Corum introduced its first coin watch in 1964. The model is, without a doubt, one of its most iconic watches. If coin pocket watches had been produced for decades (usually ultra-thin watches concealed under a hinged cover), the brand’s coin wristwatch was innovative because of its novel construction with a coin sliced in two to encase the movement. More than 50 years later, Corum still produces coin watches. Classics stand the test of time. At Baselworld 2018, the La Chaux-de-Fonds-based manufacturer added a cool, modern note to this timepiece by venturing into unexplored artistic territories.
The Hobo coin – or Hobo nickel – is a popular art form consisting of altering coins with bas-relief engraving. If it has been a long-standing practice, it really developed in America during the Great Depression, when homeless or unemployed people were hand-carving coins, turning these into work of arts they could sell or trade. The hobo coins are extremely varied but very often they feature “memento mori” – symbols of mortality, skulls or skeletons. Most of the time, the original lettering of the coin would be respected.
The Corum Heritage Artisan Coin Watch collection is engraved by Russian engraver Aleksey Saburov who lives in New York. The artist produces 21st-century hobo coins and has created a limited number of unique pieces for Corum. Measuring 43mm in diameter, the watch is fashioned out of 925 silver. The case is coin-edged and features a slotted hobnail bezel. The crown is adorned with a blue sapphire cabochon. The dial and the case back are made from 925 silver coins allowing Saburov to give free rein to his creativity. Each entirely hand-engraved watch will be a unique piece. The watch we had the opportunity to review is a crypto-currency skull watch featuring the bitcoin symbol.
The Corum coin watch is powered by automatic calibre CO 082, based on the ubiquitous ETA 2892. This reliable workhorse runs at 28,800 vibrations per hour with a 42-hour power reserve. The version used here shows hours and minutes. A hip and cool denim strap, paired with a steel pin buckle, complements the watch.
Emblazoned with these cool engravings, the Corum coin watch never looked so good. It connects the model to an interesting artistic tradition and showcases superb craftsmanship and artistry. Plus, the skull and other macabre symbols have become something of a fashion statement, turning the classic look of the coin watch into something new. This Corum Heritage Artisan Coin Watch Hobo is a true transformation. Personally, I love it, although I couldn’t see myself wearing it on a daily basis. Price is set at CHF 21,000. For more information, please visit www.corum.ch.