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Vacheron Constantin holds on to classical watchmaking with its new FIFTYSIX collection

Vacheron Constantin holds on to classical watchmaking with its new FIFTYSIX collection

vacheron constantin fiftysix complete calendar moonphase

Whereas many brands of traditional mechanical watchmaking try to adopt new smart technology approaches, the renowned Maison Vacheron Constantin holds on to classical values. At SIHH 2018 Geneva’s oldest watch Manufacture (established 1755) introduces three new timepieces called FIFTYSIX and inspired by Vacheron Constantin’s important and iconic watch from 1956.

The Vacheron Constantin 6073 – An icon of the 1950s

Just like this watch with Reference 6073 stood for a contemporary masculine timepiece for every occasion, todays collection FIFTYSIX has been designed to reflect these same attributes. One important feature of the watch is the Maltese Cross, which is the brand’s logo that Vacheron Constantin patented in 1880.

Why the Manufacture choose this symbol is not verified – however some say it was inspired by the shape of a component formerly found in mechanical movements which enhanced the precision of the watch, others say it emerged from the Maltese Cross in form of an award received for special achievements. The Maltese Cross logo is still visible on the dials today and within the FIFTYSIX collection the lugs each represent a branch of the Maltese Cross.

Another special feature of the reference 6073 from 1956 is that it was the first watch from Vacheron Constantin to be equipped with an automatic movement. The calibre 1019/1 stood out for its precision and reliability at a time when most other models were powered by hand-wound mechanisms.

Vacheron Constantin Calibre 1326
(based on Cartier 1904-PS MC)

Vacheron Constantin calibre 2475 SC/2

Vacheron Constantin calibre 2460 QCL/1

Hence all the versions of the FIFTYSIX collection, including those with complications, are equipped with a self-winding movement. However they have now received a little update. The polished and satin-brushed 22 carats openwork rotor, bearing a Maltese Cross applique and a frosted-snailed finish represents a signature feature of all FIFTYSIX models. A transparent caseback permits an open view on all the nicely arranged parts and Côtes de Genève finishing. Côtes de Genève is also referred to in English as Geneva stripes or even Geneva waves and the best known of all the decorations adorning watch movements.

The 1950s were the times for golden and round watches. Now, for the first time ever, Vacheron Constantin offers a classic collection with both, gold and steel case. To give the steel versions a little upgrade, the hands and appliques are made in white gold.

The FIFTYSIX collection presented at the SIHH 2018 includes three models available in different steel or gold versions. The self-winding FIFTYSIX with case in steel or 18-carat 5N red gold (calibre 1326). The FIFTYSIX day-date with power reserve indicator in steel or 18-carat 5N red gold case (calibre 2475 SC/2). And the FIFTYSIX Full Calendar with precision moon phase in steel or 18-carat 5N red gold (calibre 2460 QCL/1) is the highlight of the collection.

Thanks to its high precision, the moon phase function only needs to be adjusted once every 122 years. In comparison to conventional moon phases, which have to be adjusted every three years, this is a masterpiece of design. All watches come with an alligator leather strap and a calfskin inner shell.