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 design, and despite the fact that mechanically the movements in the old and new are kissing cousins (to put it mildly), the world around the design, 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 watches risk; with the Cornes de Vache the technical, craft, and design 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: Movement, 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.