I am back to reviewing after some much needed time off to recharge. Since I started reviewing and photographing watches some 10 years or so ago, I haven’t taken any time off. I wanted to recharge my batteries to come back with a renewed passion and interest. I also wanted to focus a bit more on my photography to improve and expand my skill-set.
Sometimes a watch comes along that is a surprise on a multitude of different levels. The bronze beast from Corrigia is one of those watches. I remember seeing the first initial design blueprints and of course my interest was peaked but it wasn’t a watch that I thought I would be buying when it was released. When Corrigia released the first prototype pictures I was extremely interested and excited but again it wasn’t a watch that I was planning to purchase. After the initial release I started to see people posting pictures of their production pieces of the Corrigia01. Gazing at these beauties on social media started to create that watch lust inside of me. A lust that had been quite quiet for a long time.
Website link: https://corrigia.com/en/watch/
I have been a fan of Corrigia for a long while because of their strap crafting which are works of true beauty. To celebrate their anniversary of 10 years of strap making, Corrigia decided to enter the watchmaking world. Their straps are pure quality but watchmaking is a completely different animal. The choice of buying this watch was a decision that took me a lot of thought and meditation on. Obviously I decided to make the purchase but not without some reservations. I received the tracking information from Corrigia and after about a 4 day wait the box arrived at my doorstep. The shipping box was absolutely huge and I believe “holy shit” were the words I expressed out loud. There must be a lot of protective packing material inside this shipping box was another thought that came to mind. I grabbed a knife and sliced into the packing tape. Yes the watch box was packed securely but the wooden box inside was and is the largest watch box I have experienced to date. A lovely handcrafted wood box with a metal name plate with “CORRIGIA” nicely decorated the outside of the lid to this box. I quickly flipped up the two latches because I was extremely excited to see this watch. Typically that’s how it goes for me when I receive a new watch, I quickly look over the box but I open the box even quicker to get that first glance in on that watch. The Corrigia is a first for me when it comes to admiring the inner contents of the box. Normally it’s the watch that my eyes initially transfixed on but this time it was the small book, the 5 straps, the extra caseback and the diver art picture on the inside of the lid that all fought for my attention. I was truly wowed by this impressive presentation and in all honesty I have to say that I was completely impressed by all of it. The amount of thought and care just in the case/presentation that Corrigia infused into this amazed me on both a visual level and tactile level.
After spending time “drooling” over the presentation, the lightbulb came on saying “hey dummy, there’s a watch in there too.” I unwrapped the watch so I could examine it more closely. The clean bronze case glistened brightly in my hands. Clean bronze is always quite beautiful but for me the beauty is always interrupted by the begging for some patina. Once I got passed the glistening bronze beauty, I started taking in all the lovely angles of the case before stopping by the crown guard. This detail is my favorite detail on this watch. The watch arrived June 21st and there hasn’t been a day since where it hasn’t made it onto my wrist; therefore, I can say with all sincerity that the crown guard stole my heart as my favorite case detail. The crown guard is removable by simply unscrewing the two stainless steel IPG plated screws, that secure the guard onto the case itself. The crown guard has nice engraved details on it that includes “Pro A and 3000m” Now the crown guard is large but it’s size doesn’t hamper the comfort of wearing this watch. To keep the guard from getting too large, Corrigia kept the crown itself at a smaller size but not too small so that it didn’t inhibit gripping/operating it. The crown extends slightly above the dial side of the guard but it extends greater on the caseback side of the guard allowing ease of operation when winding and setting the time. The crown operates smoothly and screws in/out with buttery smooth fluidity. The crown guard adds so much personality and presence to the case profile and functionally it goes well beyond achieving it’s goal of keeping the crown safely protected.
I want to remain on the buttery smooth fluidity for a moment as we transition over to the bezel on this watch. Let’s talk briefly about how it functions/operates and then we can discuss how it looks. The unidirectional, 120-Click bezel is easily gripped because of the geometrical shape/angles that surround the outer edges. It comes at no surprise that the German engineering behind this watch, executed the bezel to allow precision with each of the 120 clicks, allowing a tightness with zero extra play. This is exactly how a bezel should operate. Operation is a huge component obviously but there has to be the law of attraction here in order to draw a person to a watch, which is me and this watch. The 1-11 decorated polished studs that are found throughout this bronze (CuSn8) bezel are details that definitely fall into the laws of attraction. Corrigia took those laws a step further by adding a touch of color, red to be exact, to the 15, 30 and 45 bezel studs. I find it ever so appropriate that they chose red which is a color that has a strong correlation to love/attraction. The lug studs also act as protection for the crystal…..not that the 4.7mm thick sapphire crystal can’t handle some wear abuse. I do like that there is additional protection for the slightly raised and flat crystal though. All the watches in my collection are watches that once I strap them on my wrist, they become an afterthought. I never have to worry about taking off my watch during any activity I may be doing.
A dive watch’s bezel isn’t complete with a lumed indicator located at the 12H position and the Corrigia01 has just that, a oversized lumed pip. We all know that in this day and age of technology, divers use more advanced tech on their wrists during dives than simply relying on their watch to measure time passed for oxygen consumption/use. This doesn’t mean that people still don’t use the dive watch bezel for timing purposes. I use mine multiple times a day whether I am at work, out in nature or at home, the bezel is heavily relied upon and I have an advanced computer in my pocket at all times. There’s something more magical about using a watch as a tool Vs using a smartphone. Those of you who do the same know exactly what I’m talking about. That tactile magic can’t be replaced by technology, another example of this is fingering through a physical book or magazine Vs scrolling through a screen. There’s no magic to scrolling on a screen in my opinion.
Those wonderful German engineered details can be found throughout this watch’s lovely yet industrial angled case. The design language of this watch give the Corrigia01 a strong, rugged and no-nonsense wrist presence that is undeniable. Few watches in today’s market have that kind of wrist presence. I’ll explain what I mean by that in my closing paragraph of this review. The case is executed with precision and quality. An example of this can be seen in the lug design. The 26mm spaced lugs are shaped with that geometrically strong design language. The lugs start out wide proximally to the case and slowly taper more narrow as the extend distally away from the case. I appreciate that the lugs are drilled and that the strap is secured to the watch via strong IPG plated screw bars. A much better and more importantly, a much stronger system as opposed to spring bars which are weaker and less reliable. It’s also easier to change a strap with screw bars because you aren’t fumbling around with shoving a screwdriver between the strap and lug to depress the spring to remove the strap.
Corrigia added a bit more detail to the lines of this case with beautiful chamfering that runs the entire side of the case from lug to lug. To finish off the case on the 01, Corrigia added a caseback that I really like which is unusual for me given my preference when it comes to the caseback on a watch. I normally want a solid caseback with a engraved or laser etched picture. The 01 came with an semi-exhibition caseback. What I mean by semi is this caseback has 3 small portholes that allow to see the movement. These portholes give the caseback more of that Captain Nemo’s Nautilus vibe. It’s a very nice touch of detail but what is even more nice is the fact that Corrigia included a solid caseback with this package. If you want to change out the look and add some additional water resistance, Corrigia allows you to make that decision for yourself. I completely love this way of thinking.
There is no denying that this case is a wonderful example of that strong German engineering, but what good is that without that same engineering being applied to the dial itself?!? Rest assured that Corrigia did just that and carried that engineering over to the 01 dial. Corrigia has many dial color choices available but I went with the gray. Another unusual and unexpected choice for me as I am a matte black dial lover through and through. When I saw the gray in the pictures I still wasn’t sure but when I saw it in person, any doubts I had quickly evaporated. This dial is just as much as horological art as the case, if not even more so if I say so myself. The base for the dial is single layered brass with a special military gray-black matte-patina-finish. Try to say that 5 times fast! The dial is simply beautiful and what adds to that beauty is how it changes appearance depending on what type of lighting you are viewing it under. Sometimes it appears to be black, while other times brown and then gray. A wonderful dial to experience in person and a great example of how pictures don’t truly give it justice. This dial is not only a thing of beauty but more importantly it is extremely legible.
The dial indices 1 through 12 along with the round minute dots and the Corrigia-logo are done with an old dial making process. Each detail on this dial are deeply engraved with a very complicated pocket milling method (called in Germany as Taschenfräsen) and the result of this process is extremely impressive and beautiful. I also want to mention that the Corrigia logo is the only text found on this dial. Nothing more to distract from the simplistic beauty of this dial. Also worth a mention is the exclusion of a date window which I greatly applaud. The hands that Corrigia designed for this watch are a match made in Heaven…….I mean made in Germany. The hands on a watch can very easily make or even more easily break a dial. The shape, size and overall design of these hands on the 01 are perfect in every way. The hands are brushed bronze that are filled with high quality Swiss Super-LumiNova® SLN Old Radium which is also found on the minute dots and numerals. It is an 80 step process for each dial to be lume treated which is not only a very time consuming but also a very impressive process.
The 5 included straps are also a wonderful example of that German craftsmanship that is found throughout every detail on this watch. It only makes sense that it does because of Corrigia’s 10 year history of being a strap maker but also the dedication to design that Corrigia exhibits here throughout this watch. Each strap gives the 01, a different and unique appearance while extending the unique personality of this watch as well. This watch’s personality changes as it ages because of the formation of patina and the straps age no differently. Included with this watch is a large bronze buckle that is engraved with Corrigia. I love that Corrigia carried the geometric industrial design language over to the buckle as well. The straps are made with such care and precision, right down to each individual stitch.
The formation of the patina just adds to the beauty of this watch. It adds to that “old world” feeling that exudes from this piece. This watch is a rare bird in a modern world. For me it has that same charm that brands like Ennebi still retain but brands like Panerai lost when they moved out of Italy. There are not many brands that retain that old world charm anymore and it impresses me that a brand that is new to watchmaking has retained it in their very first releases.
As I stated earlier, I have been active in this community for a long time, so I am not so easily impressed with watches these days. It came as a huge shock to me that I have been impressed and I continue to be impressed by the Corrigia01. Months later this watch still continues to impress me through and through not only with the quality and engineering but also how it is aging, becoming even more beautiful. Everything functions flawlessly from the bezel to the crown, and right down to the movement itself. Ticking away inside the 01 is a Swiss made automatic movement. Corrigia named this calibre, the MLJP-G100. This movement has an impressive 70 hours power reserve. The movement was manufactured La Joux-Perret form La Chaux-de-Fonds/ Swiss, the rotor in beide Richtungen aufziehend – 4 Hertz (28,800 vibrations per hour) provides ceramic ball bearing and rhodium rotor wind up in both directions with “Genfer streifen”. Frequency 28’800 A/H (4 Hz) Number of jewels 24 and an angle lift of balance 51°. I have owned this watch for a few months now and it has been keeping +7 seconds per day accuracy.
The case of my watch started off as the shiny, bright golden bronze color that you see in some of my pics. Then I put the case through a reverse patina technique that a watchmaker taught me years ago. The result of this can be seen in the pictures where the case amongst appears like it is DLC coated. This watch has been with me on many of my outdoor adventures, including one of my bi-yearly camping trips. My watch has been abused in all settings and it handled it perfectly. I have to say that bronze wears scratches, dings, and dents better than any other case material. There’s something about bronze that the more patina it gets, the more abuse it sustains, the more beautiful it becomes.
I joined a group that had a quite a few owners of the Corrigia01. Each of those members are unique individuals and each one of their watches are just as unique as the owners themselves. Each individual watch of those said members have different patina, different strap combinations, and all those differences make for unique, individualized extensions of the wearer’s personality. The group is always positive, supportive but most importantly always remember that wearing and collecting watches is a fun hobby. The 47mm x 15mm bronze Corrigia01 wears comfortably on the wrist in every activity that I put it through. From camping, to the beach, to hiking, to work, right down to relaxing on the couch, there wasn’t a moment where I found myself conscious of the case size or the weight of this watch. Yes there are some who would consider this a large, oversized watch. I used to allow case size to influence my decision making when it came to purchasing a watch. As the years passed, I found myself more interested in quality and engineering and that has progressed to the point where case size is absolutely irrelevant to me. There is so much emphasis on case size measurements in the watch community that many people forgot that just wearing a watch is supposed to be fun. The other thing that seems to be forgotten due to the case size obsession, is a watch should be engineered with great quality. I see it happen so often that people are so concerned with case size and I see it even more often that people are blinded by the hype, so much so that some companies are relying on their name alone. These companies seem to be putting quality control on the “back burner”. Thankfully that isn’t the case and point with the Corrigia01. This watch is definitely for those who appreciate that old world charm through craftsmanship that seems to be vanishing quickly in this modern world we live in. For me this watch has what made Panerai such a wonderful company before the buyouts and the move. I’m not comparing these two companies by any means, all that I am saying is that Corrigia somehow managed to infuse the 01 with charm and magic. A charming magic that is almost gone in the watch industry but a charm that certainly hasn’t been forgotten by the watch community.
Thank you all for reading. A special thanks to Corrigia for making such a special watch. Thank you to the Corrigia FB group for their amazing positivity.
Started strap making since: 2011
Location: Kalsruhe, Germany
Types of straps made: Vintage, historical & classic straps
His name is Cengio Bilgiç from Karlsruhe Germany and he started making straps from 2011 onwards. Before this happened he was reading a lot about vintage Panerai watches and was especially interested in the old original straps
Cengio found that were displayed in Ralf Ehler’s Panerai books. Those straps were treated with salt water in order to build patina on the leather.
A very well-know Panerista made an original old strap available that was mounted on his vintage Panerai Luminor Ref. 6152/1 and allowed Cengio to take the strap apart in order to study the building structure and design of the strap and renew the stitching. He did something more than that by making a 1:1 replica of the strap that he called Corrigia Reborn 1960 Fletch01.
Presently Cengio creates quite a variety of handmade vintage straps for various models. You can choose between “uniform thickness” or the “true vintage style”, this is a trifold technique that makes the strap stronger an a bit thicker at the lug side. The straps are created with an old antique awl, antique leather knife, antique plane and antique tools. The vintage and worn look is created by many hours of grinding and polishing. The straps are finished with a saltwater and a natural leather balsam treatment. When you order a strap you can choose out of a variety of buckle to make your strap even more personalized or order it without a buckle in case you prefer your own buckles.
In the meantime he has started to expand portfolio with belts, bags, watch rolls, and recently added watches to that portfolio.
Corrigia: Mittelwegring 12, 76751 Jockgrim, Deutschland
– Lug width: 26mm
– Distance from Lughole to Case-End: 3,8mm (Ready for 6mm Thick True Vintage Straps.)
– Case-Diameter: 47mm – Case-thickness including glass: 15.80mm
– Glass: 4.7mm Thick Saphire Glass
– Watch case: Brushed/Polished and patinated CuSn8 Bronze (Wartungsarm nach DIN ISO 3547-4 / DIN 1494)
– Bezel: Unidirectional 120-Click bezel included 1-11 decoration polished studs in bronze (CuSn8)
– Dots: Hr. 12 Lume dots with SS base IPG plated
– Lugs: Screwed IPG plated
– Crown: Bronze CuSn8 screw-in type
– Crown protector: Bronze CuSn8 fixed with 2 Stainless steel IPG plated screws.
– 1x Style Case back: Screwed Stainless steel with 3x sapphire lens – Water Resistant up to 30 ATM/ 30 Bar/ 300 Meters
– 1x Pro Case back: Screwed Stainless steel – Water Resistant up to 300 ATM/ 300 Bar/ 3000 Meters
– Dial: Single layer brass dial with Special Military Gray-Black Matte-Patina-Finish. Dial-Indices, round minute dots and Corrigia-Logo: Deep engraved with a very complicated old pocket milling method (called in Germany as Taschenfräsen).
– Luminous: Each Dial filled in by Hand in 80 Steps with High Quality Swiss Super-LumiNova® SLN Old Radium. 100% Handcrafted in Switzerland
– Hands: Brushed bronze-Gold colour filled with High Quality Swiss Super-LumiNova® SLN Old Radium
– Water Resistant: Up to 30 ATM ( 300 M ) with Glasscaseback and 300 ATM with solid steel caseback.
– Movement:Swiss Made Automatic Manufacture Calibre MLJP-G100 with 70 hours power reserve by Manufacture La Joux-Perret form La Chaux-de-Fonds/ Swiss – Rotor in beide Richtungen aufziehend – 4 Hertz (28,800 vibrations per hour) provides ceramic ball bearing and rhodium rotor wind up in both directions with “Genfer streifen”. Frequency 28’800 A/H (4 Hz) Number of jewels 24 Angle lift of balance 51°