A new watch collection from Vacheron Constantin riffs on a vintage classic.
Nineteen fifty-six was a vintage year for design and pop culture. The gorgeous Aston Martin DBR1 racing car made its debut in Britain’s showrooms, Miles Davis recorded his jazz classic Round About Midnight, Aldous Huxley’s visionary sci-fi work Brave New World hit the bookstores and Alexander Calder unveiled a kinetic art piece titled ‘Red Mobile’. Meanwhile, deep in the Vallée de Joux in Switzerland’s Jura mountains, Vacheron Constantin’s watchmakers were busy creating horological eminence with their own 1956 classic. The first timepiece from the venerable 263-year-old Swiss manufacture to be equipped with an automatic, self-winding movement (at a time when most other models were driven by manual-winding mechanisms) the Vacheron Constantin 6073 dress watch, designed in 1956, had a water-resistant construction and a distinctively crafted case with integrated lugs that resembled the arms of a Maltese cross.
‘We wanted to play on a kind of “vintage contemporary” theme – something very modern… with a touch of vintage watch for everyday.’ –
Fast-forward to 2018 and the innovative 6073, along with the smoothly played, jazz aesthetic of the 1950s, has provided the creative spark for Vacheron Constantin’s new FiftySix collection. With a pink gold or stainless steel case, clean and lucid baton-Arabic numeral index and alligator strap, the FiftySix Complete Calendar is the epitome of retro-modern statement. Flip it over to reveal a transparent case-back and a chance to admire the movement’s finishing – Côtes de Genève, circular graining and snailing – as well as the new oscillating weight designed by Vacheron Constantin specially for this collection. A polished and satin-brushed, 22 carats open-worked rotor, with a frosted-snailed finish and a Maltese Cross applique, are signature features of all FiftySix models. ‘The FiftySix is certainly not a replica or a redesign of a watch from the 1950s,’ says Vacheron Constantin’s style and heritage director, Christian Selmoni. ‘1956 is a source for inspiration. We wanted to play on a kind of “vintage contemporary” theme – something very modern… with a touch of vintage watch for everyday. A watch that is elegant but not too classical. A useful, robust watch… that is not a “sports watch”.’ ‘Cool’, as Miles Davis used to say. §