Being a watch lover has its drawbacks, these things are expensive! In the back of your head you always have that unicorn watch which can cost as much a car, not always but if you are going to dream, dream big. For me when I started this hobby, Tag Heuer was the brand to have, I am not talking the whole spectrum of watch enthusiast, but in the 90s if you were under 20 years old a plastic bezel Tag Heuer Formula 1 was the equivalent of having a Patek Philippe Nautilus 5711 today. My dad gave me one for my graduation when I turned 16 and I felt as big and cool as anything, no one notices your watch (even today) but to me it was a big moment and the beginning of a love affair that has last until today. We all know that that first 'decent' watch might take you to a rabbit whole, I am not going to say that I left everything I knew like sports or video games and wanted to become a watch maker but from that moment on a watch has been always on my wrist. To make the story shorter and to the point I was having a routine check with my dentist and a High Life magazine was next to me, on the cover was the most expensive looking watch I've seen at that time (it probably was) and it read: '' Vacheron Constantin: a gentlemen classic '', I rushed to the page where the full article was and it was game over for me, I still don’t know what watch they were talking about ( it was a square one, probably a belong to their traditionelle line) but when they explained the history, the way that all their products were hand finished and that Napoleon used to be a client, I decided right in that spot that was going to buy one, even if there was no price reference in the article. That same weekend I went to the watch shop who changed the battery on my Tag Heuer (yes mine was quartz) and asked him how much a Vacheron Constantin was, I thought he was joking and making fun of me, even after that initial shock and felling deeply sad, I always wanted to experience that moment when you could strap probably one of the best watches/object that can be made. Almost 20 years later, I felt that financially I was close to owning one and last month after selling some of my pieces, move a thing here and there my Vacheron Constantin is here, I managed to acquire a Fifty-Six Date Day which to me is the perfect secret in the Vacheron Constantin catalogue, it was a long intro I know, but hopefully you'll enjoy the review as much as I enjoyed writing it.
Even while I am typing I feel like I want to do justice to the brand and the watch but here we go. The whole watch is very close to perfection, the case, movement and finish, I am not saying this because is my watch, I am saying this because of the features that the Fifty-Six offers at this price point which would be much more expensive if it were not only another Vacheron Constantin line but another watch house. The movement is the in-house Swiss-made calibre 2475 SC/2 and the architecture is stunning, the movement beats at 4 hertz with 40 hours of power reserve. When you turn the watch around you are greeted by a 18K gold rotor, in here you can really appreciate bevelled edges finished to perfection and having that Geneva Hallmark on the movement and also the case is incredible. Regarding the dial, you don’t need me to tell you that in the watch world sector dials are the coolest way to make a watch look vintage but modern at the same time, this is what Vacheron Constantin achieved with the Fifty- Six, the watch feels modern but an instant classic at the same time, the face is governed by 2 sub dials set on a bi compax layout indicating day and date, at 6:30 we can find the power reserve which throws away the symmetry of the dial making it look less robotic and more artistic and of course the Maltese cross at 12 with the Vacheron Constantin and Geneve below. The watch has quite a bit going on, is not easy to have the days of the month plus all the days of the week in a 40mm case but the dial looks as clean and sharp as anything, all markers and hands of course are white gold with applied lume (thank you Vacheron for this feature).
On the wrist:
We already talked about the movement and finish of the Fifty-Six but the real unsung hero of the whole package is the case, the lugs slope down even further that the back of the case giving you that perfect wear felling, the case continues the Maltese Cross motif on the edges of the bezel making the watch look more planted and sophisticated and the crown recess perfectly on the right side looking like an integral part of the case, no need for un elegant crown guards. The watch is under 10mm thick which makes it perfect for an everyday watch and comes on a beautiful black leather strap with a deployment clasp that looks and feels luxurious for those evenings when something special is about to happen.
The Vario Strap:
Given that it took me so long to add this Vacheron Constantin to my collection, I was planning on wearing it, the movement and case proportion scream for a watch that can be worn all day everyday (plus the date day complication of course) so paired with the versatility of the grey dial I wanted to add simple pin strap that would match a more casual look and easier to pull for every occasion. As being a grail, I did not wanted to have the watch with bad quality strap so to keep the level up a brown mocha leather strap would break the monochrome look and give a lively tone to what I already consider a keeper. But wait, grey is a perfect colour and makes this watch a strap monster, so here are some beautiful shots with many straps that would look amazing.
It does sound like a cliché but people say do not meet your heroes, in my case having this watch in my collection was even better than I expected. When I met the folks from Vacheron Constantin at Salon QP last year they were the most welcoming people of the event, I was there thinking that because of the price tag of some of the pieces I wasn’t going to get a chance of spending time with them, on the contrary as soon as I approached the bench their enthusiasm was contagious and very proud to show what they believe is a master piece, to me this really seals the deal on a brand and a watch, if the people behind it are arrogant or elitist it really rubs you the wrong way, but because of the heritage, design and attitude of the I am thankfully sitting here with a small piece of history on my wrist.
Written by Robbie
Any views or opinions represented in this blog are personal and belong solely to the author and do not represent those of people, institutions or organizations that the owner may or may not be associated with in professional or personal capacity, unless explicitly stated.
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