Hands-On: The Vacheron Constantin Historiques Cornes de Vache 1955 (Live Pics, Details, Pricing)
First, a touch of history. The Cornes de Vache (which I’ll call it from here on for curtness) depends on a watch made in tiny numbers beginning in 1955, basically called the ref. 6087 yet nicknamed the “Cornes de Vache” because of its carries bearing a likeness to the horns of a cow. You did focus in French class, isn’t that right? Vacheron has an archive of watches returning to 1755 to choose from, so they’re ruined for choice however with the 6087 they truly pulled out a unique one to re-make. That watch was created in exceptionally little numbers and is the lone vintage Vacheron chronograph that was considered “waterproof” some time ago, on account of its screw-on case back and round pushers, which allowed for the utilization of fixing gaskets. Under 40 of these watches were developed until Vacheron stopped creation during the ’60s, making it quite possibly the most uncommon and attractive chronographs from any producer.
Fast forward to 2015 and Vacheron astonished authorities and devotees at January’s SIHH when it appeared its Harmony assortment, which looked again to the company’s archives for motivation for a new setup of complicated watches, including a bewitching two-register chronograph called the Harmony Chronograph Small Model. That watch, with its pad formed case, vaunted type 1142 and a 37 mm distance across, is just spot on however it has a bezel studded with jewels squarely focused on a female market. Vacheronphiles wrung their hands at what might have been and quietly waited. They didn’t need to wait long however, as Vacheron chose the Asian market “Watches and Wonders” reasonable for debut the Cornes de Vache, which sits in the company’s Historiques group of vintage-roused novelties.
Bumped up from its motivation’s 35 mm case to 38.5, the new Cornes de Vache is delivered in cleaned platinum and its extents and weight are close to consummate in the hand and on the wrist. Those namesake “cow horn” hauls, whose name sounds quite a lot more rich in French, hoist this watch from a simple retro looker to an all out shocker. The drags are particularly Vacheron, a marginally more stunning interpretation of alleged “tear” hauls utilized by endless different brands back during the 20th century. Those drags, added to a completely round case, cause the watch to appear to nearly drift as though a jewel in a setting. Saying this doesn’t imply that it is gaudy. Truth be told, in wearing it, the watch felt as comfortable under the sleeve of a wool shirt as it would under a starched cuff.
Of course, part of the Cornes de Vache’s flexibility is because of the presence of two round pushers on their distending stalks, and a tachymetre scale that hold it back from being carefully formal wear. Rectangular push-pieces are dressier and make no figment that they’re in the mood for anything excessively energetic, whereas the “mushroom” state of these catches seal better and offer a more material feel. The dial on the Cornes de Vache is really exemplary and prominently fulfilling to look at. The instrument-like blue printed tachy scale and railroad track sub-dials give the ideal counterweight to the richness of those hauls. Indeed, you could drive your vintage E-Type straightforwardly from the drama to the circuit and still time lap parts with a similar watch on your wrist (not piece of this current week on the wrist tragically). Assisting the utilitarian prompts are the blued chronograph hands – sweep seconds and minutes – which vary from the timekeeping running seconds and hour and moment hands, which are cleaned silver to match the applied Roman numerals on the dial.
At 10.9 mm thick, this isn’t the slimmest chronograph around however is altogether in extent with the watch’s measurement. The development inside is that equivalent type 1142 from the Harmony Chronograph, an engine that turned over life as a Lemania 2310 yet then extensively adjusted by Vacheron. For all the discussion of in-house developments, this is plainly a situation where the benefits of the old act of etablissage (generally, “rethinking,” another example of where French sounds better) is impeccably delineated. Vacheron took a well-regarded, excellent chronograph development and adjusted it for its own utilization, expanding the wavering rate to 3 Hz, endowing it with a free-sprung balance and enhancing it to Vacheron’s typical exclusive expectations, including the company’s Maltese Cross logo discretely situated on the chronograph mechanism’s segment wheel. This isn’t Lange-level designing (of course, what is?) however elegantly unobtrusive and refined scaffold slanting and completing totally fitting a watch of this stature.
Functionally, the chronograph is as awesome to use as you would envision and anticipate from a top of the line hand-cranker. Winding is smooth and simple gratitude to the well-fluted and marginally larger than average crown and push-piece activity has the perfect immovability. The Lemania 2310 ébauche had its sources in the last part of the 1940s and has been found in endless chronographs, from Speedmasters to Pateks and everything in between. There is an explanation it’s endured this long and been utilized by so many – it is a phenomenal development and out and out fitting in a watch that takes motivation from the extraordinary time of hand-wound chronographs, when that type was first being assembled. Returning to my introduction that the new Cornes de Vache is a time machine, wearing this watch in this size and shape, with that development inside, is about the nearest one can get to wearing a mid-century, top of the line chronograph shy of dropping $40,000 at a Christie’s sale. I nearly wish Vacheron had fitted this one with a strong screwed on the off chance that back to truly complete the vintage feel, however present day tastes (and a $69,200 sticker price) request that you see what you’re paying for these days.
Vacheron has been having some fantastic luck nowadays. To start with, the Harmony assortment, which appeared to practically consistent commendation. At that point September’s declaration of the ref 57260 pocketwatch which, with 57 complications, is the world’s most complicated watch. Furthermore, now the Historiques Cornes de Vache 1955. This in a year when Vacheron is praising the 260th commemoration of the company’s establishing. Of the supposed “Large Three” of Patek Philippe, Audemars Piguet and Vacheron, the last has regularly existed somewhat in the shadow of the sheer may of Patek and the strong watches of AP. In any case, it has always had a committed following and never truly wavered from its commitment to haute horlogerie. However, this year feels extraordinary. It appears as though Vacheron is taking a lot of the spotlight, showing us what those two and a half hundreds of years mean as far as plan and watchmaking. What’s more, as it were, it likewise feels like they’re simply getting started.
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Photos: Gishani Ratnayake