Skulls and coins are nothing new in horology. Clocks dating back to the earliest days of mechanical timekeeping came in the form of “Memento Mori” skulls or skeletons. Javelot, Thomas White, James Harmar, William Bowyer and countless other watchmakers whose names were not appended to their works provided skull clocks for myriad clients – not least members of the medical profession.
Coins, by virtue of both their shape and their value, all but begged to be hollowed out either to hold a smaller, complete and removable pocket watch, or used to act as the case itself, accepting a movement and dial fitted into the cavity. Starting mainly in the 19th century and continuing to this day, they attracted makers as revered as Audemars Piguet, Gübelin, Rolex, Movado, Cartier and too many others too list.
Wristwatches were even more obvious a subject for housing in a coin, thanks to the smaller calibres, but skulls-as-wristwatches – or merely decorating them – are more recent. Corum was there long before the current craze for skulls made them as common as car logos, with houses including Bell & Ross, Fiona Krüger, Cvstos, ArtyA, Angelus, Romain Jerome, HYT, Richard Mille and Speake-Marin placing skulls, grinning or otherwise, on their dials. In Krüger’s case, the skull is, er, the case.
Corum featured skulls in the first incarnation of the Bubble, during the first decade of this century and foreshadowed the skull for métiers des arts purposes in 2005. Thirteen years ago, the Classical Vanitas featured a skull made of marquetry-work, the materials being stone and marble parts meticulously cut to fit together like a mosaic.
As for the coin-as-a-wristwatch case, Corum has produced coin watches for over 50 years, since 1964. Powered by either an ultra-thin manual-wind or quartz movement and fitted inside a $20 “Double Eagle” or a $10 “Liberty” coin for a dial, with or without a diamond bezel, the Coin Watch has found owners including US presidents, Nobel prize laureates and (I have no doubt) casino owners or other denizens of Las Vegas, Monaco and Macau.
It is clearly for one of these oligarchs, plutocrats or mere billionaires that the unique Heritage Artisans Coin Watch was created. This one-off updates the genre and features a skull – very rock ’n’ roll – and a denim strap, so add to the list of potentially interested parties successful band managers, promoters or drug vendors.
Corum chose a US silver dollar and had the case hand-decorated with a skull, beneath black hands. Its credibility is assured, and one could easily see it going to a fan of the Grateful Dead, Iron Maiden and other bands with skeletal logos. Rock on.
Calibre CO 082 Automatic showing hours and minutes
43mm diameter, made from a US silver dollar coin