Corum Looks Forward (and Back) with the Futuristic Concept Watch

A familiar tourbillon in a hyper-modern and sustainable case.

Corum’s latest creation is the Concept Watch, a one-off timepiece that departs from the brand’s current offerings in its futuristic style. For a brand better known for the Golden Bridge and Admiral’s Cup, the Concept Watch is bold, different, and not for everyone.

Made of recycled titanium, the case contains a movement with a flying tourbillon and sapphire crystal bridges set against an aventurine base. The movement, however, is a La Joux-Perret calibre that’s been found in Corum watches for several years.

Initial thoughts

With most of its sports watches being large and ostentatious, it’s good to see the brand shifting towards something more elegant. The Concept Watch is compact at under 40 mm in diameter and relatively restrained in design.

While it is more appealing than most of Corum’s recent watches, there are caveats. I am not fond of the case design, which is too reminiscent of the Patek Philippe Nautilus. A round case with apertures that maximises the view of the movement, one similar to that of the Franc Villa FVF1 C2 Tourbillon Superligero, would have made this less derivative. Also, the strap attachment appears awkward, and will probably not make its way into other ways.

At the same time, even though the design is a break from the past, the CO374 movement has been employed by Corum for more than a decade now. It is a La Joux-Perret calibre found in various forms across several brands, including the Arnold & Son TES Tourbillon. Notably, Corum debuted a more interesting movement three years ago in the Lab 02, a limited edition that was something of an experimental watch.

Given the “concept” label, a proprietary movement would have been more fitting, especially considering the estimated US$465,000 retail price of the Concept Watch. Though this watch is not be available for purchase, the predicted pricing is hard to justify given the materials and movement. Some of the appealing elements of the design, however, could be usefully applied to other Corum models.

Design sketch of the Concept Watch

Unconventional design 

This watch continues the brand’s tradition of embracing unconventional design, a practice illustrated by models like the Admiral’s Cup and Golden Bridge, both of which were highly contemporary when they were launched in the 1980s. The Concept Watch is arguably a progression of the brand’s design evolution and its styling is reminiscent of the open-worked approach favoured by brands like Jacob & Co., though it maintains a more restrained feel.

The movement is the focus of the face, with the one-minute tourbillon at six and a sapphire barrel bridge revealing the open-worked barrel at 12 o’clock. The mechanical parts are set against a backdrop of aventurine mineral stone that is actually the base plate.

Interestingly, the tourbillon is not actually a flying tourbillon, although it appears to be so at a glance. In order to create “flying” illusion, the tourbillon is secured by a sapphire bridge on the top. In addition, the triangular cocks for the tourbillon and third wheel mimic the style found in antique pocket watches, while the tourbillon cage takes the form of the Corum key logo.

Another technical detail is the stacking of the hour and minute hands. Instead being positioned above the hour hand as is convention, the minute hand sits under the hour hand. This reversed position is due to the movement construction that inverts the usual placement of the motion works. In order to achieve the three-dimensional appearance with the barrel and tourbillon sitting closer to the crystal, the motion works are located below on the base plate, reducing the visual clutter.

The movement is the CO 374, which was developed by movement manufacturer La Joux-Perret (LJP) almost two decades ago. The calibre in its various forms has been supplied to many brands, but is recognisable from its layout and frequent use of sapphire bridges. It is hand-wound with a longish power reserve of up to 90 hours.

The movement is housed in a case with “ears” on each side that instantly evoke the Patek Philippe Nautilus. Constructed from recycled titanium, the case measures 39.5 mm in diameter and 12.5 mm high. 

On the reverse of the case is a screwed back that features a central vertical window that showcases the tourbillon, barrel, and gear train. Surrounding the window are engraved inscriptions in a calligraphic font that details the various functions of the watch.

Key facts and price

Corum Concept Watch
Ref. Z374/04426 – 374.100.04/0231 AV10G

Diameter: 39.5 mm
Height: 12.8 mm
Material: Recycled grade 5 titanium
Crystal: Sapphire
Water resistance: 50 m

Movement: CO 374
Functions: Hours, minutes and flying tourbillon
Winding: Hand-wound
Frequency: 21,600 beats per hour (3 Hz)
Power reserve: 90 hours

Strap: Fabric strap with oval ring loop

Limited edition: Single-example concept watch
Availability: Not available for purchase
Price: Estimated to be US$465,000 or 685,000 Singapore dollars (excluding taxes)

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