It’s no secret that the dominant trend in contemporary watchmaking is vintage. A quick scan of any major brand’s recent releases will reveal this archival focus. It’s not necessarily surprising, nostalgia sells and brands can rely on longtime enthusiasts to snatch up any heritage-focused limited edition. It’s in this way that Corum remains a rare breed in today’s watch marketplace. Vintage-inspired releases have their place, but it’s nice to see a brand that beats to its own drum and focuses on new creations that could, one day, become classic in their own right.
Corum’s catalog currently includes a number of lines that have their own recognizable and bold aesthetic. The Bubble, which has been a major focus of the brand’s recent marketing efforts, is an effort in graphic absurdity. The Golden Bridge is a continuous study in movement architecture that looks more like it came from the brain of Santiago Calatrava than any watchmaker. The Admiral series is a blend of nautical and cosmopolitan tastes. Even Corum’s vintage-focused series of Coin Watches focuses on the forgotten art of coin engraving.
The most recent announcement from Corum continues its experimental pursuit with a whole new collection that the brand says will consist of models “where mechanics take precedence.” The first release contains two limited-edition, barrel-shaped watches meant to commemorate the brand’s new boutique in Macau, its first in China.
The two models, that Corum has christened Lab 01, are sized at 39.89 mm by 55 mm and are made of grade 5 titanium with a black DLC treatment and rubber sides. Both models feature the openworked CO 410 automatic caliber that has been specifically designed to fit seamlessly within the case’s confines and features côte de Genève decoration. The movement is powered by a micro-rotor that offers a 50-hour power reserve and is partially visible in the upper right-hand corner of the dial.
The watches are largely identical save for your choice of red or white accents to complement the charcoal gray colorway. A rubber crown can be found at 6 o’clock, an unusual placement that helps streamline the watch’s overall appearance. The sapphire crystal on both sides has an anti-reflective treatment. The baton-shaped hour and minute hands are filled with color matching Super-LumiNova. The band is made of rubber and uses a titanium triple-folding clasp with a black DLC treatment.
Both versions of the Corum Lab 01 are limited to 99 total pieces and are priced at $13,800.
At CoutureTime 2019 in Las Vegas this week, Corum introduced a new limited-edition Lab 01 in a Damascus steel case with black PVD and blue accents. It’s also limited to 99 total pieces.