With the increasing use of ceramic in watchmaking this was bound to happen - a Corum Golden Bridge Ceramic edition. And of course, it is exquisitely sleek. It's inner workings are as transpicuous as ever and its slender movement is as ethereal and distinctive as before, an ultra slim and delicately decorated harmonious composition of neatly lined-up mechanisms. Nothing obscures it, not even the hands which are open-worked so as not to spoil the panorama of its beauty.
If you know Haute Horlogerie, then you'll already be familiar with the Golden Bridge collection so instead let's concentrate on its creator Vincent Calabrese.
With even a cursory glance at Mr. Calabrese's portfolio it becomes clear, this is a man capable of manipulating a watch movement to take whatever form he chooses. Symbols, animals and countries - all are represented in his Symboliques collection. Similarly his Personnelles models feature letter-shaped calibres and his Esprit watches present the "essence of his philosophy of art in an abstract way". Visionary delights are to be found throughout his work and each piece upon viewing takes the observer a little further into the realms of chimerical watchmaking.
In 1984 Vincent Calabrese co-founded the AHCI with Svend Andersen. Six members took part in their first exhibition a year later. Now no watch fair is complete without an AHCI presence and the organisation has been vital to the growth of the current generation of independent watchmakers. His biography on the AHCI website describes him as "a self-taught, iconoclastic watchmaker-philosopher". Not having yet met him, I feel that I like him already.
Vincent Calabrese is also credited with the comeback of the baguette watch movement. Once popularised in the Art Deco era such a mechanism had fallen from favour as it required bespoke components and presented a high degree of difficulty and was therefore expensive to make. Mr. Calabrese reduced the amount of components by simplifying the winding system, and in 1977 received a gold medal in Geneva for his prototype. His inventiveness caught the attention of René Bannwart, who alongside his uncle had founded Corum in 1955, and which had gained the reputation as a brand who dared to be different. Leaving behind the hippy-chic releases of the 1970's which included the Feathered Friend and Rolls Royce editions, in 1980 and just in time for Corum's 25th anniversary the first Golden Bridge watch was presented to the industry.
The story does not end there. Under the direction of Antonio Calce, Vincent Calabrese is now once again collaborating with Corum and along with Laurent Besse whose services Mr. Calce has also acquired it would seem that the company once viewed by many in the industry as the “other” watch brand, has perchance become the envy of some of the larger watchmaking companies, providing a sure and solid foundation for their Four Pillars.