To cap off the year, Corum this month has released two new additions to its Lab 01 collection, which was first unveiled as an experimental series in the brand’s eclectic lineup. The two new models upon first glance seem very similar to their two predecessors (covered here), but are now distinguished by their use of Damascus steel — a material very uncommon in watchmaking.
Damascus steel, for those unfamiliar, is a wavy-patterned, high-carbon steel which is exceptionally popular today among knife and sword markers for its beauty, hardness, and resistance to shattering. The use of this material, which dates back to as early as the 4th century, hearkens to an overarching ethos that Corum is working to establish in the Lab 01 collection, i.e. creating “a dialogue between the past and the future” by melding traditional and contemporary mechanical watchmaking and, in the case of these newest watches, marrying ancient and modern materials.
Like the previous Lab 01 models, the two new editions use a 39.89 x 55-mm tonneau-shaped case with rubber inserts on its side as well as an integrated rubber bracelet. The case, as mentioned, uses a blackened, DLC-treated Damascus steel, and features a crown at 6 o’clock made of the same material. The skeletonized grey dial of the watch is available with either blue or green accents, featuring applied Arabic numerals at each 15-minute mark, an off-center Corum logo, and rhodium-coated, baton-style hour and minute hands. Powering the watch, and visible through the openworked dial, is the Corum caliber CO 410, a barrel-shaped movement capable of a 50-hour power reserve, specifically designed to fit within the unique case shape of the Lab 01 models. This automatic movement uses a spiral-accented microrotor visible through the face of the model on the upper right-hand corner of the dial, and features côtes de Genève finishing throughout.
The two new watches will be limited to 99 pieces each, and will be available at Corum boutiques worldwide, with pricing beginning at $16,800.
Just a comment on damascus steel (properly referred to as pattern welded steel). DON’T GET THEM WET! Carbon steels that are normally used have low chromium content, so the corrosion resistance is poor. Your article doesn’t mention if the steel surfaces have any coating applied to protect the surface from water. If you do have one of these and they do get wet, dry them immediately!