While Corum’s high-end watchmaking is typically associated with the tiny Golden Bridge movement, the brand’s latest creation is a surprisingly intriguing calibre with a novel construction. The Lab 02 is a tourbillon with vertical power reserve and double-disc date – entirely constructed as a “flying”, or “floating”, movement. Almost all of the wheels are secured only on one side, leaving them seemingly suspended in midair.
The Lab 02 has a genuinely interesting movement inside. A “flying” construction is not new, but it is usually applied to a key parts, like the barrel or tourbillon, for aesthetic effect or to keep the movement as slim as possible. Here the whole movement is flying, which results in a strikingly airy mechanical landscape. In fact, the Lab 02 is essentially a more complex execution of the concept behind the Ulysse Nardin Executive Tourbillon Free Wheel.
Because of its construction, the movement is large, which means the watch is huge – 45 mm wide and 13.4 mm high. But it is a necessity due to the mechanics and probably enhances the visual effect of the movement construction.
Harder to swallow is the price of 180,00 Swiss francs that puts the Lab 02 in a price segment where many well-established haute horlogerie brands compete. That’s especially so given the movement finishing appears adequate (neat and clean but mostly done with mechanical means) rather than excellent.
Admittedly, most other watches in the price segment are not as novel in terms of construction, but Corum doesn’t have enough of a name in high-end watchmaking. And that’s probably why the Lab 02 is a limited edition of just 10 watches.
The “floating” movement
The CO 300 movement inside the Lab 02 is the work of Le Cercle des Horlogers, a complications workshop that specialises in tourbillons. Located in Neuchatel, Le Cercle des Horlogers is also responsible for the movements in Jacob & Co. Twin Turbo Furious and the Kees Engelbarts Argentium Tourbillon we recently featured.
The movement has a single main plate on the case-back side, with everything built on top of the plate. Notably, the main plate is actually made up of several parts in two materials – skeletonised brass bridges that are clearly visible, as well as clear sapphire plates filling up the spaces in between.
Over on the front, it’s clear that nearly all of the moving parts are floating – there are barely any bridges on the dial of the watch. Most of the moving parts sit on extra-long axes, which no doubt make assembly and adjustment a major challenge.
A large, open barrel sits 12 o’clock, with the flying tourbillon, topped by a the Corum key logo, at six. On each side of the tourbillon are the power reserve and date respectively. Though the date display is relatively small, it is indicated by a pair of discs, one for each date numeral. This was done to keep the footprint of the date discs as small as possible, likely due to space constraints as well as to avoid getting in the way of the airy look of the movement.
The power reserve is also unusual. It’s visible through the sapphire window on the side of the case, with a long, arrow-tipped arm pointing to a vertical hours scale. Relying on a differential-gear based power reserve mechanism, the arm travels up and down an endless screw as the mainspring winds up and down respectively.
The Lab 02 will be produced on request, with most elements of the case being customisable. The case is offered in white or rose gold, as well as with gem setting, engraving, and other decoration. Only 10 will be made across all variants.
Key facts and price
Corum Lab 02
Case diameter: 45 mm
Case height: 13.4 mm
Material: 18k white or rose gold
Water resistance: 30 m
Movement: CO 300
Functions: Hours, minutes, and tourbillon regulator
Frequency: 21,600 beats per hour (3 Hz)
Power reserve: 55 hours
Strap: Alligator with folding buckle
Limited edition: 10 pieces (inclusive of all variants)
Price: 180,000 Swiss francs
For more, visit Corum-watches.com.
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