of the week, respectively at 3 and 9. This austere symmetry is balanced by a power reserve indicator placed at 6h30.
Inside this FIFTYSIX day-date is a known movement, the automatic calibre 2475. Yet, this model is adorned with the Hallmark of Geneva. This movement ticks at 4Hz and boasts 40h of power reserve. While the finishing and decoration are even more elaborate than the previous version we showed, the same 22k rotor with Maltese Cross can be seen. The steel model will be priced at EUR 14,835 (before taxes) and the gold one at EUR 27,790 (before taxes).
The Vacheron Constantin FIFTYSIX complete calendar
The final model, probably the most desirable version in this new “entry-level” collection, uses a quite hyped display inspired by vintage watches of the brand, a so-called complete- or triple-calendar. The Vacheron Constantin FIFTYSIX complete calendar indeed relies on this association of a date by central hand, two windows for the day of the week and the month at 12 and a moon phase at 6 – as seen on the Historique 1948. Fitted in the same 40mm case as the rest of the collection, it offers a more complex display and a nice balanced, slightly vintage dial.
To power this complete calendar module is the automatic calibre 2460 QCL/1, here again, equipped with a 22k gold rotor with Maltese Cross. The movement is well-known amongst the VC collections and provides a 40h power reserve. The calendar indications remain classical, without annual functions for instance. The movement is perfectly decorated, with the Hallmark of Geneva to guarantee its quality and precision. The Vacheron Constantin FIFTYSIX complete calendar will be priced at EUR 18,500 (before taxes) in steel and EUR 30,625 (before taxes) in gold.
More details on www.vacheron-constantin.com.