To celebrate its 65th anniversary, Corum has decided to breathe new life into the cutting-edge designs that were associated with the brand. The new “Risk is the Reward” campaign of 2020, inevitably delayed by the pandemic, goes back to the brand’s roots to move forward and includes the revisiting of golden oldies. It also includes avant-garde proposals like this LAB 02, a skeletonised watch with a flying tourbillon, a flying gear train, big date and power reserve indication. Coupled with the sapphire crystal case, the entire show can be appreciated from above, from the side and the back.
An Unconventional Legacy
In 2018 Corum introduced the LAB 01, an openworked, micro-rotor movement showcased in a tonneau-shaped case. Clad in DLC-coated titanium with rubber accents, the look of the Lab 01 was high-tech and contemporary, a message that the brand was recovering its original spirit for unconventional designs. Since its creation in 1955, the brand has produced some pretty daring and innovative designs. Perhaps the model that incarnates the brand’s philosophy to a tee is the Golden Bridge. Launched in 1980 and designed by Vincent Calabrese, the Golden Bridge featured a baguette-shaped (linear) movement suspended in mid-air inside a sapphire crystal case. The first twenty years of the brand were particularly prolific producing unusual watches like the 1958 Chinese Hat, the 1964 Coin watch or the truly whacky Rolls-Royce watch with a miniature radiator grille covering the dial. Others like the Admiral’s Cup and the Golden Bridge would become solid collections along with recent arrivals like the Bubble watch with its pronounced domed crystal producing a weird magnifying effect.
We’re all used to seeing flying tourbillons in different states of suspension, but not flying gear trains. Two years of R&D were necessary to create the new movement with its gravity-defying gear train. Suspended mid-dial, there is no top bridge holding the gear train in place. Unlike most movements that are sandwiched between the mainplate and the bridge, in the LAB 02, the bridge is set directly onto the manipulate (also skeletonised) leaving a perfect view of all the moving parts.
To achieve this feat of suspension, Corum’s watchmaking team had to overcome a series of challenges. With no top bridge, the manual-winding movement required ball bearings instead of rubies on the mainplate to add strength and stability and a much longer axis was needed for the gear train. To enhance visibility and add to the illusion of elements floating in space, the movement is placed on a transparent sapphire plate.
Layout and Case
With practically no impediments marring the view, looking down into the deep case – it has a thickness of 13.40mm – reveals the barrel at 12 o’clock, the power reserve indicator at 8 o’clock, the flying tourbillon with a golden Corum key on its top at 6 o’clock, the big date display at 4 o’clock and the three wheels of the gear train suspended in mid-air between the barrel and the power reserve gauge. Although there is an arrow on top of the power reserve indicator, the remaining juice in the tank can be seen through the sapphire glass on the side of the case. The finishes are top quality with circular brushed surfaces and even a sandblasted finish on the top of the date indicator along with bevelled and polished edges.
The LAB 02 comes in a large 45mm case in a choice of white or rose gold, with or without diamonds on the case and limited to 10 pieces each. The case middle and the caseback are made from sapphire crystal while the bezel, lugs, crown and frame on the caseback are crafted in gold and polished. The sloping flange bearing the applied polished gold hour markers is brushed for contrast.
Calibre CO 300
Each of the 416 individual components inside the calibre CO 300 has been skeletonised and each piece is assembled by hand. A manual-winding movement with a 55-hour power reserve for the hours, minutes, date, flying tourbillon and power reserve, the movement beats a frequency of 21,600vph/3Hz.
Strap, availability and price
The LAB 02 in white gold comes with a black alligator strap with a triple folding clasp in white gold; the rose gold model comes with a brown alligator strap. Customisation options are available including colour of gold, choice of diamond cuts and even the possibility of coloured gemstones for the case. The starting price of the LAB 02 in gold without diamonds is CHF 180,000.
For more information, please visit corum-watches.com.