What does Corum’s latest timepiece the Heritage Corum Lab 01 Damascus and the ancient swords used by Crusaders? The answer is Damascus steel, a historical steel alloy that is known for its exceptional hardness and resistance to shattering.
Corum’s Lab 01 collection was first introduced in late 2018 to house timepieces that combine elements of both the past and the future. Now, Corum has introduced two new models with each limited to just 99 pieces.
Retaining their distinctive barrel-shaped cases, now encased in Damasus steel – a first for the brand, the latest Lab 01 models are distinguished by the wavy pattern of the metal.
Though the technique of producing Damascus steel was long thought to have been lost to time, thanks to technological advancements, metallurgists are able to reproduce modern-day Damascus steel that is said to have similar characteristics to the original.
But why bother going through all the trouble of resurrecting an ancient material? Well, the usage of Damascus steel serves as a nod to history, while the futuristic design of the Lab 01 embraces the experimental and modernistic approach to watchmaking that Corum stands for.
Within the Heritage Corum Lab 01 Damascus timepieces, each is driven by the calibre CO 410, a curved, barrel-shaped skeleton movement that has been designed specifically to fit the case. The dial is accented with blue or green details; and on both sides of the case, are rubber inserts in the same colour.
It is also worth noting that the signature Corum micro-rotor is visible beneath the sapphire crystal and has been finished with a contemporary spiral effect, which in itself is visually stunning when it begins to rotate.
Flip the watch around and you can admire how the Damascus steel case is given a black DLC-treatment, while the movement is also given Cotes de Genève finishing and offers a 50-hour power reserve.
The hour and minute hands are filled with Superluminova in the same colour as the rubber inserts to enhance their legibility against the dark-coloured background. The fact one is unable to predict how the wavy patterns on Damascus steel will turn out during the forging process also means that every watch case will have a unique pattern like no other.