Step aside Harry Winston and Dior with your feathered watch dials, back in the 1970’s, Corum captured the spirit of hippy-chic to perfection with their “Feathered Friend”, and now it’s back in their portfolio adding a touch of vibrancy to their new Heritage collection.
Under the watchful eye of Antonio Calce, Corum now has a trimmer portfolio, improved distribution and a re-focus on its Haute Horlogerie timepieces – but, no watch company CEO worth his salt can ignore the vintage trend which is sweeping through the industry and which looks like it is very much here to stay. Under his direction Corum has re-issued some of its vintage ladies watches and also the elegant Chargé d’Affaires and Grand Précis gent’s models. Now it is the turn of the Feather Watch, first released by Corum more that forty years ago, and looking entirely resplendent under the bright lights of Baselworld.
Even from the early days, Corum dared to be different with quirky timepieces which you either “got” or didn’t. This was the brand who split coins to create watch dials, who dared to engrave the numerals of their Romulus straight onto the bezel and who thought nothing of unveiling a watch which was an authentic replication of a Rolls Royce grille. So – perhaps in this context, the fact that Corum presented a watch with a feather art or “plumasserie” watch dial in 1970 should come as no surprise.
Artisan watches were everywhere in Baselworld, so the new Corum Feather watch blended perfectly into this highly desirable niche. Naturally as with all miniature artworks, there is a degree of difficulty involved in the creation of such a dial. First the feathers are chosen not only for their beauty but also their pigmentation and thickness, next they are hand-cut, cleaned and stabilized, so they will not fade over the coming years. Finally they are assembled in a creative process similar to marquetry before they are glued into place.
Even back in the 1970’s, feather dials were not a new phenomenon, in the past this technique was used to animate the dials of clocks and pocket watches, but it is nonetheless reassuring to see that Corum, like so many other watchmaking companies can delve back into their portfolios for inspiration only to find that natural materials can be used to great effect. Peacock feathers, back in the 19th Century would have been a luxurious feature, nowadays the byword is “sustainability”.
The Corum Feather watch is powered by the CO 082 automatic movement, enclosed in a 39mm case made from 18K red gold. Nothing detracts from the beauty of the dial – the Corum logo is etched straight onto the inside of the sapphire, and even the dauphine hands have been skeletonised so nothing spoils the flamboyant, textured panorama.