History comes alive in Corum’s coin-based collection

Corum HOBO Coin C082_03599_lr

Swiss watchmaker Corum has turned back the clock with its latest collection of coin-based timepieces.

Corum’s limited edition Hobo Coins watch, features coins that were originally a popular art form developed by vagrants, and have now been revived by the artist Aleksey Saburov.

The ‘poor man’s coin’, made from nickel, was issued shortly before the Great Depression and were worth so little that even vagrants would rework them to earn a profit, earning them the name Hobo Coins.

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While the coins dating back over 100 years to 1913 have become scare and well-protected, 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.

Each entirely hand-engraved Hobo Coin will be a unique one-of-a-kind piece. Saburov has produced a number of original motifs for Corum, each of which will become the dial of a 43mm timepiece powered by an in-house automatic mechanical movement. 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.

“Popular art never dies; it changes over the centuries,” explained 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.”

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Emma Calder

The author Emma Calder