Popular watch blog Hodinkee revealed that they would be teaming with watchmaker Vacheron Constantin to produce the Vacheron Constantin Historiques Cornes de Vache 1955 Limited Edition for Hodinkee. The watch is a variant of the Vacheron Constantin Historiques Cornes de Vache, which was originally launched in both platinum and rose gold. However, Hodinkee’s limited edition comes in steel and with a slate gray dial with a pulsation scale, while the movement is the manually wound Vacheron caliber 1142, which is used for chronographs. Hodinkee founder Ben Clymer had much to say about the watch.
“While Vacheron’s other mid-century chronographs – references 4072 and 4178 – did see a few steel examples, the Cornes de Vache in its original and modern incarnations was never made in steel, until today.”
When speaking about the design process, the blog also had more than a few words about it.
This 36-piece limited edition is the result of over a year’s worth of meetings, conversations, and collaboration between us here at HODINKEE, and the creative team at Vacheron Constantin. Choosing the model on which to base our project was simple. The Historiques 1955 Cornes de Vache is exactly the type of timepiece that we love – a subtle homage to a great piece of horological history, but with several tweaks that make it even more cohesive. Christian Selmoni, Vacheron’s Artistic Director and a friend of Ben’s since his earliest days in the industry, did a masterful job with the platinum and rose gold watches, adding a tachymeter scale, streamlining the lugs, and carefully refining the proportions of the original piece from 1955.
In working with Christian, we agreed this watch was ripe for production in stainless steel. Why? Because we wanted to create something that had never before existed. The other two well-known mid-century VC chronographs – the 4072 and 4178 – were indeed made in steel during their lifespan, though in few examples. The 6087, which came just a little later in the 1950s, came only in yellow gold, rose gold, and platinum for a total of just 36 watches across all metals (and just two in platinum). What’s more, the 6087 is Vacheron’s only mid-century waterproof chronograph, featuring a screw-back case and round pushers.
The dial itself is a lovely grey opaline that changes colors considerably based on lighting conditions. At times it appears almost black, other times it’s a true grey, and, in direct light, it can even appear brown. We chose grey because it sits squarely in between the two colors that would be possible for a chronograph in the 1950s – silver and black. Essentially, we’ve created a 1950s Vacheron chronograph that we would love to discover in an auction catalog, with the durability and wearability of a steel case, but with the simply divine, architectural shape for which Vacheron is world-renowned, with a lovely and visually interesting dial with pulsation scale – something never before seen on a Cornes de Vache chronograph.
The watch measures 38.5 mm in diameter and is only 10.9 mm thick. It is also water resistant up to 30 meters. It comes with a Vacheron Constantin gray alligator strap, but the watch will also be available in two other strap options: natural Barenia leather and gray calfskin leather. The two other strap options are made by Hodinkee themselves.
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In truly limited edition fashion, only 36 pieces were produced, and each will cost around $45,000. Buyers must reserve the watch online before being contacted by Vacheron Constantin themselves.
This is not the first time Hodinkee has had a collaboration with a famous watchmaker, as they had a collaboration with Zenith last year to make a limited edition “Zenith El Primero Original Hodinkee,” which is inspired by Zenith’s El Primero Chronograph.
[Featured Image by Craig Barritt/Getty Images]