They are like one of those elusive sea monsters that are whispered about, and glimpsed very occasionally. Rumours float around for years, and they may come to something, or they may not. Laurent Picciotto’s resurrection of the Corum Toboggan Watch Replica Coins is a bit like that. The result could be a wild success or a total flop.
“I started the conversation within Corum around two years ago,” he recalls. “There were changes in management, new plans and other priorities that got in the way, for Corum as a whole and for me. When Jérôme Biard arrived, we resumed the conversation. And our discussions have now concluded.”
There is a great deal of debate on the topic of watches as art. Although a watch should not be art to be of notice, I’m a firm believer in their own capability to straddle the boundaries of purpose, form, and doctrine where appropriate. In the instance of those Corum Bubble watches, it seems to be a brand’s effort at developing a pristine objet d’art. It’s correct, the Corum Bubble watches aren’t really like anything else the brand makes (or similar to anything anyone leaves, for that matter), however they’re intended to be beautiful items, which is something they have in common with different timepieces bearing the Corum logo.The devotion to the world in these bits is unwavering. In my view, this group works simply because it’s so unconcerned with anything but the most loyal realisation of its own unique concept. To make the most of this re-release opportunity, Corum has partnered with famous cymbal manufacturer Paiste. Paiste have been enlisted to make a exceptional dial to get the Corum Bubble Paiste unique edition watch. The dial of the Corum Bubble Paiste is a tiny cymbal made by Paiste at precisely the exact same manner they would earn a full size cymbal. I’m quietly confident it would function as intended were it removed from the housing and attached to some kit, but even if it’s only for show, it seems excellent.
Man to man
Jérôme Biard is Corum’s new CEO. He has come up through the ranks, having worked for Richemont, and he has extensive experience in international distribution. Not incidentally, he has known Laurent Picciotto for over a decade. His arrival at Corum in the summer of 2017 gave a focus to their relationship and their shared ideas, particularly given that the founder of Chronopassion had been instrumental behind the scenes in orchestrating the return of the Bubble, which has become a pillar of Corum’s identity once again.
One of the ideas that emerged was that of bringing the Coins collection into the 21st century. As matters stand, there are things that we know, and things that we’ll have to wait a little longer to find out. In the first category: yes, Chronopassion and Corum have entered into a concrete collaboration to create a new Coins collection, which will be unveiled in Basel. The series will be made up exclusively of unique pieces. Why? Well, not for marketing reasons, given that their design has been entrusted to an external artist – a talented, disruptive, independent engraver.
The word is that there will be no more than thirty pieces per year. Chronopassion has apparently reserved half of them already for its Paris shop. Laurent Picciotto leaves us with a final hint: “We will be in the same price range as the historic Coins collections.” Which means we can expect the new collection to come in at around €20,000 apiece.
Speculation and fantasy
What we do not yet know is the identity of the artist concerned, and consequently the flavour of the new Coins. “You’d probably be correct in thinking that we won’t be starting out with a limited series dedicated to mimosas,” confides Laurent Picciotto, “Although I have nothing against mimosas per se…”
So we should be prepared for rock-inspired pieces, maybe with a touch of the gothic, skulls perhaps, and possibly some unusual materials, or coins from a specific era or in a specific style. It would be unwise to rule anything out. But we’ll know for sure in Basel, where Corum will unveil the collection’s introductory pieces at its booth. For now, confidence is not in short supply. Laurent Picciotto says he has some clients who “could snap up some or all of them straight away.” And that would be a great shame for the curious bystanders waiting for a glimpse of them in Basel. So you’d better not hang around. Be prepared to pay a visit to the Corum booth on the opening day, and you might just catch a rare sighting.