Corum Ti-Bridge Limited Edition - An Example of Modern Elegance ¶
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Ever since the seventies, when Gerald Genta gave the world the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak and the Patek Philippe Nautilus, less elegant watches made of non-precious metals have become accepted as luxury items. Never before as in the past decade, however, has traditional high-end horology been so intertwined with casual style. Manufacturers such as Bell & Ross, Roger Dubuis, Jaeger Lecoultre, and Corum have delighted watch enthusiasts with fantastic creations that blur the line that separates traditional elegant luxury and rugged functionality and style. Perfectly balanced between these two aspects of watchmaking is the runner up 2009 Watch of the Year, the limited edition Corum Ti-Bridge.
The CO 007 calibre that powers Corum's Ti-Bridge plays an important role in determining the style of the watch. It is the focus of the entire piece. The movement is a modernized version of the company's infamous Golden Bridge calibre. While delicate hand engraved decorations do not dance upon its elegant golden facade, the titanium bridge movement still demonstrates the traditional concept of beautiful watchmaking. The fine finish of all the parts and well balanced, streamlined components will impress. Once the mechanism is in motion the hypnotizing oscillation of the balance wheel, which runs at a frequency of 4hz, is clearly exposed for the wearer to see. The watch must be wound manually making the 3-day power reserve a welcome feature offered by the large, wonderfully finished mainspring barrel visible at three o'clock. An engraved titanium bridge is placed under the hands and partly covers the winding system and the minute and hour wheels. This Corum plate also acts as the closest thing to a dial on the Ti-Bridge.
As the name of the watch announces, titanium is the primary player in its structure. The very light and strong metal does a great job of modernizing the Bridge concept. Due to its strength and rigidity it is extremely hard to machine. It is a truly modern material that only entered the watchmaking field in 1980 when IWC painstakingly manufactured a titanium Chronograph for Porsche Design. Since then, improvements in technology and alchemy have brought about progress such as the ability to polish titanium to a glossy finish. Before its first horological use in 1980, it was thought impossible to polish the metal at all.
Corum makes good use of modern manufacturing technologies by applying alternating finishes on different parts of the watch case. The bezel and parts of the crown demonstrate a high-gloss polish, while the rest of the parts including the case back are brush finished and display various directions. Typical to Corum, each element of the watch displays immaculate machining and finish. The 42.5 mm case is not exceedingly large, but its square-like shape beefs up its appearance and can be considered slightly oversize. The large crown also enhances the shape and feel of the case, while making the watch very comfortable to wind. This is ideal for a hand-wound mechanism.
The design of the Ti-Bridge lives somewhere in between sporty and elegant. While it is not traditional in its elegance -- using modern non-precious materials and showing off structural components such as screws -- it does not venture completely into the casual, rugged world of sport watches. Combining delicate and watch making techniques and luxurious finishes, this is definitely a timepiece meant for elegant soirées or special events. The luscious, black alligator strap complements the refinement of the timepiece. What its light, large, and modern design enables the Ti-Bridge to do is substitute the use of very sporty luxury watches, such as a Royal Oak Offshore or a Rolex Daytona, in casual situations.
Corum's new C-007 in-house Bridge movement is housed in a respectively innovative and impressive watch. The Ti-Bridge, limited to 750 pieces, shows off the company's watchmaking abilities as well as their status as producers of contemporary and forward-looking designs.
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