Get Ready For Amazing: Corum’s Golden Bridge Ronde
The last few visits to Corum’s factory have left me with a decided feeling of fresh wind – a new, youthful energy at the 61-year-old firm, which I would well characterize as one of the more fanciful brands in watchmaking.
Reasons for this fresh wind are not hard to find: the return of the Bubble and the arrival of new CEO Davide Traxler stick out foremost in my mind.
Traxler arrived at Corum in September 2015. A Swiss-Italian national, though born in the United States, he previously worked for Chopard and Bulgari. He is dynamic and seems very detail-oriented. I feel his guidance has been very positive for the La Chaux-de-Fonds company so close to my heart.
“Since my nomination, I’ve applied ‘liquid’ leadership within Corum: namely to build a clear plan with realistic objectives focusing on one essential and constant criteria, that being always place people first,” Traxler explained in answer to my question regarding his strategy as an incoming leader.
What is the Golden Bridge?
If you’ve read my book Bridging Art and Mechanics: The Unabridged Story of Corum’s Golden Bridge, you are probably quite up to date on what this amazing timepiece is and represents.
Corum’s Golden Bridge, which experienced its 35-year anniversary in 2015, is a fully transparent watch containing an innovative linear mechanical movement conceived by the non-conformist, autodidactic watchmaker Vincent Calabrese, who went on to co-found the A.H.C.I.
Both the movement and the sapphire crystal case represented hard fought technical breakthroughs in the late 1970s and early 1980s, a time when electronic timekeeping was threatening to overtake the magical mastery of Swiss handmade mechanical watchmaking.
The Golden Bridge spans the gap between mechanics and art and represents an integral part of an era in which luxury timekeeping teetered on the brink of extinction. But more than that: the Golden Bridge helped usher in the era of the independent watchmaker, as it shed light on the hitherto unrecognized work of the horologist.
The Golden Bridge in its many variations, including case shapes and materials, is the undisputed apogee of Corum’s collections. Illustrating all that innovative horology can be on every level, its innovative, aesthetic, and unique movement construction remains a timeless classic.
The one-of-a-kind caliber continues to be sheathed in sapphire crystal, allowing the watchmaker’s art to be fully appreciated from every angle.
“Our strategy for 2016 in terms of products is going back to our roots,” Traxler revealed, and I saw immediately what he was talking about when I looked around the 2016 Baselworld booth. “However, it’s not a revival of past collections. Our teams in Switzerland and on the international markets are young, sharp, and proactive; we highly treasure their valuable market input. The 2016 collections thus combine Corum’s legacy, in-house research and development, and partnerships with renowned contemporary leaders in the creative arts like photographers, DJs, and designers.”
With the latter he refers to a gigantic new collection of hip Bubbles, but I’ll save those for another time as here I’d like to solely focus on the new Golden Bridge.
In 2016, Corum takes another step toward audacious with the new Golden Bridge Ronde. The manually wound inline baguette-shaped movement CO113 is now housed in a 43 mm round red gold case designed by Italian jewelry designer Dino Modolo, a renowned artistic director who was strongly involved with the Gucci Group when that brand took over two of Modolo’s Swiss companies in 2001: a design studio and a production facility, both of which had been involved in designing and producing jewelry timepieces and precious-metal bracelets and cases for the high-end watch industry.
It is very likely that Modolo had also collaborated with the late Severin Wunderman in the past, who first owned Gucci Timepieces (up to 1997) and then Corum (as of 2000 until the present ownership kicked in). This brings a bit of history back to Traxler’s choice of Modolo to create this amazing rendition of the Corum classic.
Just looking at the new Ronde model allows the observer to see how Modolo was influenced by the look of San Francisco’s Golden Gate: the suspension bridge’s tall towers, cables, crisscrossed railings, and rivets are immediately recognizable in the new version of the classic.
“The Golden Bridge is the capstone of Corum’s collections, an illustration of Swiss horology at its best,” Traxler reminds me – as if I needed reminding on that particular point. “Its innovative aesthetic and unique movement construction are timeless. We wanted to go further with the architecture of the movement and timepiece itself.”
“Furthermore, we chose a sapphire crystal case to allow observers to admire the beauty of the movement,” Traxler continues. “Respecting the design codes of art deco, the new Golden Bridge Ronde focuses on harmony between shapes, materials, and function.”
Though it might seem at odds at first, the combination of round case and inline movement perfectly complement one another, particularly with the extra embellishment.
Furthermore, the gold case framing this movement is fitted with a sapphire crystal case band, allowing observers to admire the beauty of the movement from the side as well as the front and back.
As it should be.
For more information, please visit www.corum.ch.
Case: 43 x 8.8 mm, 5N red or white gold, available set with 84 diamonds (2.14 ct)
Movement: manually wound Caliber CO113, baguette-shaped, 40-hour power reserve
Functions: hours, minutes
Price: red gold $41,700/€45,900/CHF 45,000; red gold with diamonds $48,000/€52,800/CHF 51,900; white gold with diamonds $61,500/€67,600/CHF 66,400
Also published on Medium.