In Basel, Corum unveiled a trio of complications that caught the attention of quite a few visitors. The timepieces included a moderately priced annual calendar with a clever and legible date display, a tourbillon priced under $45,000, and a minute repeater with very impressive acoustics.
The minute repeater in question is Corum’s all-new—and appropriately named—Admirals Cup Legend 46 Minute Repeater Acoustica. What sets this timepiece apart from other minute repeaters is its use of four hammers and four gongs arranged in two sets. It uses the two sets in tandem to chime the time in chords instead of mere single notes. The result is a quality of sound that is more harmonious than the standard minute repeater.
Turning the bezel activates the Acoustica, a minute repeater whose openworked dial reveals the first set of gongs and hammers. The second set of hammers and gongs is visible through the sapphire window on the rear of the case. Also visible through the back is the Acoustica’s blue silicium escape wheel.
This musical minute repeater is available in three versions: titanium ($307,000), rose gold ($341,000), as well as in a white gold case fitted with 12 carats of baguette-cut diamonds ($527,000). Only fifteen pieces will be made.
Anyone considering buying a tourbillon knows that Swiss-made watches with this decidedly complex escapement typically carry six-figure price tags. So it came as some surprise when Corum showed us their newest whirlwind, the $43,000 stainless steel Admiral’s Cup Legend Tourbillon Micro-Rotor. (For $59,000, collectors can enjoy the same complication in rose gold.)
The movement powering the timepiece is the CO503 automatic caliber, which beats at 28,800 bph with sixty hours of power reserve generated by the winding of a microrotor visible through the caseback.
Corum’s Marketing Director, Antoine Hastoy, attributed the new tourbillon’s attractive price to a steady increase in know how among watchmakers working on tourbillons and adapting modern production methods to tourbillon production. Hastoy likened the situation to what happened with mechanical chronographs, once very expensive to manufacture, which can now be had relatively inexpensively.
Though the Tourbillon Micro-Rotor is indeed nicely finished, it is assembled from parts produced in an industrial manner, allowing for interchangeability. This makes its assembly a good deal simpler and therefore less expensive. Production of the tourbillon will be limited annually to fifteen pieces in red gold, thirty in red gold and steel, and seventy-five in steel.
The final complication from Corum this year is the Admiral’s Cup Legend 42 Annual Calendar. This watch displays the month via a subdial at six o’clock and the date via an unobtrusive gray hand that circles the dial. Unlike a watch with simple date and month indicators, this watch, by virtue of its annual calendar complication, understands that some months include thirty days and others require thirty-one.
On April 30th, for example, the date hand skips over the “31” at 12 o’clock and the month hand advances to May. The only month whose length this watch cannot adjust for is February, which can be either twenty-eight or twenty-nine days depending on the year. The end of February is the only day per year when the wearer of this watch will have to change the date. This timepiece is limited to 175 pieces annually—25 in red gold ($25,900) and 150 in stainless steel ($9,200).