“Simplicity is the hardest thing of all to achieve” Vincent Calabrese
1977 – An encounter between two creative geniuses
Mr. Vincent Calabrese is a self-taught, non-conformist individual who has been inventing and making watches that have repeatedly challenged watchmaking conventions and certainties since 1975. In the 1980s, he conceived the idea of creating a movement with linear gear trains, mounted within a transparent exterior and isolated in space without any visible connection. Calabrese achieved this tour de force and his patented creation was rewarded at the 1977 edition of the Geneva International Inventors’ Show. The patent covered the ingenious winding and time-setting system via the barrel arbor, a device that avoided the need to fit two crowns.
René Bannwart, founder of Corum and himself a creative talent with a passionate interest in watchmaking, identified the very real potential of this idea and acquired the patent. This proved a master-stroke for the brand, which drew and subsequently developed the plans of all components before proceeding to build the movement.
1980 – Launch of a world first
The year 1980 witnessed the introduction of the first Golden Bridge with its delicately hand-engraved baguette movement. This prodigiously slender world-famous revolution was an immediate hit with connoisseurs and collectors of fine watches and earned Corum the title of an authentic watch manufacture.
Thirty years later, this now legendary movement remains a concentrated blend of Fine Watchmaking and a unique expression of the art of horology.
The artisan behind the partnership
For Antonio Calce, CEO and partner of the brand, it would have been inconceivable not to capitalize, by means of new product developments, on the only watch movement built in a straight line: the Golden Bridge. This determination led to the creation of a complete product line with four movement functions, to the point of extending the concept to a contemporary version presented in 2009, the Ti-Bridge.
Speaking of the partnership, Antonio Calce said: “The Golden Bridge is an emblematic model for the brand and a fundamental pillar of our collection. This is an incredible opportunity to renew ties with the inventor of an idea that enabled Corum to create and develop this iconic movement, which continues to appeal to devotees and connoisseurs of Fine Watchmaking over 30 years after its creation.” The partnership will also serve as a platform for the worldwide promotion of the Golden Bridge through a very special spokesperson and as a legitimate means of conveying the historical message of this creation. Moreover, Mr. Vincent Calabrese will contribute his creative ideas to Corum’s movement Research & Development department headed by Laurent Besse.
Corum Bridges – a collection unique on the watch market
The Golden Bridge model and its exceptional baguette movement made an indelible imprint on watchmaking history. Based on a principle of linearity and requiring extraordinary horological expertise, the Golden Bridge movement – an exclusive Corum feature – has since revealed the full strength of its potential by giving rise to some of the brand’s most fabulous timepieces united within the Bridges collection. In 2009, the Golden Bridge baguette movement inspired the creation of the contemporary and sophisticated Ti-Bridge, while 2010 saw the emergence of the first Golden Bridge tourbillon movement. This fantastic lineage undoubtedly entered a whole new era in 2011 with the arrival of the automatic-winding Golden Bridge movement equipped with a linear oscillating weight. Over thirty years since the introduction of the Golden Bridge movement, the Bridges collection now featuring various evolved versions of the original calibre is still without equal in the watchmaking world.
Short profile of Vincent Calabrese
The story of a man that nothing predestined for watchmaking
Mr. Vincent Calabrese was born in Naples in 1944. After been expelled from school at the age of 12, he was hired by a watchmaker’s shop on the spur of the moment to replace an absent apprentice, who nonetheless returned three weeks later. Having acquired a few basic watchmaking skills and tools, Mr. Vincent Calabrese began working as a street watchmaker. Upon turning 17, he decided to leave Italy for Switzerland, where he was taken on by various watch companies in the Jura region and developed a solid range of watchmaking skills. It was in 1975 that this exceptional watchmaker launched his own business. He has consistently set himself new challenges in order to fulfil impossible dreams – the kind that have resulted in creations such as the “Spatiales” watches. In 1985 he inaugurated the Horological Academy of Independent Creators (AHCI) as a co-founder. It was within this innovation-friendly context that he created the world’s first “flying” or cantilevered wristwatch tourbillon that is still the thinnest in the world. As the artisan behind a wide range of technical and aesthetic feats, Mr. Vincent Calabrese has many achievements to his credit. In 2012, he took over the activities of the Kazès clockmaking company, with the challenge of industrialising production and ensuring the continuity of this historical brand – a mission he is still pursuing.