Vacheron Constantin Introduces the Cornes de Vache Chronograph in Steel

Same style, more affordable.

Originally available in platinum and then rose gold, the Vacheron Constantin Historiques Cornes de Vache 1955 is a well regarded vintage remake, being well executed and faithful to the original. It’s modelled on the ref. 6087 of the 1950s, which was characterised by pointy, horn-shaped lugs, hence the model name; cornes de vache translates as cow horns.

Now it is available in stainless steel, making the Cornes de Vache the second Historiques model to be offered in the metal, after the Historiques 1942 and 1948 triple calendars. The steel case naturally makes it far more accessible, with a retail price that’s a third less than the same in platinum.

vacheron constantin Historiques Cornes de Vache steel 1

Material aside, the specs of the new model are identical to the earlier precious metal versions. The case is 38.5mm in diameter, and contains the cal. 1142 movement. Now made in-house by Vacheron Constantin, the cal. 1142 is derived from the Lemania 2310. Vacheron Constantin has upgraded the movement in several ways, most notably with a free-sprung balance wheel.

vacheron constantin Historiques Cornes de Vache steel 3

The dial is a pale grey with a fine “velvet” finish and red accents on the elapsed seconds track. All of the applied hour markers are 18k white gold, as are the hands.

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vacheron constantin Historiques Cornes de Vache steel 2

Notably, this is not the first Cornes de Vache in steel. In 2017 Vacheron Constantin produced a small run of 36 watches – with a steel case and dark grey dial – for American watch blog Hodinkee.

Key facts and price

Diameter: 38.5mm
Height: 10.9mm
Material: Stainless steel
Water resistance: 30m

Movement: 1142
Functions: Time, 30-minute chronograph
Winding: Manual
Frequency: 21,600 beats per hour, or 3Hz
Power reserve: 48 hours

Strap: Calfskin, made by Italian leather goods house Serapian

Price: US$39,800

The Historiques Cornes de Vache 1955 (ref. 5000H/000A-B582) will be available starting late October 2019.


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Hands-On: Roger W. Smith Series 2 “Edition 2”

The road not taken for Roger Smith.

The Phillips Perpetual boutique in London officially opens this week with 40 watches encompassing all important genres of watch collecting, from a Rolex Daytona “John Player Special” to a Patek Philippe Nautilus “Jumbo” ref. 3700 (from the collection of Jean-Claude Biver no less). But one of the flagship offerings is an important example of independent watchmaking – a Roger W. Smith Series 2 “Edition 2” that’s “No. 1”.

It is very much a quintessential, early Roger W. Smith creation with the hallmark elements of his watchmaking. But the watch is also historically interesting, being an example of the road not taken for Mr Smith.

roger smith series 2 edition 2 1

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The forgotten “Edition”

This watch illuminates an intriguing bit of early Roger W. Smith history. Shortly after Mr Smith delivered the first batch of Series 2 watches in late 2007, he decided to create the “Edition” concept. According to Mr Smith, the idea was to produce Series 2 as a limited edition of 90 watches in total, with 30 watches in each colour of gold.

All Edition watches had 38mm cases and solid silver dials; the Edition 1 was in yellow gold, Edition 2 in rose, and Edition 3 in white gold. At the same time, Mr Smith also offered custom versions of the Series 2, which were also available in a platinum case.

roger smith series 2 no 1 watch 1

roger smith series 2 no 1 watch 2

But as it turned out, most clients wanted a custom watch, rather than an Edition example. So Mr Smith discreetly abandoned Edition not long after, and only a five of each Edition were made. This is one of the five Edition 2s in rose gold.

A good measure of how much time has passed since the Edition watches were launched is the original retail price, which was around the £50,000 mark including local taxes. The Edition 1 in yellow gold was the least expensive, being slightly over £48,000, while the white gold Edition 3 was the priciest at almost £52,000.

No. 1

This Series 2 was delivered in mid 2008, though the case is hallmarked for 2007. The case is 38mm, with the signature narrow bezel of Mr Smith’s smaller case size that gives the watch a more classical style.

roger smith series 2 edition 2 3

roger smith series 2 edition 2 5

It also has the rounded edges and high, stubby lugs that characterise his earliest watches; his current watches have a more elegant, curved form.

And because this particular watch was hardly worn – it spent most of its life in a safe – the case has developed oxidisation on the case.

roger smith series 2 edition 2 4

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roger smith series 2 edition 2 10

Examined up close, the watch has all the distinctive details of early Roger Smith production, illustrating its hand-made character.

Many elements are not as sharply refined as on his current watches, reflecting its origins in the early days of Mr Smith’s career as a solo watchmaker. The engraving on the dial and movement, for instance, is slightly irregular at certain points.

roger smith series 2 edition 2 2

roger smith series 2 edition 2 7

More notably, this also has the first generation of co-axial escapement that debuted with the Series 2 in 2006. The co-axial escape wheel is made up of two joined gears, which Mr Smith replaced with a similarly looking but single-piece escape wheel in 2010.

Subsequent iterations of the escape wheel further improved its design, resulting in the current generation escape wheel of 2015 that has recognisably longer outer teeth.

roger smith series 2 edition 2 9

The Edition 2 escape wheel

Compared with the latest generation escape wheel in a 2015 Series 2

The Series 2 “Edition 2”, along with the rest of the line-up, can be seen at Phillips’ London showroom. Perpetual is also being launched with a panel discussion on the evening of September 4; to register for the event, RSVP with Phillips.

Perpetual is open Monday to Friday, 10:00am-5:30pm.

30 Berkeley Square
London W1J 6EX
United Kingdom


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