For any fan of Sixties music culture, Abbey Road is not just a name, it’s a legend. It’s the street that baptised the Beatles’ final album. And it’s on this very road, at number three, that the Fab Four made virtually all their recordings between 1962 and 1969, at the EMI Studios – now known to the world as the Abbey Road studios. All the great names in British pop have come through the studio’s doors, from Pink Floyd to the Rolling Stones, Radiohead and Oasis. Famous film scores have been set down here, including The Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter and Raiders of the Lost Ark. Vacheron Constantin couldn’t have imagined a more fitting venue for the international launch of its Fiftysix® collection. First unveiled in January at Geneva’s Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie (SIHH), this new range takes its cue from a design that goes back to the years when rock n’ roll was all the rage.
The launch of the collection coincided with the announcement of a partnership between the watchmaker and Abbey Road Studios. “Everyone can experience the emotion that comes from listening to music, and also from our watches,” commented Chief Executive Louis Ferla. “We couldn’t have imagined a more apposite partner than Abbey Road Studios to accentuate our presence in the world of music. Our collaboration opens up infinite creative possibilities.” News of the partnership comes hot on the heels of the brand’s latest communications campaign, “One of not Many”. In fact two of the faces of the campaign – James Bay and Benjamin Clementine – are musicians, and both are associated with the brand’s latest collection.
An extra-thin tourbillon
And so all eyes were on the Fiftysix® range, on this day dedicated to hitting the right note, musically and mechanically. Of course, no-one comes to a party empty-handed, hence Vacheron Constantin took advantage of the occasion to present an addition to the range and a new complication: the Fiftysix® Tourbillon. As well as its tourbillon, this new style stands out for its thinness, made possible by the 2160 automatic calibre that beats at 18,000 vibrations/hour. This is the first self-winding tourbillon movement from Vacheron Constantin, and is already at work inside this year’s Patrimony Traditionnelle. A peripheral oscillating weight keeps “thickness” down to just 6mm. Vacheron Constantin’s signature Maltese Cross is symbolised in the form of the tourbillon cage.
Vacheron Constantin has given a city-chic, retro-contemporary feel to the Fiftysix® range, which started out as three models.
The Fiftysix® collection takes root in a vintage Vacheron Constantin watch from 1956 (hence the name): reference 6073. Not only was this one of the first Vacheron Constantin watches to be equipped with an automatic movement, it was housed inside a watertight case – another rarity for a mid-century timepiece. The Swiss watchmaker has given a city-chic, retro-contemporary feel to this new range, which started out as three models, each true to the original with references to the Maltese Cross shape, a box crystal, sector dial and automatic winding. The original trio comprises a three hands with date, driven by the new 1326 calibre, a triple calendar with precision moon phases (2460 QCL/1 calibre), and a day-date with power reserve (2475 SC/2 calibre). Additionally, this was the first time Vacheron Constantin debuted a collection with both gold and steel versions.