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One of Corum’s flagship timepieces has been the Admiral’s Cup, which has over the years become an iconic haute horlogerie watch. For its 60th anniversary in 2015, the brand improved on the Admiral’s Cup in a profound yet practical manner by creating the Admiral’s Cup Legend 42 Flying Tourbillon to turn conventional wisdom on its head.

Designed in the nineteenth century as a mechanism to improve timekeeping, the tourbillon is today the embodiment of Swiss micro-mechanical ingenuity, and arguably the most prestigious complication in watchmaking. But the tourbillon is so precious that it is a treasure only admired on occasion.

Corum conceived this finely crafted haute horlogerie timepiece while retaining its robust and practical shape and form and created the Admiral’s Cup Legend 42 Flying Tourbillon – a masterpiece for the wrist. Put simply, it was designed to be strapped on and enjoyed – every single day. With a tourbillon carriage mounted on enlarged ceramic ball bearings for resilience, the movement has the bridge and base plate machined from stainless steel, instead of the typical, softer brass. Only with the stiffness and strength of steel were the movement’s designers able to achieve the remarkable visual effect of the tourbillon seemingly floating as it makes one revolution a minute.

With the base plate and bridge terminating at four and eight o’clock on both sides of the movement, the tourbillon appears to be suspended in mid-air. But it is actually tethered to the movement by the two slender steel arms that are part of the bridge.

Finished with a fine straight graining, the base plate is visible through the smoked sapphire dial with a red gold galvanized Corum logo at nine o’clock. Just above it is the fan-shaped retrograde date display. Centered on a snail shaped cam that controls the retrograde function, the date hand crisply jumps from one day to the next, until it reaches the 31st. Then it jumps straight back to 1, marking the start of a new month.

From the rear, the view through the sapphire display back is equally clear. Instead of a conventional full rotor that would impede the view of the tourbillon, the caliber CO 016 is equipped with a micro-rotor decorated with the Corum logo in 18k red gold. Just 17 mm in diameter, the micro-rotor has a winding efficiency of two, meaning it can wind the mainspring to its full autonomy of 72 hours – a significant technical achievement since it powers not just the movement but also the rotation of the tourbillon cage.

The beauty of the Admiral’s Cup Legend 42 Flying Tourbillon can also be found in the tiniest details, like the poising screws of the balance wheel, a traditional feature of fine watchmaking used to optimize weight distribution around its rim. Or in the facetted, skeletonized and gilded hour and minute hands. Intricate yet functional, the red gold hands are elegantly legible against the smoked grey sapphire dial.

The essential detail that embodies the history of the Admiral’s Cup is the chapter ring with its 12 nautical pennants. Positioned as the hour markers, the pennants are a subtle reminder of the nautical heritage of the Admiral’s Cup. Echoing the 12 nautical pennants is the 12-sided bezel of the red gold case. With a 42 mm diameter and just 13 mm high, the case is constructed to be elegant yet robust, with a water resistance of 50 meters.