Explorer, photographer, climber, adventurer, brand ambassador...Cory Richards is the very embodiment of "multi-hyphenate." Having scaled Mt. Everest on more than one occasion — once without supplemental oxygen — it's no surprise that he brings an infectious energy to any space he inhabits, whether he's discussing his upbringing, his travels, or watchmaking.
Back in 2019, we covered a special prototype watch that Vacheron Constantin made for Richards, which he wore on an Everest expedition. We've been waiting years for the maison to debut a production model of said watch, which, much to our delight, they finally did. We got the chance to sit down with Richards for a few minutes to discuss his passions, his relationship to Vacheron, and his plans for the future.
On what came first — photography or climbing...
"Climbing really did come first...I was going on this expedition and I borrowed my mom's point-and-shoot camera. I was flying into the Ruth Gorge in the Alaska Range...I didn't know at the time as I was taking pictures out the window that I was marrying these things naturally. So photography absolutely came second — climbing came first. But then I believe that they became one and the same."
On the relationship between watches and exploration...
"I learned more about the connective tissue between horology and exploration as I evolved into it. I always had a fascination with watches and time. Both loves were present, and then they sort of married later on."
On his relationship to Vacheron Constantin, and exploration watches...
"Our initial relationship started before (the Overseas Dual Time Everest) — it was largely based on the photography and the writing I was doing. But then the Everest project came up, and the idea to 'co-author' a timepiece came out of that. And then we absolutely talked about the functionality, the weight factors, how it could withstand temperature and pressure differentials — all of that. We even talked about the type of oil that's used to withstand freezing. All of that informed the way the watch was ultimately put out."
On the Overseas Dual Time...
"The Dual Time, for me, is useful but it's also meaningful in that you get to see and understand that there's a whole other life that you live. And that little piece of the (watch) face is your tether to everybody else and everything else that you do. And it's a reminder that you should 'push it' as far as you can, but come home. We go hard into our goals — that's the big dial that's guiding us — but then there's this little one saying, remember balance, remember everything else in your life."
On a new book he's working on...
"It's really a mental health memoir that's balanced by the life that I've led — so there's some adventure in it, there's some climbing — but it's much more about the devleopment of our brains and how that evolves into our trajectory. So as much as it'll be fun for people who follow adventure, it's meant to be much more meaningful and transcendent because it puts all that into context of what happens in the brain and how it moves us through the world. It's a balance between the external landscape and the internal landscape, and how we navigate both."