Vacheron Constantin FiftySix Review
A new point of entry to owning a whole different class of luxury watches from one of the most respected names in the business.
Vacheron Constantin FiftySix Review
Vacheron Constantin is one of the oldest, wisest and most revered names in the business. No other brand has operated continuously for as long as they have, nor can many watchmakers claim to have the same level of skill in high horology. Today we will explore a watch series that was created to give a new point of entry into the mystique of this extraordinary watchmaker’s timepieces. Join us as we unveil the Vacheron Constantin FiftySix collection in this detailed and insightful review.
Most youngsters who are developing their appreciation for fine watchmaking can appreciate the richness of a watch from a brand like Vacheron Constantin. As one of the “Big Three” watchmakers it represents a certain status and reflects a level of achievement in one’s collection to own one.
For most watch lovers, the price of any Vacheron watch, even an entry-level such as the Patrimony would be considered steeper than most other brands. However, it seems like the directors at Vacheron decided to open a small door to allow more people into the otherwise very exclusive club.
Enter the FiftySix Automatic in stainless steel with an MSRP of under $11k. It’s the only current collection (aside from the cushion-shaped Quai de L’Ile collection which retails for $15k+) that uses mixed numeral and index hour markers.
This modern-day vintage-inspired timepiece has a classic look that combines a smoothly polished elegantly shaped case and lugs with gentle curves. Designed with two different chapter rings, one on the inner dial and another around the perimeter of the dial and both with railroad-style minutes and seconds track. A small, single disc date window sits comfortably at the 3 o’clock position.
A finely brushed sunray dial radiates outwards from the inner chapter ring to the ribbed outer seconds' track on the dial. This leaves a matte finished sector dial in the center. Polished numerals are used for the 12, 2, 4, 6, 8, and 10 o’clock positions with luminous index hour markers for the in-between positions. The luminous pencil-shaped hands are made of polished white gold making this stainless-steel watch even more appealing.
While this series has numerous watches with more complications, for now, we’ll focus on an entry-level model such as reference number 4600e/000a-b487 which has a lovely blue dial. This model comes on a matching blue alligator leather strap with a push-button deployant (folding) buckle. The clasp is designed to look like half of the heraldic Maltese cross, the same cross that Vacheron Constantin uses in their logo on the upper half of the sector dial.
The back of the case of Vacheron Constantin's 40mm FiftySix self-winding watch reveals a splendidly finished caliber, the 25-jewel, in-house Vacheron Constantin caliber 1326. This is a self-winding 4Hz movement which beats at 28,800 vibrations per hour, it has a power reserve of 48hours +/- and features a beautifully finished 22k solid gold rotor.
The band is made of high quality and sturdy alligator leather with blue stitching. For added comfort, it has a softer light brown calfskin leather on the interior of the band where the strap meets your skin.
Will this ever become an icon of any sort? Who knows? Vacheron’s marketing team is certainly making claims that it is a vintage-inspired recreation of an iconic watch. How much of that is marketing hype? That is up to you to decide. Nobody in the watch community remembers the icon they are referring to which kind of defeats the purpose of calling it iconic. However, this is the kind of watch that is not overpriced in any way. In fact, compared to any other Vacheron Constantin watch it’s probably underpriced.
The bottom line is that the quality is definitely there, and without a question, the craftsmanship you’ve come to expect from a Vacheron Constantin watch is also present. In the end, this series offers tremendous value at a lower than expected price point. It’s certainly not their flagship watch but it’s a nice timepiece with a timeless design from a highly respected brand at a very competitive price.
Use the button and links below to explore this collection.
This is the most affordable series within the FiftySix collection and features a three-hand watch and a date window. The different models within this series either feature a variation of the case material, the dial color, or the color and type of strap/bracelet.
Models within this series include:
- 4600e/000a-b442 – This model features a stainless-steel case. It has a silver dial and comes on a black alligator leather strap.
- 4600e/000a-b487 – This model is the one depicted in this article. It features a stainless-steel case. It has a blue dial and comes on a blue alligator leather strap with blue stitching.
- 4600e/110a-b487 - This model is very similar to the one depicted in this article. It features a stainless-steel case. It has a blue dial but comes on a brushed and polished stainless-steel bracelet instead of a leather strap.
- 4600e/000r-b441 – This model features an 18kt rose gold case. It has a silver dial and comes on a brown alligator leather strap.
Other series within the Vacheron Constantin FiftySix collection includes more complicated versions:
This series offers a Day-Date feature that is displayed on two sub-dials, with a date sub-register at the 3 o’clock position and a month sub-dial at the 9 o’clock position. It also features a power reserve at the 6 o’clock position. This series has a busier look than the model featured here that only has a small date window on the right side of the dial but looks nonetheless classic.
The Vacheron Constantin FiftySix Day-Date runs on a different movement than the standard FiftySix. The Day-Date model is powered by a Vacheron Constantin 2475 SC/2. Like the more affordable model, this in-house movement is an automatic caliber that beats at 28,800 VpH. It contains 27 watch jewels and has an approximate power reserve of 40 hours +/-.
Models in this series include:
- 4400e/000a-b437 - This watch features a stainless-steel case. It has a silver dial and comes on a black alligator leather strap.
- 4400e/000r-b436 - This watch features 18kt rose gold case. It has a silver dial and comes on a brown alligator leather strap.
The FiftySix Complete Calendar has a cleaner look than the aforementioned FiftySix Day-Date but a slightly more happening look than the standard FiftySix which only features a date aperture on the right-hand side of the dial. This series has two windows at the 12 o’clock position just beneath the Vacheron Constantin logo. It features a blue hand to indicate the day of the month and a moon phase window at the 6 o’clock position.
The outer chapter ring is not present on this series since it uses a hand to indicate the date which is printed in a sans-serif typeface along the perimeter of the dial where the seconds' track normally is.
This series runs on an in-house Vacheron Constantin caliber 260 QCL/1 automatic movement which beats at 28,800 VpH, contains 27 jewels and has a power reserve of approximately 40 hours +/-.
Models in this series include:
- 4000e/000a-b439 - This watch features a stainless-steel case. It has a silver dial and comes on a black alligator leather strap.
- 4000e/000r-b438 - This watch features an 18kt rose gold case. It has a silver dial and comes on a brown alligator leather strap.
- 4000e/000a-b548 - This watch features a stainless-steel case. It has a blue dial and comes on a blue alligator leather strap.