Vacheron Constantin’s much loved Historiques 1955 is now going metallica. In cold, hard steel. This means it is lighter, better, and even sexier.
There is certainly no need to preach to the converted here in horology land, the original post-war, classic but still with its charming quirks, the Cornes de Vache 1955 is making another comeback from precious metal to a new and pragmatic armour of stainless steel. Yes, steel. What this means for collectors is the rare opportunity to lay hands on a high end timepiece that is not in gold, but steel. The limited edition of 36 steel renditions with Hodinkee in 2017 saw every single piece instantly snapped up. So it doesn’t take clairvoyance to foresee a widespread froth of frenzy surrounding this addition.
Being sheathed in steel will make this Vacheron Constantin lighter in weight, still high end but now with a bit of casual pizzazz that says, “I drive a Ferrari 488 Pista but I don’t need it in red. The blue suits me fine.” There are not many top tier luxury watches in this humble but strong material so the high grade stainless steel permutation will certainly garner much attention and fans clamouring for it.
Everything else remains true to the original but just tweaked for current watchmaking standards. The Cornes de Vache 1955 was the maison’s first water resistant chronograph and the present adaptation is good to go for a dip to 30 metres. While the case has grown slightly to 38.5mm, same as its precious metal siblings, the current timepiece has replaced the 1955 model’s manual-winding calibre with the 1142 with the winding crown carved with a Maltese cross, thus beating at 21,600 vibrations per hour. The velvet-finished opaline dial bears Roman numerals and hour markers in white gold and is accompanied by two snailed counters. Both hands for the seconds and minutes are in blue steel with dark red numerals on the seconds track for an extra grunt of style not to mention legibility. Flip this steely dan around to admire the calibre and its 48-hour power reserve – its elaborate architecture the hallmark of a Geneva certified timepiece, beautifully decorated and ticking through the crystal caseback.
And every article about this watch will almost always mention how horn-y it is, well deserving of the affectionate nickname it has earned from collectors and aficionados. The Historiques Cornes de Vache 1955 lugs thus shaped in tribute to its name – cow horns. And if you’ve had enough of puns and double entendres that come with reading about this majestic timepiece, you can find solace in the lovely, slightly worn aesthetic of its dark brown strap by established Milanese leather craftsmen, Maison Serapian.
Granted this steel edition will certainly give it a (slightly) friendlier price tag compared to its precious metal versions, and accessible thanks to it being a regular production model, it is poised to be a much coveted watch for such a high level of refinement, style and quality coupled to an easy feel of modernity.
Images courtesy of Vacheron Constantin, artwork by Curatedition.