There’s no doubt about it, the late 1940s and 1950s were a halcyon time for watchmaking. Apart from the introduction of some of the all-time classics such as the Omega Seamaster (1948), and the Rolex Submariner (1953), the likes of Vacheron Constantin was also creating some of their most beautiful and lasting designs. Vacheron Constantin’s ‘Cornes de Vache’ was introduced in 1955, and quickly established itself as one of the most emblematic chronographs of its time. The name is derived from the shape of the lugs and means literally, horns of the cow. Based on reference 6087, this was the first water-resistant chronograph ever produced, and it was produced in extremely limited numbers. To this day it remains one of the most sought-after models among VC collectors.
This new version in stainless steel gives collectors another chance to acquire one and without having to dig deep for a version in precious metal. Astute followers of the ‘Cornes de Vache’ model will know that in 2017 Hodinkee released a special edition of the watch, also in steel, and it has often fetched above retail price due to its scarcity. (It was a limited edition of just 36 pieces.) The question is, will this new release from the Maison itself serve to devalue the Hodinkee Limited Edition with its asking price of US$39,800? It is, after all, exactly the same asking price as this new reissue.
High-grade stainless-steel watches have risen steeply in demand across the board. Vacheron’s decision to release the Cornes de Vache 1955 as a regular production model in steel is no doubt a reflection of this trend. VC has already been launching other coveted models in steel in recent times to cater to buyers keen on acquiring a genuine Vacheron watch at a lower entry price. Stainless steel models have been issued in both the FiftySix and the Historiques 1942 collection.
VACHERON CONSTANTIN ‘CORNES DE VACHE’ 1955 STAINLESS STEEL
Historiques Cornes De Vache 1955 Stainless Steel
This latest reissue, aimed squarely at collectors keen to own this rare piece, is faithful to the original, but at the same time in line with the advancements of modern watchmaking. Water-resistant to 30 meters, the watch has been gently increased to a still conservatively sized 38.5mm. The watch features a tachymeter scale which surrounds the chronograph counter. A white minute-circle punctuated with dark red numerals highlights the tone of the grey velvet-finished opaline dial, while the blued steel hands offer a striking contrast between dial and hands for ease of reading. The dial has two snailed counters, and uses applied gold Roman numerals and hour-markers.
The Cornes de Vache chronograph runs on the manual-winding chronograph Calibre 1142 with a 48-hour power reserve. This movement is certified with the Hallmark of Geneva, an exacting standard of excellence stemming from Switzerland’s strictest traditions of Haute Horlogerie. It serves to reassure the buyer that the mechanical movement, its assembly, and regulation within the Canton of Geneva have attained the requisite quality of workmanship, durability and exceptional Swiss desirability.
There are no shortcuts even in the crafting of the strap. The strap is a patinated dark brown calf leather expressly made for the first time for Vacheron by Maison Serapian, Milan based makers of luxury leather goods since 1928.
As mentioned, this new stainless steel Cornes de Vache chronograph is set to sell for US$39,800