Innovation has always been the watchword for Corum's design. However, in the past that quality has manifested itself in a look that for some verged on kitsch. Since its inception in 1955, the company forged a reputation for making watches from novel materials, everything from gold coins to meteorite pieces. In the 1960s it introduced the signature Admiral's Cup Series, marked by 12-sided cases and yachting pennants. But of late, Corum has been best known for its "bubble" watches with their crystals that resemble a fish-eye lens and dials of weird and wonderful characters from pirates to cherubs. One even looks like a roulette table.
This year Corum's design tack is in a sleeker, more contemporary and almost minimalist direction with the almost Zen-like Ti-Bridge. A spokesman for Corum at the Basel Watch Show in Switzerland verified that the watch marks an important shift for the company: "We want to go back to our origins as a timepiece maker and get the word out." It's never made anything like its Ti-Bridge. Somehow it even evokes the two-way wrist radios worn by the comic-strip character Dick Tracy.
The Ti-Bridge's hollow skeleton tonneau-shaped case is made of titanium, with the hand-wound mechanical movement out in the open. Other than offering the convenience of a power reserve of 72 hours, the watch simply keeps time, using the company's exclusive CO 007 movement. It comes with a black crocodile strap. It reminds me of a watch from Frenchman Richard Mille, but it is much more reasonably priced. The watch also has a model with a tourbillion movement, which may sound slightly strange in such a high-tech looking timepiece, but it looks extremely chic and functions beautifully. A friend gave the watch a test run during this spring's Basel Watch Show in Switzerland and she found it fabulous. The escapement that counters the effects of gravity seems to float in the case, while spinning away.
All the watches are limited editions. The basic Ti-Bridge is reserved to 393 pieces at a price of $14,900. Two tourbillions are made. The one that looks like the standard model costs $53,000 while a black PVD case is $55,000. They are limited to 99 and 66 pieces respectively.