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« Hobo Coin »

The American five-cent coin, made from nickel and issued shortly before the Great Depression were worth so little that even vagrants would rework them to earn a miserly profit. This earned them the name “hobo coins”, created from small change minted by the United States from 1913 onwards, serving as witness to a past of hope and roaming, creativity and popular crafts. They were the creation of travelling workers who crossed the continent in freight trains, soldiers bound for the front during the First World War, or penniless artists seeking a fleeting American dream.

Today, genuine hobo coins have become extremely scarce but since 1992, an independent organisation, the Original Hobo Nickel Society, has preserved this heritage. Freelance artist Aleksey Saburov is helping to promote its historic revival. A Russian engraver living in New York, he produces 21st-century hobo coins, subverting popular imagery and its legends, demons and beliefs to create genuine unique works of art, micro-engraved on authentic early 20th-century five-cent pieces. He will be in attendance at Baselworld, where he will be producing one of these unique pieces live for all to see.

Corum gave the artist the chance to showcase his work in its Coin collection, reviving the forgotten art of hobo coins specially for a very limited edition of unique pieces. “Popular art never dies; it changes over the centuries,” explains Jérôme Biard, CEO of Corum. “Our role is to be its witnesses, its conveyors. Creativity lies in transposing this art into the modern age. The Hobo Coin embodies this desire. It captures a fragment of forgotten history and revives it through unique contemporary talent.”

First, we have two models of this Corum Admiral Legend 42 Automobile. Right off the bat, you’ll notice the legendary twelve-sided bezels on those stainless steel bits that measure in at 42mm. You have your choice of either a deep blue or white dial, along with the sapphire crystal over it is double anti-reflective-treated. Having an total water resistance rating of 50m for the case, we would have expected for a bit more from a watch aimed at people who prefer to be about water.The dial is adorned with a colorful variety of nautical flags which bring a nice flare to the table and blend well into the theme of the eye – and at 3 o’clock, an abysmal date window hidden is at one of those flags. The Rhodium-coated dauphine hands are skeletonized and treated with Super-LumiNova as a tiny seconds is at work above 6 o’clock. The back of the case receives a sapphire crystal to flaunt the motion here as well. The Corum Admiral Legend 42 Automobile watches are powered by the CO 395 that supplies a 42-hour power reserve. The CO 395 is really a foundation ETA 2895, and Corum has engraved the rotor on this occasion.The Corum Admiral Legend 42 Chronographs maintain the 42mm sizing, but include one stainless steel version while introducing another similar variant equipped with an 18k red gold bezel, crownmolding, and pushers for extra class. The stainless steel version supplies a rich blue dial while the red gold is paired with a simple black background with each showcasing date, time, and chronograph counters. The date window for these variants isn’t incorporated into the dial as well as the three-hand models so that you can not overlook it nestled between 4 and 5 o’clock. The chronographs shed the water resistance rating to 30m and keep up a sapphire crystal case back. The movement shown off is the CO 984 that defeats 4Hz (28,000vph) with a power reserve of 42 hours.

« Hobo Coin »

Hobo Coin © Corum

Each entirely hand-engraved Hobo Coin will be a unique piece. Aleksey Saburov has produced a number of original motifs for Corum, each of which will become the dial of a 43 mm timepiece powered by the in-house automatic mechanical movement CO 082, offering a 42-hour power reserve. For the first time, this new “Coin” collection of unique pieces will be available on a denim strap. Its blue-grey tones are judiciously paired with the piece’s silver case and its blue sapphire crown.

Almost 50 years after being the first brand in the world to turn the famous $20 US double eagle into a cult timepiece, Corum is boldly and unabashedly reviving the art of monetary watchmaking – impertinent, creative and unique.