The Corum’s new Admiral’s Cup Minute Repeater Tourbillon 45 50th Anniversary edition (ref. 010.101.55/0001 AO12) successfully packs an in-house hand-wound caliber with a tourbillon escapement and a minute repeater complications. All these complications are packed in a mildly oversized 45-millimeter 18-karat red gold case without making it look like a mirror-polished Big Mac on your wrist. Predictably expensive, this ultra-luxury timekeeper nicely blends daringly sporty exterior with a set of complications that normally come with a lot more, um, traditional-looking timekeepers from the Top 3 of the Swiss watchmaking industry.
Okay, at 45 mm in diameter (that is, without the crown and lugs) and, at first glance, more than 15 mm in height, the case is huge. However, with the hand-wound Corum CO 010 caliber measuring only 32 mm in diameter and 5.35 in height, it seems that one of the most attractive models in Corum’s whole range is, so to say, huge by choice like a professional bodybuilder (or a USMC drill sergeant.)
I must admit that the current trend of supersizing ultra-luxury timekeepers looks distasteful (putting it mildly), but I understand the reasoning behind the gadget: there are a lot of wealthy customers that sincerely believe that an expensive wristwatch that costs almost like a fully loaded Lamborghini must also be large and, preferably, contain enough gold to pay the international debt of a small African nation. In this case, Corum simply follows the money.
On the other hand, Corum’s designers somehow managed to make the Tourbillon 45 well-proportioned so that it looks home on a normal wrist.
As you can see, the CO 010 movement is extensively skeletonized and is completely visible not only through the transparent case-back cover but also from the front: the watch sports a third, smoked sapphire crystal that acts as the timekeeper’s dial.
Of course, there is a cut-out in it to provide a completely unobstructed view at its nicely executed tourbillon module.
However, what is particularly interesting about this model, is the minute repeater winding mechanism.
To protect the movement from occasional damage, Corum’s engineers decided to hide the winding crown of the complication module inside the rotating bezel. To wind the mechanism’s spring, you will have to turn the bezel 27 degrees clockwise.
Of course, there is the price: the depth rating is now limited to a humble 30 meters, which is not that impressive for a nautical-themed timepiece.
According to the company, the Admiral’s Cup Minute Repeater Tourbillon 45 (ref. 010.101.55/0001 AO12)‘s total production will be limited at only 10 units for the whole year 2010.
Now, try to guess its price. Um, giving up already? Okay, just check it out below.
Build Quality: 5/5
Overall Legibility: 4.5/5
Nighttime Legibility: 4.5/5
Value for Money: 3.5/5
Overall Rating: 4/5
Corum Admiral’s Cup Minute Repeater Tourbillon 45 (ref. 010.101.55/0001 AO12) specification
Price range: $360,000 (MSRP)
Movement: Caliber CO 010, in-house, 319 parts, 32.0 mm in diameter, 5.35 mm thick, Swiss Made
Cadence of balance: 21,600 vph
Functions & Complications: Hours, minutes, tourbillon, minute repeater
Power reserve: 72 hours
Case: Red gold, 18-karat
Size: 45.00 mm
Dial: Sapphire crystal, tinted; Visible parts of movement with grey PVD coating, tourbillon cage at 5 o’clock
Hands: Red gold
Water resistance: 30 meters
Strap: Black crocodile leather (22/20 mm) with red gold tang buckle
Crystal: Sapphire, antireflective