First created in late 2018, the Corum LAB 01 Damascus Steel Watch collection focuses on establishing a dialogue between the past and the future, and two limited edition creations were debuted then.
The latest Lab 01 models retain their distinctive barrel-shaped cases like their predecessors, but Corum has chosen to produce the cases for these new timepieces in Damascus steel- a first for the brand.
Instantly recognizable by its wavy pattern, Damascus steel is a type of alloy well-known to knife and sword makers. The history of ancient Damascus steel dates back to as early as the 4th century A.D., where the ancient city of Damascus was then well known for its weapon-makers and metallurgical prowess.
Damascus steel is known for its exceptional hardness and resistance to shatter. Blades made from this material are sharper, stronger and more flexible than others. The usage of Damascus steel serves as a nod to history, while the futuristic design of the Lab 01 embraces the experimental and modernistic approach to watchmaking that Corum stands for.
The Heritage Corum Lab 01 Damascus timepieces are driven by the caliber CO 410, a curved, barrel-shaped skeleton movement that has been designed specifically to fit the case. The dial is accented with blue or green details; and on both sides of the case, are rubber inserts in the same color. The signature Corum micro-rotor visible beneath the sapphire crystal has been finished with a contemporary spiral effect, which in itself is visually stunning when it begins to rotate.
The Damascus steel case is given black DLC-treatment, while the movement is also given Cotes de Genève finishing and offers a 50-hour power reserve. The hour and minute hands are filled with Superluminova in the same color as the rubber inserts to enhance their legibility against the dark-colored background. The fact one is unable to predict how the wavy patterns on Damascus steel will turn out during the forging process also means that every watch case will have a unique pattern like no other.
In late 2018, Corum introduced a new collection called Lab 01 to accommodate timepieces that didn’t fit within the brand’s signature Admiral or Golden Bridge lines. Positioned as a juxtaposition of heritage elements and cutting-edge mechanics, the line now welcomes two new models that perfectly embody Lab 01’s hybrid ethos.
For starters, the pieces—blue and green versions of the Heritage Corum Lab 01 Damascus—are encased in Damascus steel, the forged steel used for the blades of expert swordsmen in the ancient world. Distinguished by its trademark patterns, the alloy has been sought after throughout history for its extreme hardness and superplasticity (meaning it doesn’t shatter). And yet to look at the watches is to admire timekeeping at its most futuristic: From the tonneau-shaped skeletonized cases to the hour and minute hands filled with Super-LumiNova to a black DLC treatment on the Damascus steel, the watches feature ultra-contemporary styling.
“Part of Corum’s DNA is to use cutting edge mechanics and a mixture of the old and new,” says Boon Chong Soon, global sales and marketing director of Montres Corum. “We selected Damascus steel for this futuristic watch collection, as it has been around for hundreds of years and it seemed like the perfect blend of the past with the future. Damascus steel has never really been explored in the field of watchmaking although some other brands have used it, but not in a full-fledged collection.” The Heritage Corum Lab 01 Damascus models are equipped with caliber CO 410, a curved, barrel-shaped skeleton movement designed specifically for the 39.89 mm x 55 mm case and offering 50 hours of power reserve. The dials are accented with blue or green details, while rubber inserts in a matching color decorate the sides of the cases.
Available in a limited edition of 99 pieces, each of the Heritage Corum Lab 01 Damascus models retails for $16,800. (Two versions in Titanium are also being offered with red or white accents for $13,800.)
But wait—there’s more! For those who like Corum’s experimental side, stay tuned for another infusion of newness in spring 2020.
“As we want to continue to push boundaries further, after Baselworld next year we will be launching the Lab 02 Collection, which will be completely different from the Lab 01 Collection,” Soon says, “with limited editions highlighting an advancement in materials with a brand new usage.”