Corum is a powerful brand. For one thing, there’s its heritage: Coin Watches, Feather Watches and other new editions of historic timepieces. Then there’s the present, with the Admiral’s Cup – an iconic watch that the manufacture is constantly adapting, keeping it right up to date for over fifty years now. And lastly there’s the future, with the many different possibilities offered by the baguette movement that Corum has been making the most of since 1980.
For many years, the firm has been putting the emphasis on the present and the future, with a number of developments relating to its Bridges and the Admiral’s Cup. This year, alongside these two customary pillars of its offering Corum has added a look back, too, with an ambitious spotlight on its Heritage and the grand return of the Feather Watch.
“Corum has always been recognised as an avant-garde brand, presenting outstanding creative models. This is such an interesting story that we’ve decided to dedicate a whole collection to it – the Heritage collection,” says Antonio Calce, CEO.
René Bannwart, founder of Corum, rooted the firm in creativity right from the outset, in 1955. That creative outburst resulted in a number of different models, each of which added something new to watchmaking. The Feather Watch is an embodiment of this spirit. When it came out in 1970, it was the first watch with a dial made from peacock feathers. Amidst all the technical progress over the subsequent decades, the process has almost never been followed or copied.
The speciality that comes into play for this timepiece is that of plumasserie – featherworking. The feathers are sorted, selected for their stability, density and finesse, cleaned, stabilised with steam and hand cut. The ensuing art is similar to marquetry. The feathers are positioned one by one to produce the desired motif and then glued down. Like other living materials sometimes used in watchmaking, such as wood or petals, the trickiest thing is to ensure the long life of the material, which is light-sensitive (the colour can fade) and prone to humidity (condensation).
The Feather Watch now boasts warm colours, with a variety of shades that only nature could produce. This unique composition is centre stage here. The 39 mm red gold case is intentionally discreet, as are the skeleton Dauphine hands, offering a clearer view of the feathers on the dial.
The watch will be added to Corum’s collection, and will also be available in a studded version.
Against all odds
Corum is also writing new music for its present-day score with the Admiral’s Cup. Of the two new models presented, the Admiral’s Cup AC-One 45 Tides is probably the most compelling. “The tide movement is very dear to us, illustrating as it does the strong connection we’ve always had with the world of sailing,” explains Antonio Calce.
Twenty-two years after its launch, the “tide watch” remains unique. Its complication displays the tide time and range, moon cycle, current strength and water height. It took no less than three years of development under the aegis of the Geneva Astronomical Observatory and the French Navy’s Hydrographic and Oceanographic Department in Brest to bring into being this highly exclusive “tide movement”.
The dial features the moon’s phases at 12 o’clock, the two tides for the next 24 hours at 6 o’clock and the counter showing whether the tide is rising or falling and the current strength at 9 o’clock. Current strength reaches its maximum when the hand is on the horizontal red line. To round things off there is a date window at 3 o’clock. The assembly is housed in a 45 mm titanium case.
A skeleton admiral
The other Admiral’s Cup unveiled by Corum is a prime example of skeletonisation. Very much in fashion for a year now, this technique leaves the movement visible. Corum has used this visibility to great effect by creating a date display at 6 o’clock. The large disc powering it is the movement’s most visible component. The automatic self-winding CO 082 caliber, presented in a fully skeletonised architecture, is housed in a 45 mm case – the benchmark size for the Admiral’s Cup AC-One.
And another bridge
Lastly, Corum will be using this year’s Baselworld to unveil a new version of its Golden Bridge Automatic, featuring a DLC-treated titanium case. The all-black casing contrasts with the movement’s upper bridge, in cut gold. The timepiece is still equipped with the CO 313, backed by a monumental upright platinum linear oscillating weight offering 40 hours’ power reserve.