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Vacheron Constantin Fiftysix Tourbillon: Where Old Meets New

Throwback to January of this year. Vacheron Constantin introduced its Fiftysix collection which paid direct tribute to the reference 6703, a watch that, in its heydays of the 1950s, was a pretty cool piece. Fast forward to the September of 2018, and Vacheron Constantin have decided to pump what was a very subdued timepiece with a bit of oomph. And the end result? Let’s see…

Aesthetics. At 41mm in diameter and 10.9mm in thickness, the 18k pink gold case is still quite restrained. This is, of course, an understated timepiece. Strictly speaking, the Fiftysix is a dress watch. And as such, the case will work to reflect the watches’ underlying purpose. Good or bad, not sure yet. Let’s continue on.

The dial has a silvered opaline colour to it, and it features 18k pink gold Arabic numerals and hour markers. The hour markers have a touch of differentiation to them with thanks to the highlighting from some blue luminescent material. Here we see Vacheron taking a more modern, more practical tact. Sure, you could wear the Fiftysix solely as a dress watch, but now we’re seeing some more tenets of functionality from Vacheron. At 6 o’clock there is a gaping hole in the dial, filled with the immense tourbillon and the infamous Maltese cross.

Dial fits the case, both physically and proverbially. The colour combination of warm golds and cool silvers suits the persona of the Fiftysix Tourbillon really quite well. Would Vacheron’s latest and greatest have been better suited with a different dial/case colour combination? Unlikely, but I’m sure we’re going to see a few more variants of the Fiftysix Tourbillon in the coming months.

Turn the Fiftysix Tourbillon over, and through the open sapphire caseback you get a full view of the impeccable Calibre 2160. In case you didn’t know, the Calibre 2160 is a fully automatic mechanism with a very respectable 80-hour power reserve. But where’s the rotor? Vacheron have ingeniously integrated a 22k gold peripheral rotor, ensuring an unobscured view of the Geneva Hallmark certified Calibre 2160. Side note: this is one of my favourite, if not my favourite, automatically powered tourbillon mechanisms, ever.

As you may have realised by now, I’m more impressed with the movement than I am with the looks. The Calibre 2160, as we all know, powers the much more appealing Patrimony Traditionnelle Tourbillon. So, what does that mean, exactly? Difficult to say without actually handling the watch. But I’m going to go with my gut on this one. Despite its insanely incredible movement, I feel like the Fiftysix Tourbillon is a bit of a miss. I feel like it lacks direction, overall purpose and it’s an attempt from Vacheron to reinvigorate a collection that in itself doesn’t seem all that appealing.

The Vacheron Constantin Fiftysix Tourbillon is priced at $113,000USD (or about $155,000AUD) and will be available exclusively from Vacheron Constantin boutiques from April of 2019.


Movement: 5/5

Aesthetics: 3/5

Wearability: 2/5

Affordability: 1/5


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