It’s a testimony to the success of the Cornes de Vache that a lot of the time, when you’re wearing it, you don’t think much about any of this. What made it work as a wristwatch back in 1955 is largely what makes it work today. Despite the fact that very little has changed about the , and despite the fact that mechanically the movements in the old and new are kissing cousins (to put it mildly), the around the , and the movements, has changed quite a lot. What was in 1955 an extremely traditional, beautifully classic chronograph is, in 2016, still an extremely traditional, beautifully classic chronograph – as well as an almost photographically faithful reproduction of a traditional, classic chronograph. The new version, therefore, has a dual character that the original does not.
To some degree this is something all homage risk; with the Cornes de Vache the technical, craft, and statements are so strong that this dual character is actually much more pronounced than usual. I suspect, however, that over time – and certainly, this is a watch meant to be worn for quite a bit longer than a week – the essential character of the watch will assert itself, over and above its status as a reproduction, which is the point of the whole thing in the first place.
The Historiques Cornes de Vache 1955, reference 5000H/000R-B059: , caliber 1142; hand wound, 27.5 mm x 5.6 mm, 48 hour power reserve; 21,600 vph/3 hertz. Free-sprung, adjustable mass balance with Breguet overcoil. Case 18k 4N pink gold, water resistance 3 bar; 38.5 mm x 10.9 mm. Strap, dark brown alligator with pink gold pin buckle. $53,600; see it at Vacheron-Constantin.com.
Check out our Three On Three comparison between the top chronographs from Lange, Patek, and Vacheron here.