Set sail in the unique world of dodecagonal bezels and colourful nautical pennants with the new Corum Admiral Collection
Editor’s note: Like you, we are also excited for the releases from the Watches & Wonders 2021. Before we get to dive deep into the releases and go hands-on with as many of these as the two of us here can, here’s our preview and the Gut Reaction Review (Grr…) of the new Corum Admiral collection. For our other detailed hands-on reviews, please head to our dedicated reviews section here.
Corum’s Admiral collection gets an update, and how! I love it when brands actually listen to consumers. The first thing that strikes me (positively) about the new releases is the increased water-resistance. Up until now, as far as I know, the Admiral collection featured only 50m water-resistance, which for an aquatic themed collection kinda sinks. This increase to a 100m I am sure will appeal to a lot of enthusiasts and should also silence a number of critics.
The next reaction is to welcome this increased water-resistance inside the iconic design architecture of Admiral series. Personally, the shape is as iconic as Patek’s Nautilus, AP’s Royal Oak, Cartier’s Tank and JLC’s Reverso. This emblematic dodecagonal or twelve-sided case is always the peak attraction for me when it comes to Corum, providing these timepieces with a distinctive and memorable quality.
No first impression of a Corum Admiral can be complete without referring to the oddly cut-out indices, that in a ‘pug’ or a ‘bulldog’ way really add to the charm of these watches. I mention these ‘pugs’ and ‘bulldogs’ because technically they ain’t the definition of good looking animals. But there is something so ‘weird’ about them, that they become very attractive. In the same way, the index layout is not the most appealing way of placing time-assisting devices on a watch, but somehow, together with the dodecagonal case, they end up looking handsome.
The instantly recognisable case, along with the colourful 12 flags of the International Code of Signals — ICS is an international system of naval signals and codes — present in the form of the semaphore-inspired indices on the blue dialled ref. A395/04246 – 395.110.20/F373 AB52 with a matching rubber strap really sets the bar high for Corum’s 2021 novelties.
The new Corum Admiral collection really ups the ante and is best suited for those who appreciate the idea of wearing something iconic yet different on their wrists.
Corum brings out the big guns for Watches & Wonders 2021, revamping and enhancing their definitive Admiral collection by adding a total of whopping 17 references with varying case materials, dials in both limited and regular productions.
Mr Grey Will See You Now
The leader of the pack is the new tourbillon. But my personal favourite out of the lot is the limited-edition of 100-pieces only monochromatic grey coloured beauty, the ref. A395/04128 – 395.201.20/V800 AK50, which makes use of the emblematic flag indices but tones them down. The sandblasted finish with anti-fingerprint coating is too sweet a deal to miss out on.
This reference features the calibre CO 395 which uses as its base the workhorse ETA 2895 movement. Coincidently, the new Chronoswiss Open Gear ReSec LE for Watches & Wonders 2021 also uses the same base calibre. Based on the specs of the ETA 2895, caliber CO 395 should comprise of 33 jewels. It beats at the frequency of 4Hz and offers a 42-hour power reserve. The ETA 2895-2 is 25.6mm in diameter and 4.35mm thick and features hacking seconds, quick date correction, a three-legged Glucydur balance, and Incabloc shock absorbers.
The movement is encased inside a 42mm diameter and 10.3mm thick dodecagonal sandblasted with anti-fingerprint coating stainless steel case. The bracelet including the buckle thankfully matches the case and bring a sense of coherency to the package. The only thing I would change is the 21mm interhorn lug spacing as I find it easier to replace straps in 20mm sizing.
Moving inwards on to the dial, I like the clutter-free approach and that the 3’o clock date doesn’t seem obtrusive. The rhodium-coated and partially in-filled with grey superluminova dauphine hands work well with the overall design, and their faceted and skeletonised look adds to the appeal. These also complement well the indices with similar treatment and the brass grey graduated dial.
The same movement has been used in the other references released as part of the extended 42mm family.
Quest For Horological Excellence
Coming back to the leader of the pack, the tourbillon model, I must say it reminds me a lot of Hublot watches, but without the borrowed design language of Franck Muller or Richard Mille watches.
The Corum Admiral 45 Openworked Tourbillon ref. A298/04277 – 298.100.46/F249 AD10 is limited to only 48-pieces, and characteristically, is fairly distinctive compared to the Admiral 42 series. Besides the stunning carbon with gold inclusions case, it also impressively features an in-house movement, the calibre CO 298.
We have seen this movement before in 2019’s Corum AC-One 45 Openwork Automatic Tourbillon. The CO 298 comprises of 37 jewels, beats at the low frequency of 3Hz and offers an impressive 72-hour power reserve. The black brass dial is distinctly noticeable for its 5N gold-toned brass flange and offers the functions of central hours and minutes along with a flying tourbillon at 6’o clock, a power reserve indicator at 3’o clock and a 3-minutes counter at 9’o clock.
The 45mm diameter and 14.30mm thick watch again features an impressive 100m water-resistance, a 5N 18k rose gold crown, open back cover in titanium grade 5 with black PVD treatment with glare-proof sapphire crystal, and a bi-material — rubber and synthetic textiles with genuine gold stitching — strap with a triple folding clasp in grade 5 titanium with black PVD treatment.
The new Corum Admiral collection also updates their Admiral 42 Automatic Chronographs range with these clean-cut dials and an increased 100m water-resistance.
We are presented with all stainless steel watches with two dial colour variations, black and white. These are regular production models that feature the calibre CO 984 that comprises of 37 jewels, beats at the frequency of 4Hz and provides a 42-hour power reserve. The movement is encased inside a 42mm diameter and 11.60mm thick dodecagonal case with an exhibition case-back.
Something For The Ladies
I always appreciate when brands release ladies versions of their poplar timepieces that are NOT quartz.
Corum for 2021 presents new 38mm watches in lightweight titanium with the choice of a white dial (regular production), pink dial (limited to 150-pieces) or brown (limited to 150-pieces). Again with 100m water-resistance and display case-backs, these are for the ladies who take their horology serious but know how to have fun. They feature the calibre CO 082 that comprises of 25 jewels, beats at the frequency of 4Hz and provides a 42-hour power reserve. These are aesthetically best defined by the use of ‘Grenadier fendu’ (pattern) finishing on the dial and 72 round diamonds on the bezel. These ~ 0.65 ct. diamonds on the bezel really define the watch face and bring out the dodecagonal design nicely. My pick of the lot is the brown dial version on a rubber strap, the ref. A082/04263 – 082.202.44/F372 BR12.
Giving there are 17 references here, and it can get confusing, please see below the models with their respective reference numbers:
- Admiral 45 Openworked Tourbillon ref. A298/04277 – 298.100.46/F249 AD10 that is limited to 48-pieces with a black dial and a carbon with gold inclusions case
- Admiral 42 Automatic ref. A395/04128 – 395.201.20/V800 AK50 is limited to 100-pieces with a graduated grey dial and a sandblasted stainless steel case
- Admiral 42 Automatic ref. A395/04240 – 395.110.20/V720 AB52 is part of the regular production with a sunray blue dial and a stainless case and bracelet
- Admiral 42 Automatic ref. A395/04246 – 395.110.20/F373 AB52 is the same as above except comes on a rubber strap
- Admiral 42 Automatic ref. A395/04247 – 395.110.20/V720 AA24 that is part of the regular production with a white dial and a stainless case and bracelet
- Admiral 42 Automatic ref. A395/04249 – 395.110.24/V720 AA24 that is limited to 50-pieces with a white dial, steel case and 5N 18k rose gold bezel and a stainless steel and 5N 18k rose gold
- Admiral 42 Automatic ref. A395/04249 – 395.110.24/V720 AA24 is the same as above but comes on a rubber strap
- Admiral 42 Chronograph ref. A984/04251 – 984.111.20/V705 AA42 that is part of the regular production with a white dial and a stainless case and bracelet
- Admiral 42 Chronograph ref. A984/04252 – 984.111.20/V705 AN52 that is part of the regular production with a black dial and a stainless case and bracelet
- Admiral 42 Chronograph ref. A984/04253 – 984.111.20/F371 AN52 that is the same as above but comes on a rubber strap
- Admiral 38 Automatic ref. A082/04239 – 082.202.42/F378 PN12 that is limited to 150-pieces with a pink dial, titanium grade 5 case and titanium grade 5 bezel with 72 round diamonds ~ 0.65 ct. and a rubber strap
- Admiral 38 Automatic ref. A082/04242 – 082.202.42/V800 PN12 that is the same as above but comes on a titanium grade 5 bracelet
- Admiral 38 Automatic ref. A082/04243 – 082.202.04/V800 AA25 that is a part of the regular production with a white dial, titanium grade 5 case and titanium grade 5 bezel with 72 round diamonds ~ 0.65 ct. and a titanium grade 5 bracelet
- Admiral 38 Automatic ref. A082/04244 – 082.202.44/F379 AA25 that is a part of the regular production with a white dial, titanium grade 5 case and 5N 18k rose gold bezel with 72 round diamonds ~ 0.65 ct. and a rubber strap
- Admiral 38 Automatic ref. A082/04262 – 082.202.44/V800 AA25 that is a part of the regular production with a white dial, titanium grade 5 case and 5N 18k rose gold bezel with 72 round diamonds ~ 0.65 ct. and a titanium grade 5 and 5N 18k rose gold bracelet
- Admiral 38 Automatic ref. A082/04263 – 082.202.44/F372 BR12 that is limited to 150-pieces with a brown dial, titanium grade 5 case and 5N 18k rose gold bezel with 72 round diamonds ~ 0.65 ct. and a rubber strap
- Admiral 38 Automatic ref. A082/04263 – 082.202.44/F372 BR12 that is the same as above but on a titanium grade 5 and 5N 18k rose gold bracelet
Corum is known for four collections, and coincidently the nautical-themed Admiral happens to be my favourite. It’s more fun, colourful, laid-back, and different than most timepieces out there in that price range, and I admire it for that. Come to think of it I also appreciate the Ulysses Nardin Marine collection, the Breguet Marine collection, and Cartier’s now discontinued Ronde De Croisiere collection. Given I own something from the latter two, I may be a bit biased here, but personal preference or not, I really believe that the new Corum Admiral 42 in grey is simply a muted stunner.
Besides the Admiral collection, there is of course the Golden Bridge series that is a work of mechanical art and engineering, but for mortals like me with limited budgets, it’s not even a pipe dream. The Bubble and Heritage collection nicely round up the relatively young brand’s collections.
Corum has come to be known for its creative and daring watchmaking approach, and their over six-decade long-run has helped them find their own unique voice. The new Corum Admiral collection for Watches & Wonders 2021 is a testament to that.
In the press release, Corum succinctly defines these new releases:
“Today, to celebrate its mastery of the maritime watch, Corum releases a host of new Admiral watches that embrace a lifestyle attitude perfect for today’s navigators and sailors, as well as for those who simply love the seas”.
I would have loved if, with these upgrades, Corum also included an in-house movement in the standard 42mm diameter references, even if it was just reserved for the limited-edition version.
That’s All Folks!
Before I wrap this up, I have to hark back to the 45mm tourbillon version that with its unique case crafted in fluctuating layers of ultra-light carbon mixed with 18-karat gold glitter is not only unique but also mesmerising to look at. Aesthetics aside, the open-worked movement that is visible on both the dial side and case-back side and features meticulously finished bridges and constantly rotating flying tourbillon escapement is a perfect instance marking the brand’s horological prowess.
So there you have it: with 17 references comprised of both limited edition exclusive runs and regular production runs Corum starts its 2021 journey on a grand scale. There is enough variety and variation here for both casual watch enthusiasts and serious watch collectors.
It’s time to set sail in the world of Corum that presents a whole new side of horology with iconic dodecagonal bezels and colourful nautical pennants.
To find out more about the new Corum Admiral Collection and other Corum watches, please head to their website here. All images unless otherwise specified are 2021 © CORUM Watches – All rights reserved. Make sure to check out our reviews of other Watches & Wonders 2021 releases here.