Corum Relaunches its Legendary Coin Watch: A Timeless Curiosity

Corum Relaunches its Legendary Coin Watch: A Timeless Curiosity

A watch as round as a coin… In this age of connectivity, when objects worn on the wrist can even perform contactless payments, Corum rolls out a legend. We look back at an era of pure design.

By Joël A. Grandjean

It's here at last! First introduced in 1964, by designer and Gaïa prize-winner, René Bannwart. After having contributed to the birth of such legendary models as the Omega Constellation, Bannwart founded his own business at La Chaux-de-Fonds with the aid of his uncle, Gaston Ries. Corum first came into being in 1955, adopting its logo as a key pointing skywards, symbolising new doors to be opened.

René Bannwart, a pioneer in watchmaking

A highly prolific creative genius of contemporary watchmaking, Bannwart had a string of design successes to his name, a supreme example of these being the Coin Watch. The watch made its mark by illustrating the brand's supreme mastery of the extra-flat mechanical movement. In an act that poked fun at the money market, the mechanical calibre was ingeniously housed within a genuine 22 K gold 20-dollar coin. Click here for our article "Wrist-borne values"

The Coin Watch has remained a permanent feature in the catalog of a brand that has survived a series of takeovers throughout the years. It has been the subject of special commissions for coin lovers, and now, it has suddenly been given a new lease on life. For connoisseurs, at least, its resurrection was inevitable. It's almost unbelievable that a brand with such a legend to its name could ignore this treasure for so long. History buffs, too, had been looking forward to its revival since Corum timepieces have been worn by a number of American presidents. Even before Patek Philippe's famous advertising pitch on the notion of eternity and the inability to ever truly possess a generational legacy, Corum had been advocating the idea of wearing your wealth on your wrist and telling the time by the same token.

Three models in 2017

Three versions have been created, each boasting a diameter of 43 mm. The first is the truest to the original, notably due to the brand's decision not to feature the logo for the sake of aesthetics. Its visible face therefore remains pure in essence and brings back to life a watch once worn by a handful of American presidents and aesthetes, including Andy Warhol. The second version, however, features a silver dollar coin dial, swept over modestly and sedately by two simple blue hands set against the Chaux-de-Fond logo.

Finally, there is a re-edition of a model first created in 1973 to mark the 25th anniversary of the day on which Israel's independence was declared by David Ben Gurion: 14 May 1948. This third interpretation, which is also bereft of the brand's logo, houses the automatic calibre Corum CO 082, like its sister pieces. The movement is wound as a result of the natural motion of the wearer, thereby holding it perfectly harmless from the disruptions of the global economy and currency fluctuations.

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