New Vision of a Classic

Corum Admiral’s Cup watches have been in production for 50 years. There are few timepieces in history that have changed as much as this collection has in such a short amount of time. What started as a watch to celebrate an international yacht race has evolved into one of the world’s premier nautical-themed luxury sport watches. Now, even though the actual Admiral’s Cup race tradition has ended, the Corum collection has taken the name as its own, never ceasing to display the iconic features that made it so well known in the first place.

Every Admiral’s Cup watch is identifiable by its geometric 12-sided case, Corum’s key logo, and the ubiquitous pennant flags previously used to signify the boats. Once in rich colors, the pennant flags hour markers have recently been subdued to monochromatic tones. While always large in stature, modern Admiral’s Cup watches have grown over the years to the current size of 45 mm wide. Often in gold or exotic tones, the visual presentation of the timepieces is bold.

For 2010, Corum decided to pay homage to its beloved Admiral’s Cup collection by developing an extremely complex movement and a design that, while extremely modern, is true to the Admiral’s Cup tradition. 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 thought the tourbillion plus minute-repeater combination was reserved only for stuffy formal wear, but this watch changed my mind. Seemingly ironic in design, two delicate horological complications are paired with a watch eager for action in spirit. Traditional ship life was marked by constant bells and whistles, so Corum designed the minute-repeater complication to reflect that. Twisting the entire watch bezel clockwise activates this complication, and also winds and powers the minute repeater. The watch then begins an animated process where gongs and hammers aurally indicate the time via a series of spaced chimes. Corum uses a smoked sapphire crystal inside the dial over the newly developed CO 010 manually wound movement. The modern look of the exposed movement provides visual pleasure when the minute repeater is in operation.

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

The Admiral’s Cup Minute Repeater Tourbillon 45 sits at the apex of a long line of the timepieces in this family. It is a complex new type of watch from a typically style-oriented brand that is merely built on the silhouette of prior Admiral’s Cup editions. Price is about $290,000 for each of the 10 limited-edition pieces.