Feature: Interview with Corum President Michael Wunderman
September 1, 2009
1- I have read that aside from your duty as the President of Corum USA, you also have a lot of input on the design of Corum timepieces. Is this true?
This is true. As well as being President of Corum USA I am the Creative Director of the Board for Corum internationally and work closely with Switzerland on all product designs. Together with my father and Antonio Calce, the current CEO, we developed the product strategy for the brand that is currently in the market. We have developed our core collection and are now continuing to strengthen the current line with new creations that reinforce the brand identity and reputation.
2- How has your partnership with the World Series of Poker impacted Corum?
The partnership with the WSOP has broadened Corum's notoriety and recognition to a completely new audience. Poker has experienced a phenomenal growth the past couple of years and has transformed into a legitimate sport. Being the first brand to embrace the sport has positioned us to own that segment. We are now also sponsoring the upcoming Sports Legends Challenge, which takes place in September at the Atlantis Hotel in the Bahamas. This unique poker tournament teams up former pro athletes with poker stars in a tournament with prizes over $10,000,000.
3- What is your favorite Corum timepiece? What timepiece(s) have you been wearing lately?
My favorite Corum Timepiece is the Admiral's Cup Chronograph 48 Black Flag. It is a piece I designed last year exclusively for the US market and was the first of the new Admiral's Cup models to feature the 12 nautical flags without color. The contrasting blue super-luminova on the black dial and black PVD case really makes a bold statement. And we only manufactured 100 units making it an instant collectible.
4- What are you doing to grow Corum's market share? Where do you see Corum in 10 years?
Our long-term strategy is to offer a unique timepiece collection manufactured with the highest quality of Swiss watch making know-how with inherent value offered at a competitive price position. We feel that focusing on the evolution of the core product line and strengthening our manufacturing capabilities in Switzerland is the way to secure our future and become more independent.
5- Does Corum have any boutiques planned in the near future? Or is this an unnecessary expense, especially considering the current economic climate?
We do not have plans to open a boutique at the moment. We feel that it is still necessary to focus our investment in the brand at the manufacturing level and provide the best marketing tools to our customers. Our network of retailers is the best in the business and we are committed to building the success of the brand with them, and not become a competitor to them by opening our own boutiques.
6- What are some other watch brands you admire?
I admire Ulysses-Nardin and their commitment to innovate. I admire Audemars-Piguet and their strength in branding and promotion. I admire Jaeger Le Coultre and the ambition to excite. I also admire Franc Vila for their focus and passion for design.
7- What timepieces will Corum focus on in the future? Any teasers?
We have focused mainly on the Admiral's Cup collection over the past several years. We will now be focusing on expanding the Bridge Collection as well as the Romvlvs Collection. Be ready to be impressed at the next Baselworld.
8- Corum has recently introduced the CO007 and CO113 movements, built entirely in-house, will you continue to develop new movements in-house?
Yes of course. The landscape for movement supply is drastically changing and it is extremely important to assert your independence for the future and one way to do that is to create your own products. We have invested heavily in design and development in-house and are working on many new products that will continue to strengthen our vision for the road ahead.
9- I personally like the 44 mm Admiral's Cup Challenge over the 48 mm versions. Which size is more popular right now?
The 48 mm is the most popular right now and has been for the past few years. This trend will not last. Knowing that, we have created a new 44 mm Admiral's Cup model we are calling the GMT 44. It is, as the name states, 44 mm in diameter, but is not as thick as the current Admiral's Cup Challenge 44. The GMT 44 is definitely an Admiral's Cup through and through, but it is much more wearable as an everyday watch. In this economic climate people want to purchase products that are not trendy. They want style longevity. That is what the GMT 44 offers.
10- I have heard people online mention that black is a fad in watches and it is not here to stay. What are your thoughts on black PVD, DLC and Ceramic treatments? Is black here to stay?
Black is still very, very hot right now. I believe that it will be hot for another year or two. I think rubber on watches is a trend that is here to stay.
Thank You for the interview Michael!