A well-loved model The Historiques Cornes De Vache 1955 has, since it’s appearance in 2015 in a limited series platinum edition, become one of the most well-loved models in Vacheron Constantin’s line-up. It’s not difficult to see why – I mean just look at it – there is nothing else that grabs the attention as much as the sensuous lugs, that somehow manage to be decadent, playful and classical at the same time.
Their unique shape are what gives the watch its name since “Cornes De Vache” translates from the French to “cow horns”. Even though similarly shaped lugs on other watches might be described as “tear-drop” shaped, in this watch they are done in a way so that only the tops are rounded and curvaceous, which contrasts with the resolutely vertical sides.
The Historiques collection are modern recreations of historic pieces, hence the name, and the Historiques Cornes De Vache 1955 was inspired by the reference 6087 from 1955. This was a watch that was significant for being the only manually-wound, water-resistant chronograph from the vintage era of Vacheron Constantin.
The initial Historiques Cornes De Vache 1955 in platinum was followed by a pink gold version of the watch in 2016, and they came with the Calibre 1142, a manually wound, column wheel, horizontal clutch chronograph movement based on the respected Lemania 2310. This is a movement that has found its way into many notable watches over the years, from the Omega Speedmaster with its calibre 321, and also several signature models from Patek Philippe. In this version from Vacheron Constantin, one finds the brand’s aesthetic decoration applied, as well as unique touches like a column wheel with a Maltese cross. Of course, it is also Geneva Seal certified, with the stringent criteria of the Watchmaking School of Geneva guaranteeing a high level of aesthetic finish as well as technical performance of the watch.
Add a classical but modern size of 38.5mm (which incidentally is the same size as the Lange 1) and what you have is a fantastic watch that hits all the right notes. Now for 2019, we have a new model that departs from its precious metal predecessors and comes in stainless steel instead, and with a grey-opaline dial.
But wait, haven’t we seen a stainless steel Corne De Vache before? There was indeed a stainless steel version of this watch made before, and that was the Limited Edition for Hodinkee in 2017.
You might remember the furore surrounding its release when many complained how it had been sold out within 30 minutes of its release. That watch was notable for being in stainless steel which no doubt was part of the reason why the 36-piece limited edition was so popular.
The success of that watch might have made Vacheron Constantin sit up and take notice about the potential of this jewel in their collection. Perhaps as well, they thought that it might be good to give those who missed out with the Hodinkee limited edition, a chance to buy another Cornes De Vache in stainless steel.
Whatever the reasoning behind the scenes, there is no doubt that this watch will do well. Aside from the instantly lovable looks of the “Cornes De Vache”, what a buyer will appreciate about the new watch is the relatively uncommon usage of stainless steel within the Vacheron Constantin collection. Not to mention the lower price that the watch is offered at compared to the precious metal variants. This new version comes with a silver opaline dial with a tachymeter scale, as opposed to the Hodinkee edition, which had a slate grey dial and a pulsation scale. This is very much in keeping in line with the platinum and pink gold versions that also had a tachymeter scale. So buyers of the Hodinkee edition can rest easy on the uniqueness of their watches.
The blued steel chronograph and 30-minute counter hands are a very nice touch with the watch, and make the chronograph functions distinct from the time telling, hour, minute and seconds hands that are in 18 white gold. 18K white gold is also used in the applied hour-markers and Roman numerals All in all, this is a classically appointed chronograph in the way that Vacheron Constantin does so well. It even measures only up to 30 minutes and has no date complication, a move that will please the hard-core purists, in wanting a dial presentation with symmetry.
Rounding off what you get with this version, is a dark brown calf leather with Serapian patina, with a calf leather inner shell and tone on tone stitching, a perfect match to the vintage aesthetic.
The best thing about this watch though is that it will not not be limited, although it will probably be limited by production. Something tells me however that it might be quite difficult to get hold of. Why? Just look it. How could you not want this watch if you can afford the $60,000 SGD price tag?