Haute Timepieces: New Vision of a Classic

Few luxury timepieces have evolved as much as the Corum Admiral’s Cup collection, which has been in production for more than 50 years. What started as a watch to celebrate an international yacht race has extended to become one of the world’s premiere nautical themed luxury sport watches. Now, even though the actual Admiral’s Cup race tradition has ended, the watch collection has taken the name as its own, never ceasing to display the iconic features that made it so well known.

Identifying features of every Admiral’s Cup wristwatch include the geometric 12-sided case, Corum’s key logo, and the ubiquitous pennant flags previously used to distinguish the boats. In past years, the pennant flags flew brightly with rich colors, but recently we have seen them subdued and showing up in monochromatic tones. Despite their palette, they are still applied as the hour markers. Always large in stature, modern collections of the Admiral’s Cup have grown in size to their current comfort zone of 45mm wide. Often in gold or exotic tones, the watches have almost epitomized “bold” in their visual presentation.

For 2010, Corum decided to pay homage to its beloved Admiral’s Cup line by developing an extremely complex movement and a design that while extremely modern, is also true to the Admiral’s Cup family. Here you have the Admiral’s Cup Minute Repeater Tourbillon 45, a true connoisseur’s watch in handsome 18-karat red gold, limited to just 10 pieces worldwide. I’d have though the tourbillon and minute repeater combination was reserved only for stuffy formal wear, but this watch seemed to change my mind. Seemingly ironic in design, two delicate horological complications are paired with a watch eager for action. Corum remarks that traditional ship life was marked by constant bells and whistles, similar in nature to the active effect of a minute repeater complication. Activating it is actually done by twisting the entire watch bezel clockwise (this also acts to power the minute repeater by winding it). The watch then begins an animated process whereby gongs and hammers aurally indicate the time via a series of spaced chimes. The modern look of the exposed movement gives the wearer visual pleasure when the minute repeater is in operation. As such, Corum uses a smoked sapphire crystal inside the dial over the newly developed CO 010 manually wound movement.

The tourbillion carriage complication uses a space-age silicium escapement, and is placed under an unusual V-shaped bridge. While this feature isn’t easy to miss, Corum wants no confusion as they almost humorously place a “Tourbillon” label over the opening. The PVD smoked sapphire crystal dial also has red gold hour and minute markers applied to complement the broad lume coated hands.

  1. 45mm wide 12-sided 18K red gold case
  2. Minute repeater activated by hand-turning entire bezel
  3. Exposed one-minute tourbillon carriage
  4. CO 010 movement visible beneath tinted sapphire crystal in dial
  5. Iconic pennant flags as hour markers
  6. Custom fitted hand-sewn crocodile strap

Characteristically, the Admiral’s Cup Minute Repeater Tourbillon 45 sits at the apex of a long line of timepieces in this luxury family. But it is also something so much more – a complex new type of wristwatch from a typically “style-oriented” brand that is merely built on the silhouette of prior Admiral’s Cup watches. The price is approximately $290,000 for one of the 10 pieces in the collection. www.corum.ch.