The Corum LAB 02 is the latest, highly imaginative watch from the brand synonymous with the legendary Golden Bridge. It features a fly tourbillon and an ingenious movement which presents its constituent parts seemingly floating in mid-air.
In 1955, René Bannwart, Gaston Ries and Juliette Ries founded Corum. Over the years, the company has been no stranger to success. One reason for the firm’s prosperity can be attributed to its amazing ingenuity, something which has always been part of the Corum paradigm.
At the same time the Swiss watch industry was still experiencing the destructive consequences of the ‘quartz crisis’, Corum unveiled the highly innovative Golden Bridge (1980). This ingenious watch presented the keyless works, barrel, gear train, escapement and regulating organ in linear form, sandwiched between an upper and lower bridge. A highly innovative case, featuring four panes of sapphire crystal, flooded the movement with light, affording spectacular views of the innovative calibre.
Vincent Calabrese, the esteemed independent watchmaker, was instrumental in the development of the Golden Bridge. Like many of his counterparts, Calabrese experimented with an array of ideas, eager to push the boundaries of creativity and technical know-how. One of his passions was to simplify movements, reducing the number of components and their relative size, culminating in notably clean aesthetics. With the advent of the Golden Bridge of 1980, Calabrese’s philosophy was much in evidence. While the legendary watch has evolved over time, the fundamental ethos of the 1980 original has always been upheld.
Now, the Maison from La Chaux-de-Fonds has unveiled the Corum LAB 02 watch. This model is endowed with a flying tourbillon. Furthermore, the movement features an openworked mainplate which is subsequently placed on a clear, sapphire plate. The resultant appearance suggests all the movement components, along with the hour and minute hands, are magically levitating. Once again, Corum has shown its capacity for blue-sky thinking.
The brand’s press release
On the heels of launching its dynamic “Risk is the Reward” campaign, Corum takes the concept of daring innovation to all new heights with the Corum LAB 02 timepiece. Defying all watchmaking convention, the technically advanced watch boasts a new movement that was two years in the research and development stages. Revolutionary in its design, the new calibre is equipped with a flying gear train and a host of other firsts for the brand.
The LAB 02 is a perfect example of aesthetic perfection and extraordinary craftsmanship. The highly complicated manual movement stretches the imagination as well as the physical constraints of watchmaking. In its creation, Corum’s development team’s members challenged themselves to offer not only a flying tourbillon, but also a flying gear train of sorts. The question they posed: “What if the movement doesn’t have bridges?” They then tirelessly pursued their unconventional quest.
Two years later, Corum unleashes the LAB 02. Its calibre CO 300 consists of an impressive 416 individual components, each meticulously skeletonized and finely finished. Each piece is hand-assembled in a unique format with a flying tourbillon at 6:00, with flying wheels that track the hours, minutes and seconds, and with the bridge set directly onto the mainplate.
Additionally, building a movement that is not sandwiched between the mainplate and bridge was a technical challenge that had to be overcome. The LAB02 required a much longer axis for the gear train, and, without having a top bridge, needed ball bearings instead of rubies on the mainplate to add strength and stability. The single mainplate has also been highly skeletonized. The entire movement is then placed on a fully transparent sapphire plate that allows for magnificent visibility and gives the appearance that the elements are all floating in space.
LAB 02 is further equipped with a grand date function at 4:00 and its power reserve indicator (55 hours) is unusually placed so that it is visible via a sapphire glass on the side of the case at 8:00. Because of the extremely complicated nature of this 45mm watch, just 10 pieces will be made, each identified by a specific plate number on the barrel.
Each LAB 02 can be customized, as well, enabling personal selection of the colour of gold, the choice of diamond cuts and settings, or even of coloured gemstones. The starting price of the watch, in gold, without diamonds, is CHF 180,000.
Staying true to its founding philosophy of always being Avant-Garde in order to preserve its future, Corum developed the LAB series to showcase its unprecedented foray into distinctive and fearless watchmaking. The LAB 02 is the second laboratory watch to make its debut, with LAB 01 released in early 2019. This new pillar of the Corum family pays tribute to the brand’s founders who were always risk-takers and nonconformists. The entire premise of the LAB series is to break the mould by thinking outside of the proverbial box. LAB 02 certainly delivers.