René Bannwart, Corum founding father, died in his 95th year


René Bannwart died, Corum founding father

In his 95th year
La Cote des Montres - January 20th, 2010

René Bannwart - Corum New building Inauguration - 1995
La Chaux-de-Fonds, January 13, 2010 - At a time when the Brand celebrates several anniversaries, its founding father, René Bannwart, bows out. In the privacy of the family, to respect his wishes, a final tribute was paid to him in La Chaux-de-Fonds Friday, January 15, 2010. Back on the story of a discreet entrepreneur with a confirmed creative talent.

Born March 16, 1915 in Zurich, René Bannwart spent his childhood in Basel before joining Geneva to study at the Business School where he developed his passion for business.

With a watchmaking experience acquired from the most prestigious watch manufacturers, René Bannwart began his professional adventure at Patek Philippe in 1933 before joining Omega in 1940 where he established the first creative department and launched watch models which still today remain the talking pieces of the Brand. At Omega, he strengthened his expertise in watchmaking during 15 years. With a strong entrepreneurial spirit and a will to create his own watches, he founded Corum in 1955 with his uncle Gaston Ries. In 1958, he signed his first success with the model "Sans Heures" where time was only indicated by the hands on the dial. In 1966, a new interpretation of this model is embodied with the model Romvlvs (today one of the 4 key pillar of Corum) whose hours in Roman numerals are engraved on the bezel.

René Bannwart known for his humanist and aesthetic values has been able to reach his ambition by creating a Company that shines today in the constellation of the Haute Horlogerie. He leaves behind him as much a beautiful human than a watchmaking tale. Passionate and generous, he earned the trust and deep respect of his colleagues, clients and employees by building lasting friendships and sincere relationships.

Loyal to the golden rule used in creation, he was known for his sense of detail and artistic qualities. The strong creativity instilled by René Bannwart to Corum has been expressed, throughout its history, by many outstanding creations.

  • In 1958, launch of the Golden Tube model, a tube of gold in which the movement is inserted. This creation is behind the famous Golden Bridge model (1980), the first baguette movement that symbolizes the technical and watchmaking mastery of Corum and now part of the CORUM BRIDGES pillar.

  • In 1960, the first interpretation of the “Admiral’s Cup” model with a square case was developed. This was the first ever water-resistant square watch! In 1983, the famous Admiral’s Cup was reinterpreted in its emblematic design version (twelve-sided bezel, 12 nautical pennants) helping it to become the leader.

  • In 1964, the “Coin Watch” without back cover was created with an ultra-flat movement that is set in an authentic gold coin, a $20 Double Eagle Coin. A model worn by numerous U.S. Presidents and prominent civilians alike. A timepiece that sparkles in the Artisans collection.

  • The watchmaking history and the watch aficionados will also remember the feathers dial (1970), the Rolls-Royce model (1976) pioneering the partnerships with the prestigious car manufacturer Brands, as well as the meteorite dials (1986) and the Tabogan watch (1997) whose ingenious mechanism allowing the watch to be turned into a table clock which has been patented.

In 2010, Corum celebrates its 55th anniversary and celebrates the half century of the Admiral’s Cup collection whose iconic design has been created at the time by the son of Rene, Jean-René Bannwart; and 30 years of the Golden Bridge. The heritage which was founded in the heart and skill of one man, René Bannwart, has provided to the Brand deep and solid roots which has been revived by its current CEO Antonio Calce, who has taken back the fundamental strategy of the Brand since his arrival in 2005.

Some words of Antonio Calce, CEO of Corum, which talks about the human qualities and the talent of René Bannwart: "Today marks the end of a chapter for the Corum history. I have deep respect and admiration for René Bannwart, a man who wrote a chapter in the history of watchmaking and has created a Brand with a strong credibility and legitimacy in creation while adding technical and watchmaking content. Through his work, know-how and motivation, René Bannwart brought Corum to the top of the watchmaking art in the 80s. By instilling a powerful creative identity, he strongly anchored the Brand DNA providing strong roots and enhancing its notoriety. I am so honored since 2005 to continue to carry Corum on the path of success and especially to develop its potential. The Wunderman family and the Corum family join me to convey their most sincere thoughts to, his son Jean-René Bannwart and his wife Grischka, his family and loved ones".