In Watches

If you ever have a chance to examine the Corum Golden Bridge watch, I heartily recommend that you take a look. Once you do, you may have a hard time putting it down. For anyone that loves timepieces, particularly those with really exceptional mechanical movements, spending a few contemplative moments with a Golden Bridge watch will almost certainly prove to be a very memorable experience.

If you aren’t familiar with the Corum Golden Bridge watch, allow me a moment to give you a small bit of background on it. It was designed in its original form for Corum by none other than the highly colorful independent watchmaker Vincent Calabrese, who co-founded the AHCI (the Horological Academy of Independent Creators) with fellow watchmaker Svend Andersen back in 1985. If a person was completely unaware any other of Calabrese’s fascinating watches, the Golden Bridge watch alone would be proof enough of an extremely creative and ingenious mind. This unique movement takes a beautiful, slender bridge made from a slender piece of 18K gold, and mounts the entire mechanism of the watch lengthwise along this vertical plane. To show it off, Corum created a striking exhibition case that was really more of a “frame” for the front and back sapphire crystals that made it possible to examine this singular work of horological art from every angle.

As beautiful as the original Corum Golden Bridge watch was, it wasn’t perfect. The initial design, while exceptional in its beauty, was also somewhat fragile, and apparently, its manually wound movement could be easily damaged by overzealous winding. So, it came to be that in 2005 Corum introduced a subtly updated version of this watch which sought to correct the minor technical issues of the original movement; they also made a gentle modification to the case design to allow for even greater viewing intimacy with the Golden Bridge movement. The Vaucher firm in Fleurier, which specializes in high-grade movements and difficult complications, re-engineered the movement, and the winding system in particular, so that now, the spectre of possible overwinding presents no real concern.

I’ll stop there, because I am not cognizant of the full gamut of differences between the original golden bridge movement and the one which Vaucher constructed at Corum’s behest. However, the beauty of this watch has not changed one bit, and it really is unlike any other watch that you will ever handle. In one sense, this movement is “simple”– it is manually wound, and shows only the time on two hands. Yet, it is extremely intricate in that one can see the whole extent of the mechanism, from winding works, to going train, to the escapement. This is fascinating, because for one, a non-engineer like myself gets a grasp of just how much complexity there is in the most fundamental of watch mechanisms, and on a broader level, it allows you to drift beyond the mundane (and sometimes discouraging) aspects of Time’s passage, as you get lost in the subtle nuances of each component and how it contributes to the function of the watch as a whole. If there ever was a watch that makes you slow down and savor, this has to be it. Take one of these watches into your hand, slowly wind the crown that is oh-so-elegantly situated at the bottom of the case, and let the journey begin…

Corum’s new case for the Golden Bridge watch really lets you get up close and personal, since it is slightly larger than its predecessor, and its gold or platinum case/cage has a greater area of transparent sapphire to facilitate viewing. After all, how many movements can you readily observe from the side? With this one you can, and it is a real pleasure – the central bridge itself, made from yellow, white, or rose gold is a work of art, adorned with a hand-engraved scrolling motif. Due to this hand-engraving, no two bridges are ever exactly alike.

Have you ever been frustrated with someone who goes crazy for sparkly diamonds, brilliant colored stones, or magnificently designed jewelry, but can’t see the equally stunning and very similar qualities in a finely decorated, intricate mechanical movement? I know I’ve been there – and for the life of me I don’t get it, either. With this watch however, you just might be able to get the message across. The Corum Golden Bridge watch is one amazing piece of horology, in which the movement IS the jewel; I doubt many people could fail to be captivated by its unique charms.

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