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Corum's Concept Watch marks a new era for the creative watchmaker

The Corum Concept Watch in recycled Grade 5 titanium with recycled textile strap.

Swiss watchmaker Corum continues to chart its own path among the sea of watchmakers, bringing a new Concept Watch this year that fuses artistry, technology, and sustainability

When René Bannwart founded Corum in 1955, it was during the naissance of wristwatch design. The world was just coming out of WWII, which had relegated pocket watches to the past and made wristwatches the new normal. Full of brilliant ideas and determined to be a forward-thinking icon in the industry, the brand quickly brought forth several new designs and partnerships. Bannwart’s entrepreneurial vision led to Corum’s recognition as a creative watchmaker by its peers.

New trends are emerging as a new generation of watch collectors are defining what luxury represents to them. For Corum, this has been an opportunity to refresh and contemporise its existing collections for the future and introduce new designs, materials, and forms that demonstrate it remains a creative powerhouse in watchmaking.   

The Corum Concept Watch in recycled Grade 5 titanium.
The Corum Concept Watch in recycled grade 5 titanium.

The latest design released by the watchmaker at Geneva Watch Days 2023 is the Corum Concept Watch. The watch comes in a new 39.5mm case with a round case middle and affixed with curved guards or “wings” on four sides, three of which are functional. On the right, top, and bottom, they serve as crown guards and integrated lugs attached to a recycled textile strap with a Velcro enclosure. On the left, the convex ear is strictly decorative (for now) to balance the watch’s design.

The watch’s design recalls the pectoral cross of St. Cuthbert to some extent but also references another Corum watch: the Bubble Bullet, which featured the cross-section of a gun cylinder on the dial. Unsurprisingly, many will also see an obvious reference to Gérald Genta’s porthole construction or the curves of Jaguar E-Type, all of which are accurate. The industrial design of the case gives the watch a commanding futuristic presence, as does the material, which is recycled grade 5 titanium.

The wings of the watch on the top and bottom of the dial, which operate as lugs for the case, are also stepped. This is a tribute to a classic watchmaking design frequently used by some of the finest case makers of the past but rendered in a modern style. From the slim and rounded polished bezel to the arced wings and stepped lugs, the watch feels and looks like a Zaha Hadid creation.  

The Corum CO374 calibre that powers the Concept Watch.
The Corum CO374 calibre that powers the Concept Watch.

An Open Dial

The Calibre CO 374 that powers this Concept Watch is a baguette-style movement that’s fully skeletonised and supported by sapphire crystal bridges that make the wheels look as if they are floating in mid-air. Every gear is exposed from the front of the watch, allowing you to see the complete operation of the mainspring, second, third, and fixed fourth wheels that connect to the regulating organ, which is a flying tourbillon. The movement has a power reserve of 90 hours, more than ample for wearing on and off throughout the week.

While there are many examples of skeletonised tourbillon movements in the industry, few use sapphire bridges to allow for such uninhibited viewing of the entire movement, as is seen in this model. If you were to adjust the time using the crown, you could watch how each wheel drives the next.  

The flying tourbillon on the Corum Concept Watch can be fully enjoyed from the front and back of the watch.
The flying tourbillon on the Corum Concept Watch can be fully enjoyed from the front and back of the watch.

The flying tourbillon is the highlight of the movement, with a one-minute rotating carriage supported only by a back bridge. The carriage bears the brand’s iconic key logo that symbolises its dedication to invention and unlocking the future of watchmaking through its timepieces. Two open-worked arrow hands indicate the hours and minutes, and the seconds can be deciphered from the tourbillon’s rotation.

Underneath the movement sits a thin slice of aventurine that, combined with the movement of the gears, ignites a vision of planetary motion amid a midnight blue sky speckled with stars in the distance. What’s more challenging with the Concept Watch was to find a stone that could be further cut without fracturing for the movement to be visible through the back of the watch

On the caseback, an aperture reveals the gear train and instructions on how the mechanical movement works.
On the caseback, an aperture reveals the gear train and instructions on how the mechanical movement works.

The irregular cutout of the stone dial follows the wheels of the baguette-style movement, which can be seen through an aperture machined into the screwed-in caseback. Moreover, Corum has engraved the exact workings of the movement into the titanium back, including the “Swiss Made” stamp that usually appears on the dial. 

Boon Chong Soon, Vice-President of Corum.
Boon Chong Soon, vice president of Corum.

The vice president of Corum, Boon Chong Soon, adds, “Corum has always been an exclusive and avant-garde watchmaker, and we are going to maintain this. That’s why we’re focusing on higher-end timepieces, exploring unique materials as well as innovative ones that elevate the brand based on a modern perception of what luxury means today. Our icons, ranging from the Bubble to the Admiral and Golden Bridge, continue to do well. But it’s also important to bring new ideas to the market, and that is what this Concept Watch does.”

The Corum Concept Watch may be just an idea for now, but it brings together several concepts of the brand into one single watch. It shows how Corum’s creativity is more than just the sum of its parts when infused with the spirit of design exploration and invention. 

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Editor

Darren has been writing about, and admiring the craft of watchmaking for over a dozen years. He considers himself lucky to live in a golden age of horology, and firmly believes that the most difficult watches to design are the simplest and the most intriguing to discover.


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