Launched last year, Vacheron Constantin’s Cornes de Vache chronograph felt like a timepiece manifested by the collective will of watch lovers the world over. A timepiece that had tapped into the collective consciousness and its prevailing fascination with all things neoclassic and vintage, yet executed in a dynamically modern way.
First, there was the size of the watch, which, at 38.5mm in diameter, straddled the present and the past perfectly. Second, was the movement: the venerable Lemania CH 27 (or in Vacheron Constantin speak, the cal. 1142), now finished to Geneva Seal standards and evoking the magnificent history of precision timing back in the 1940s, when it was first created. And then there was the design overseen by Vacheron Constantin’s amazing artistic director Christian Selmoni and designer extraordinaire Emilie Vuilleumier, the same woman behind the design of the world’s most complicated watch — the panjandrum of dizzying horological pyrotechnics called the 57260.
As evidenced by this timepiece, Vuilleumier’s greatest skill is to evoke purity even in a watch of staggering complexity. And the design she created for the Cornes de Vache has to be recognized as one of the greatest contemporary works of modern, classic design purism. Each and every detail expresses a vibrant raison d’être, from the Roman indices to the Futura font used in the tachymetric scale, to the pump pushers, to the sleek, attenuated baton hands and markers. And then, of course, there are those signature lugs.