With the momentous milestone of the 65th anniversary looming, Corum sets out on a quest to retrace its roots steeped in pushing the envelope and breaking new ground. Embracing risk taking, Corum transforms last year’s Admiral 42 Full Black into a full-fledge collection, albeit with a tinge.
The new Admiral 42 Automatic Full Black is an elaboration of last year’s Admiral 42 Full Black. A bold watch with its suave and angular jet-black presentation, the original Full Black plays on the elementary palette of white/grey on black. It was a redesign of its often-colourful Admiral 42 with intensive PVD treatment. Spurred on by the encouragement received, Corum decided to make it into a complete collection of five colours: blue, red, orange, yellow and green.
Among Corum’s earliest watches, the Admiral’s Cup was the industry’s first watch to feature a water-resistant square case. Numerous redesigning, resizing and renaming took place in the ensuing decades, including the adoption of nautical pennants as a replacement for hour markers previously based on Roman numerals. The 12 nautical pennants adhere to the International Code of Signals, indicating numbers using coloured flags. In the case of the Admiral 42 Automatic Full Black, these flags are presented in black contrasted with accents of a singular colour that corresponds to the respective watch.
Barring the coloured outlines of the nautical pennants, Super-LumiNova, date and small second indicator, every part of the watch is in black or deep grey shades for an austere, edgy effect. The unique dodecagonal 42mm case is made of black PVD-treated stainless steel. The dial is made of blackened brass. The Dauphine hour and minute hands are also skeletonised and black PVD treated. However, legibility remains excellent courtesy of the bright Super-LumiNova filling. The raised nautical pennants set against a backdrop of circular motif enhance the depth of the dial. The largely monochromatic palette ensures the dial remains in unison without appearing strenuous to the eyes. The watch is paired with a vulcanised black rubber strap. Not overlooking the tiniest of detail, the strap’s buckle is also given a black PVD treatment.
Powered by the automatic CO 395 movement, the Admiral 42 Automatic Full Black is equipped with 42 hours of power reserve. Last year’s Full Black was a one-off limited edition, produced in 100 pieces. With five coloured models this year, greater availability is ensued despite the fact that each colour is still limited to 100 pieces. While the Admiral’s Cup was incipiently created to honour the eponymous regatta, the Admiral 42 Automatic Full Black is best worn as a contemporary sports watch with its water resistance rated 50m.
To many, Corum has become a brand defined by the Golden Bridge. The collection’s raison d’etre is its non-conformist, baguette-shaped movement. It was the world’s first linear movement and a materialisation of an idea, of a calculated risk which ultimately borne fruit.
It is said that the creator of the movement, Vincent Calabrese, was frustrated that watch buyers at the time customarily sought watches simply for their appearances without regard to what was within the case. It was after all, the heights of the quartz crisis. Determined to renounce this prevailing practice, Calabrese wanted to develop watches that had substance intrinsically and extrinsically, to rid the superfluous and reveal what truly mattered. He went forth to create a movement that would prove his point. The news of the development of the baguette-shaped movement subsequently reached the ears of René Bannwart, Corum’s co-founder. The two met and struck up a friendship.
Bannwart, sharing a common vision and convinced of the movement’s potential, ploughed resources into the production and helped the renamed Golden Bridge take flight. Since 1980, the Golden Bridge has been an encapsulation of the brand’s identity. No mere accidental success, it is an evidence of Corum’s endeavours in pursuing the path where others dare not chart.
It is apparent that Corum revels in being a risk taker. It has never been part of the mainstream, pushing out hackneyed watches from its base in La Chaux-de-Fonds. Underpinned by the new direction “risk is the reward,” the brand teases that redeveloped, adventurous and provocative watches will be unveiled progressively in the coming months as part of the brand’s repositioning strategy. Going forward, Corum is bound to be even more intrepid in its product offering. Its watches will continue to evoke the spirit of originality that makes Corum the brand it is today.