Cornelius & Cie is a high-end watch brand based in Geneva, Switzerland. The company was founded in the summer of 2007 and was initiated by two Dutchmen – world famous watch engraver Kees Engelbarts and jeweller Paul Pertijs – crowning a friendship started while both were students at the renowned Dutch Gold- and Silversmith Academy.
The brand name Cornelius & Cie is taken from Kees Engelbarts’ Christian name, Cornelis. The independent luxury watch company produces extremely exclusive watches, using vintage watch movements in proprietary cases of classic but innovative design. Every single part of the watch movement is embellished by hand, skeletonised and/or engraved by Kees Engelbarts. Customers are offered extensive possibilities to have the watch and the movements personalised by specific engravings.
The first collection presented consists of 12 Chronosome 46XY watches. This stunning model features a 1935 A. Schild movement with eccentrically placed barrel. The unique position of the barrel is immediately evident by the shape of the case. The Chronosome 46XY watch is available from April, 2008. There will be 3 models: with completely skeletonised movement and dial (2 pieces in platinum, 2 pieces in red gold), with partly skeletonised movement and closed dial (4 pieces in red gold) and with Côtes de Genève decoration (4 pieces in red gold).
The watches are presented in a luxury box, including an Orbita watch winder (specially tuned to keep the strong main spring perfectly wound) and an extra barrel. The barrel is engraved with a personal text or picture.
Cornelius & Cie Founders
Kees Engelbarts ( Born in 1967). Kees was educated at the Dutch Gold- and Silversmith Academy in Schoonhoven and the German vocational school for jewellery design at Idar-Oberstein. He started working as a professional watch engraver in 1994, setting up his own workshop in Geneva. Kees swiftly was recognised as an outstanding craftsman. He created intricately engraved and skeletonised watches for several watch companies, including Jaeger-LeCoultre, Hublot and Harry Winston. He became one of the very few engravers familiar with the Japanese ‘Mokumé Gane’ technique producing his own base material of 19 ultra thin layers of alternating two non-ferrous metals. In 1997 he produced his first own watch. The founding of Cornelius & Cie – where Kees will act as creative director -is the next step in his astonishing career.
Paul Pertijs (Born in 1968). Paul was educated at the Dutch Gold- and Silversmith Academy where he met Kees Engelbarts. After his studies he took over his father’s jewellers shop in Breda. Over the years Paul has expanded this single high-end shop into the Pertijs Jewellers group with boutiques in Breda, Vught, Roosendaal and Laren. Paul took the initiative to found Cornelius & Cie after seeing a one-off watch Kees had made using the 1935 A. Schild movement. He is the commercial director of the company.
The Chronosome 46XY watch
The heart of the Chronosome 46XY watch is an astonishing movement. The Calibre AS 690 was developed and produced by the A. Schild company in Grenchen, Switzerland, in 1935. It is a sturdy, large movement beating at a steady 18.000 bph. When the strong main spring is fully wound (by hand) the movement has a power reserve of 8 days.
The decisive feature of the movement is the large barrel placed in an extremely eccentrical position. Why A. Schild constructed the movement in such a way is unknown; it is a distinct possibility the movement originally was not intended for use in wrist watches but designed for other uses such as pocket watches or automotive instrumentation. However, when he first saw Calibre AS 690, Kees Engelbarts was impressed by the quality of its construction, its pleasingly different design and the accurate timekeeping it provided.
Apart from the position of the barrel the movement features two other interesting construction details. There is a pusher located at two o’clock that disconnects the winding crown from the winding mechanism so that the crown can be used to turn the hands. And A. Schild used a rather unique shock absorbing system to protect the balance. The leaf spring shock absorber is not unlike the Pare-chute system developed by Abraham-Louis Breguet.
Cornelius & Cie has acquired a sufficiently large quantity of the AS 690 calibres to manufacture at least 100 Chronosome 46XY watches. Enough spare parts are available to guarantee future servicing and repairs.
Every movement is taken apart piece by piece. Every single part is embellished by hand and rhodium plated. Kees Engelbarts executes the engraving and finishing on the skelonized movements by hand. Then each movement is reassembled by a team of qualified watchmakers lead by Jerôme Willert, formerly working at Breguet. The unique movements are placed inside the unique cases manufactured by Michel Josserand (Besançon, France).
The dial is produced by Cador (Basle, Switzerland); its thickness of 1 mm increases the aesthetic quality and provides ample space for engraving. Front and back of the case are sealed with flat sapphire glasses. Because of the asymmetrical case Kees Engelbarts had to design a completely unique strap attachment system using two small brass wedges to lock the alligator strap in its place.
Each Chronosome 46XY watch will be presented in a specially designed box including an Orbita watch winder (specially tuned to the strong mainspring of the movement). The possibility is offered to have the top of the barrel engraved with a text or a picture, turning each watch into an extremely personal one. The engraving can daily be seen through a window in the dial.
|The Chronosome 46XY watch in Platinum case|
The Chronosome 46XY watches are the first models produced by Cornelius & Cie. Initial production is 12 watches only, but the company expects to produce 100 Chronosome 46XY watches in 2008. In 2009 Cornelius & Cie will introduce a sportier version of the Chronosome 46XY with automatic movements and steel cases.
Designs for a ladies’ Chronosome 46XX have already started. 2010 will see the introduction of watches with more complicated movements. Kees Engelbarts and Paul Pertijs are considering the development of a proprietary movement to be introduced after 2010. Total production capacity of the Geneva-based workshop is expected to grow to 300 watches per year.
|The Chronosome 46XY watch in 18k Gold case|
The name Chronosome is a merger of the words Chronos and Some. ‘Chronos’ is the Greek word for time, the personification of time being a god-like creature also known as Father Time. ‘Some‘ comes from the Greek word ‘soma’, meaning ‘body’. Cornelius & Cie has chosen the world Chronosome because it merges these two concepts of time and body beautifully. Of course the reference to the chromosome is not unintended.
The number 46 indicates the number of chromosomes per human cell. Because the first series of watches are designed for the male wrist, Cornelius & Cie has added XY, XY being the code to indicate male humans in the sex-determination system used to indicate male humans. The ladies’ watches will have 46XX as standard reference. So the Chronosome 46XY is the ‘time body’ for the human male, the Chronosome 46XX is the ‘time body’ for the human female.
Platinum or 18K rose gold (5N)
Diameter: 49 mm
Thickness: 16.30 mm
Water resistance: 30 m
Back: sapphire crystal
A.Schild Calibre 690 from1935, rhodinum and/or gold plated, embellished by hand, engraved and/or skeletonised by hand
Power reserve:8 days
Jewelling:17 jewels (13 from the original movement, 4 added)
Alligator with 18K gold buckle
The Dragon Gate Legend Watch
“Dragon Gate Legend ” is an unique watch created by Kees Engelbarts. Inspired after Chinese mythical story of “a legend about carp leaping through Dragon Gate”, this beautiful watch is powered by a vintage A.Schild Calibre AS 690 which dates back to 1935.
|Dragon Gate Legend” watch|
The CHRONSOME 46 XY Tourbillon
Launched in 2011, this Tourbillon model as an extension of its CHRONSOME 46 XY collection. TheCHRONSOME 46 XY Tourbillon featuring Damascus Steel case was first unveiled at Geneva Time Exhibition 2011 held from 17 to 21 of January 2011.
Damascus Steel is a type of steel alloy that is both hard and flexible, a combination that makes it ideal for the building of swords. The steel used by Cornelius & Cie is a mixture of two stainless steel kinds and purely decorative. The visible pattern is obtained by etching the case with “king’s water” or “aqua regia”, a highly corrosive acid that can also dissolve noble metals like gold or platinum. The pattern of each case is different and therefore unique.
The dial, depicting an imperial dragon, is made of solid gold, cut out and engraved entirely by hand by master engraver Kees Engelbarts. After the engraving and finishing the dragon is silver plated and oxidized in order to give the engraving more “depth”. The dragon is mounted on a Damascus Steel back plate.
The movement is a double barrel tourbillon with 120 hours (5 days) power reserve and also cut out and engraved by hand. The finish of the movement is matte to match the finish of the Damascus Steel case and ruthenium plated.
This Dragon Tourbillon is a unique piece but customers can order the “same” watch and choose their own design/engraving as well as material of the case, color and finishing of the movement etc. since Cornelius & Cie, as always, offers extensive possibilities to personalize their watches.
Etched Damascus Steel
Winding crown: Etched Damascus Steel
Dimensions: 44mm x 12mm
Water resistance: 3ATM / 30 meter
Crystals: Anti-reflection sapphire crystal front and back
Dragon in solid gold, silver plated, cut out and engraved by hand
Manual wound 13¼”’ tourbillon, 28’800 Alt/H
5 days (120 hours) power reserve twin barrel
Hand-engraved and finished, ruthenium plated
Alligator leather, buckle in Etched Damascus Steel
The Chronosome 46 XY/RDM
In 2012, responding to strong demand, Cornelius & Cie presented the new Chronosome 46 XY/RDM model with a 42mm diameter case. The 46 XY/RDM shares the same strong visual features as its 49mm stable-mate, including the characteristic bulge in the case at 2 o’clock, the shape of the blued-steel hands and the shape of the dial, the latter inspired by classic designs from the 1940s.
The bulge of the 46 XY/RDM neatly accommodates the indicator for a very generous five days of power reserve provided by double mainspring barrels, and is aesthetically balanced by the retrograde date at 2 o’clock. The use of only even numbers on the dial allows for maximum legibility and a light, clean look that highlights the rich hand-decoration that characterizes all of Cornelius & Cie’s timepieces. And as with all Cornelius & Cie’s timepieces, the customer has the option of creating a truly unique watch with a special engraving, logo, monogram, message or even portrait.
Model: Chronosome 46 XY/RDM
Hours, minutes, retrograde date, power reserve
Platinum or 18K pink gold
Hand engraved crown with logo and wood-like decoration
Corrector pusher for date at 2 o’clock
Dimensions: 42mm x 12mm
Water resistance: 3ATM / 30 meter
Crystals: Anti-reflection sapphire crystal front and display back
Solid silver with applied ruthenium-plated numerals
Open center with view to movement
Optional plate at 9 o’clock for personalized engraving
Automatic winding with 22K gold skeletonized rotor
5-day (120 hours) power reserve
Double mainspring barrels, Hand-engraved bridges, ruthenium and rhodium plated
Alligator leather, custom design folding buckle in metal to match case.