Introduced in 2018, the Vacheron Constantin FiftySix collection resurrected a classic, vintage model from 1956, Reference 6073, in a modern interpretation that encompassed both steel- and precious metal-cased models. This year, the 265-year-old Swiss watchmaking manufacture expands the mid-20th-century-influenced series, adding new models with rose-gold cases, sepia-toned brown dials, and calfskin straps.
The new FiftySix models — one a three-hand timekeeper with date, the other a complete calendar — are both housed in 40-mm cases that take cues from the Maltese cross that has long been associated with Vacheron, with each of the curved lugs representing one branch of this 15th-century badge of honor. (The Maltese cross itself became associated with the Genevan manufacture thanks to its resemblance to a small component found in historical mechanical movements that helped regulate the degree of winding and unwinding in order to enhance the watch’s precision.) Directly referencing the original 1956 reference are the the box-type crystals rising high over the bezel, made of modern, scratch-resistant sapphire rather than the plexiglas and mineral glass used for the historical models, and the sector-type dials, with alternating Arabic numerals and baton hour markers in their chapter rings, enhanced with two separate, subtle tones to their finishing. The recessed winding crown, which lends the case a more elegant, streamlined profile, is one of the few departures from the 1956 design.
The FiftySix Self-Winding model is equipped with the manufacture Caliber 1326, which debuted in the first round of FiftySix models and stores a 48-hour power reserve. It includes a stop-seconds device for easy re-setting. and an openworked rotor, made of 22k gold with a frosted and snailed finish, which evokes the shape of the Maltese cross. Visible through a sapphire caseback, its array of other haute horlogerie finishes include côtes de Genève, circular graining and snailing.
The FiftySix Complete Calendar contains the in-house Caliber 2460 QCL/1, the same movement used in last year’s platinum-cased Traditionnelle Complete Calendar, which boasts a Hallmark of Geneva certification. The elegantly arranged dial displays the month and day of the week in two rectangular apertures at 12 o’clock, the date by a central blued pointer hand on a 31-day scale, and the moon-phase in a semicircular window at 6 o’clock. The moon-phase is more complex and accurate than most, requiring adjustment only once every 122 years, as opposed to the typical three-year interval. Gold is used for the Arabic numerals, hour markers, and hands, as well as for the moon disk. Like the FiftySix Self-Winding model, the Complete Calendar is mounted on a dial-matching brown calfskin leather strap (the 2018 models were on dressier, alligator leather straps with calfksin inner shells) with contrasting beige stitching.
Prices are $18,700 for the FiftySix Self-Winding and $33,700 for the FiftySix Complete Calendar.