Vacheron Constantin from the Swiss watch industry's well-established brands was among the major players of the industry that came up with a completely new product line, the FiftySix Collection that is inspired by the Ref. 6073 model of 1956, at the SIHH 2018. The famous brand is the guest of our pages once again with the FiftySix Day-Date Ref. 4400E/000A-B437 model which attracts attention with its relatively affordable price and useful calendar functions.
While I and Serdar shared our impressions at the Baselworld last year, we talked about the brands introducing models for certain price groups which were obviously not their usual price ranges. We have also added that entry-level and mid-range brands are looking for a different place in the market with top-notch products equipped with in-house movements or soft complications, while luxury segment brands are trying to lower their entry-level price ranges further by launching relatively affordable models. Well, I think the Vacheron Constantin FiftySix is exactly the right collection for the second one as the basic three-hand automatic model in the collection costs almost half the price of the lowest priced model in the Overseas Collection.
What would be the result if a brand that has become more like a benchmark in luxury watchmaking since it was founded makes an entry level product? Let's search for the answer to this question in the Day-Date Ref. 4400E/000A-B437model in the new FiftySix Collection.
The new collection is inspired by the Ref. 6073 model that has been launched by the brand in 1956. The FiftySix Collection, which is predominantly designed with retro touches in terms of concept, offers detail that overlap with the Vacheron Constantin identity matching the standards that represent the point where the brand has come technologically. There are three different versions in the collection. Here we have the FiftySix Day-Date Ref. 4400E/000A-B437 model from the collection which also includes a basic three-hander and a Complete Calendar version as well.
All models in the FiftySix Collection are offered in two different materials as stainless steel and 18K pink gold. The version we chose is the stainless steel one, which I think reflects the entry level feature better.
The new model comes in a stainless steel case with measuring 40mm in diameter and 11.6mm in height. Although the case design is generally retro-inspired, it is clearly not a Heritage model especially with its strong lugs and 40mm diameter. The slightly oversized winding crown, which rests slightly buried to the case, adds a sporty touch.
The case that is equipped with scratch resistant sapphire crystals on both sides is water resistant to 30 meters -a standard value for most dress watches. Offering a bolder look with its Box Type sapphire crystal on the front side, the case makes no compromise on Vacheron Constantin’s superior quality and craftsmanship.
It is possible to see the traces of the retro inspiration on the model's dial. The hour markers are designed in big Arabic numerals and baton shape. All made of white gold, the markers add the dial a three-dimensional look thanks to their raised (appliqué) design. The hour marker on 6 o’clock features an “open six” figure which is easily noticeable by the vintage watch admirers like me. The Bi-Compax laid out dial sports a pair of sub-counters. The one at 3 o’clock displays the date function while the one at 3 is used for reading the day function. There is also a quarter shaped power reserve indicator located at 6 o’clock.
Vacheron Constantin, who has been exceptionally successful at placing much more complications in such a limited space, has designed a stylish and unobtrusive dial the FiftySix Day-Date model as expected.
The new model is powered by the brand’s in-house movement Caliber 2475 SC/2 which is hardly ever entry level. The movement is based on the Caliber 2460 which is now well over a decade old at the brand’s product line. As with every caliber produced by the brand, the Geneva Seal certified movement is manufactured with the finest details of Vacheron Constantine principles. 27 jewels movement beats at 4Hz (28800vph) and offers a power reserve of 40 hours when fully wound. The movement, which attracts attention with its perforated oscillating rotor made of 22K solid gold, can be enjoyed through the sapphire crystal display caseback.
Vacheron Constantin FiftySix Day-Date Ref. 4400E / 000A-B437 comes on a black alligator skin strap that is secured by a stainless steel folding clasp shaped like the brand’s symbol Maltese cross.
The US list price of the model we have here is US$ 17400.00. It is possible to say that this price, which is definitely a great deal of money, is a very entry level figure considering the average Vacheron Constantin prices. Let me add that there is also an 18K pink gold version of this model which retails for US$ 32500.00 (US list).