Corum Corum’s Bridge to the Future
Why the year 2020 will mark a major milestone for Corum and the Golden Bridge, Admiral and Bubble collections.
Not many may know that Corum was established in 1955 and perhaps even fewer have heard of Gaston Ries or his nephew René Bannwart, the two founders of the brand. However, many watch enthusiasts will probably have heard of the Golden Bridge, Admiral’s Cup and Bubble watches, the three main collections of the brand. These are iconic and easily recognizable models that define the brand.
Big Bubble 52 Magical Djibril Cissé © Corum
In 2018, the Admiral’s Cup line was renamed the Admiral as Corum had ceased its association with the yachting regatta of the same name. The original Admiral’s Cup watch was a square case and it was created back in 1960. Corum became involved with the Admiral’s Cup in 1983 when it introduced its redesigned Admiral’s Cup watch featuring a 12-sided case with nautical pennants around the dial.
Corum’s largest market is Asia in terms of sales revenues and it is predominantly Greater China, says Soon Boon Chong, global sales and marketing director, Montres Corum, highlighting that Asia accounted for 60% of the brand’s overall sales. Mainland China, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Macau contributed around 40% to turnover.
Soon Boon Chong, global sales and marketing director, Montres Corum © WorldTempus/Timmy Tan
At its peak, Corum used to produce around 18,000 watches a year. However, production volumes are much lower these days. In 2017, Corum produced between 7,000 and 7,500 pieces and in 2018, this rose to around 9,100 units in 2018.
Which collection holds the key to the brand? Well, all its collections are integral to the brand’s success. While the Admiral line is the most popular in terms of volume sales, it is the Golden Bridge that accounts for 60% of the brand’s sales.
Admiral 45 Squelette © Corum
“The average entry price of a Golden Bridge is around CHF30,000 while that for an entry-level Admiral is generally between CHF3,500 and CHF3,800. Therefore, we will need to sell 10 Admirals to obtain the same sales number for just one Golden Bridge. In 2018, we made many unique Golden Bridge watches for different customers. We cannot compete in many areas with others but we can be faster, bolder and more creative. This [customisation] is something we are good and strong at,” Soon Boon Chong explains.
Corum’s Golden Bridge was launched in 1980 and has long been housed in a barrel-shaped case. This changed in 2016 when Corum introduced the Golden Bridge in a round case equipped with a new CO 113 manual-winding movement. For 2019, there is the Golden Bridge Round 43 “Dragon”, offered in two variants: rose gold and white gold, and each is limited to 18 pieces. This is the first Golden Bridge in a round case featuring the 18K Chinese dragon with five claws embracing the movement. An earlier model featuring the dragon in the barrel-shaped case was created in 2015.
Golden Bridge Round 43 « Dragon » © Corum
Corum was sold to Citychamp Watch & Jewellery Group Limited, formerly known as China Haidian Holdings, a listed company on the Stock Exchange of Hong Kong in 2013 for USD90 million. From what we understand, an additional USD150 was thereafter pumped into the company. Interestingly, the brand has since had three CEOs, the third having left Corum in early 2019.
“It is not just about ‘who’ represents the brand to the customers because what is most important is the product itself. Our focus is the offering of quality products with strong designs,” says Soon Boon Chong. Indeed, products that sell well will spell success. Few people may know or even remember that the very same René Bannwart, co-founder of Corum, began his watchmaking career at Patek Philippe or that he once headed Omega’s creation department and was the gentleman behind the first Seamaster. However, many will easily remember the Golden Bridge, Admiral and Bubble watches.
Mini Bubble © Corum
“We have weathered worse storms. The brand is here to stay. We are currently in the midst of gearing up for 2020 as that is the year we celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Admiral [1960 to 2020], the 40th anniversary of the Golden Bridge [1980 to 2020], the 20th anniversary of the Bubble [2000 to 2020] and the 65th anniversary of the founding of Corum [1955 to 2020]. We will be launching an ultra-complicated Admiral watch in December 2019 and sometime later, a Golden Bridge that required two years of development time.” These, if we may add, are just some of the foundations supporting the bridge to Corum’s future.
Corum takes aesthetic daring to the heights of technical perfection. Through a number of collections, drawing on the fundamentals of traditional watchmaking, the manufacture continues to pursue its path free from the influence of passing trends.Find out more >
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