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Introducing The Vacheron Constantin Fiftysix Tourbillon (Live Pics & Pricing)

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The Fiftysix Collection launched at this year's SIHH with the mission of bringing to Vacheron Constantin's lineup, some of the mid-20th century swing that characterized some of the company's most interesting work from the 1950s. In particular, the Fiftysix Collection takes its inspiration from Vacheron Constantin's ref. 6073, which had very distinctive faceted lugs that have been reproduced in the new Fiftysix models. Now, Vacheron's taken one of its most interesting movements and placed it in a Fiftysix case – that movement is the caliber 2160, which is a self-winding tourbillon movement with a peripheral winding rotor, and which was first introduced in the Patrimony Traditionnelle Tourbillon earlier this year.

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Initial Thoughts
The addition of a tourbillon to the Fiftysix Collection came as something of a surprise, as the collection overall seemed to have, at least at launch, a somewhat more approachable feel that seems a bit at odds with the elevated aura of the tourbillon. Details like the Arabic numerals, sector dial, and luminous hands and dial markers were certainly a departure from the presentation of the tourbillon in Vacheron's other collections, where Breguet's invention is generally either wedded with one or more of the traditional high complications, or when presented on its own, handled in an unswervingly classical fashion.

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However, I think that's probably the whole point of offering a tourbillon in the Fiftysix Collection – it's a way for Vacheron to show off the versatility of the basic design, as well as to offer a tourbillon in a design that's a bit more in line with the company's history of, after World War II, producing wristwatches with design-forward elements that deviated from some of the strict classic codes of Swiss fine watchmaking. 

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It's a fairly daring move, but an interesting one – Vacheron Constantin can certainly produce a picture-perfect example of a classically designed tourbillon if it has a mind to do so (just check out Jon Bues's in-depth coverage of the Patrimony Traditionnelle Tourbillon for an example)  but putting its two main competencies together – extremely traditional high-end watchmaking, and style-oriented design – is something that it's done seldom if at all in recent years, and I think this watch represents an attempt on the part of Vacheron to synthesize those two aspects of the company in a single watch.

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P8070057.jpg?ixlib=rails-1.1.0&auto=formTechnically, the Fiftysix Tourbillon has all the interest of the Patrimony Traditionnelle Tourbillon – peripheral rotor automatic winding systems remain a relative rarity in modern watchmaking, and of course in the context of a watch with high end movement finishing as part of its value proposition, the system, in addition to its technical attractions, allows the owner an unimpeded view of the movement. The Fiftysix Tourbillon represents both a redefinition and repositioning of the Fiftysix Collection – which is now being proposed as a vehicle with potential for the presentation of high complications as well – and for Vacheron, a new strategy for presenting a tourbillon.

The Basics
Brand: Vacheron Constantin
Model: Fiftysix Tourbillon
Reference Number:  6000E/000R-B488


Diameter: 41mm 
Thickness: 10.9mm
Case Material: 5N pink gold
Dial Color: Silvered opaline
Indexes: Pink gold Arabic numerals
Lume: Yes, on hands and hour markers
Water Resistance: 30 meters
Strap/Bracelet: Brown alligator strap with pink gold deployant buckle 

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The Movement
Caliber: In-House Caliber 2160
Functions: Hours, minutes
Diameter: 31mm
Thickness: 5.65mm
Power Reserve: 80 hours
Winding: Automatic with 22k gold peripheral oscillating mass
Frequency: 2.5 Hz (18,000 vph)
Jewels: 33
Additional Details: Watch carries the Geneva Hallmark for quality

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Pricing & Availability
Price: $113,000
Availability: Spring 2019 at Vacheron Constantin boutiques

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