As we?ve said before (and no doubt will say again), while we focus very much on the affordable end of the watch market, we are not exempt from our eyes straying to what?s happening out on the upper reaches. Case in point, the recently-announced CORUM Heritage Lab 01 collection.

What caught my eye first with the CORUM Heritage Lab 01 collection (which is made up of four versions) are the materials being used. In this case, you?ve got two examples in titanium (nice) and two in damascus steel (very, very nice). I?ve long been a fan of damascus steel, and have covered a number of watches that feature it from GoS. The cases are a barrel, or tonneau, shape, which is distinctive for the brand. Another distinctive here is the brand?s focus on showing off the movement.

The dials of the CORUM Heritage Lab 01 are skeletonized, giving you a good look at the CO 410 movement working away underneath. What I particularly like about this movement is the fact that it features a micro-rotor. Ever since I discovered those were a thing, I?ve been enamored, and hope to have a watch with one some day. I like them because, well, they?re unique. They allow for packaging of the movement in such a way that you?ve retained the thinness of a manually-wound movement while still giving you the convenience of automatic winding. Interestingly, while you can see the rotor on the dial side, the balance wheel is not actually all that visible. When most brands open up the dial, that kinetic movement is generally featured front and center.

Then again, I?m not a huge fan of open dials in the main, though the CORUM Heritage Lab 01 seems to have kept things legible. This is accomplished via judicious use of paint to mark things, including good doses of it on the handset. Those hands – appropriately for watches with damascus – definitely have a sword-like feel to them. And if I let my artistic leanings take over a bit (and apply some poetic license) you could even view the colored stripes flanking the sword hands as very narrow shields. Or perhaps that just me watching too much The Last Kingdom (destiny is all, and I’m destined to start reading these books) and Vikings.

Then again, you might need to start some raiding excursions (don’t forget your sunstone) to pick up one of these watches. The CORUM Heritage Lab 01 collection is very much a limited edition, with only 99 pieces being produced of each color. The titanium versions (red and white dials) will run $13,800 while the damascus steel (blue and green dials) bump things up to $16,800. Definitely out of many of our budgets, but still a lovely piece to look upon. For now, I’ll be content to view the wavy damascus patterns in my Shun chef’s knife.

Watch Overview

  • Brand & Model: CORUM Heritage Lab 01 Collection
  • Price: $13,800 (titanium) / $16,800 (damascus steel)
  • Who we think it might be for: Not only do you like high-end Swiss watches, you?re a prize uniqueness in materials
  • Would I buy one for myself based on what I?ve seen? If money were no object, absolutely – the blue dial with damascus would be lovely. At this point, though, it?s quite out of the question
  • If I could make one design suggestion, it would be: Figure out a bracelet configuration – at this price point, a rubber strap just feels? inelegant (particularly with a 50m WR rating). Also, why not an option for a non-skeletonized dial?

Tech Specs from Corum

  • Watch Name: HERITAGE CORUM LAB 01
  • Availibility: Limited Edition : each color limited to 99 pieces
    • Movement number: CO 410
    • Winding system: Automatic
    • Functions: Hour & minute
    • Power reserve: 50 hours
    • Frequency: 4 Hz, 28?800 vph
    • Dimension: 38, 30 x 32mm
    • Rubies: 27
    • Movement finishes: C?tes de Gen?ve finishing * Micro rotor
  • DIAL
    • Colours: Charcoal grey & blue, red, white, or green
    • Distinctive features: CORUM logo transferred on the dial
  • CASE
    • Shape: Tonneau-shape
    • Dimension: 39.89 x 55.00 mm
    • Thickness: 11.75 mm
    • Case material:
      • Damascus steel or titanium with black DLC treatment, anti fingerprint
      • Case sides in rubber
    • Crown material: Damascus steel or titanium with black DLC treatment, anti fingerprint
    • Crystal: Sapphire crystal with anti-reflective treatment
    • Back type: Open back cover in Damascus steel with black DLC treatment, anti fingerprint with glare proof sapphire crystal
    • Water-resistance: 50 meters / 5 ATM
    • Hands (hour & minute)
      • Baton
      • Rhodium-coated
      • Faceted
      • Superluminova
    • Bracelet
      • Material: Rubber
      • Colours: Black
      • Interhorn/Buckle: 18mm
      • Buckle type: Triple folding clasp
      • Buckle material: Titanium grade 5
      • Buckle distinctive features: Black DLC treatment

ByPatrick Kansa

A big data developer and leader with a penchant for gadgets, books, watches and beverages. You can find my work on WristWatchReview, Knapsack.News, and Slushpile. If you're on Twitter and/or Instagram, you'll find me there as @PatrickWatches.