It is really about time Corum Watches Blue returned the popular Bubble watch – a timepiece collection that originally came out in the year 2000 and served a major modern role in the brand’s history. Eventually, the Corum Bubble watch collection was discontinued, probably because Corum started to go a bit nuts with some silly limited edition models – that, looking back today, are pretty darn cool. You may recall back in 2008, when aBlogtoWatch featured a collection of limited edition Corum Bubble watches that were extremely fitting for Halloween. For Baselworld 2015, the Corum Bubble is back, and I finally have reason to pay attention to the brand again.
Exploding from the head of the overdue Severin Wunderman, the Corum Bubble watches defied expectations upon release. The profile of the watch remains remarkably towering, with among the highest-domed crystals I’ve ever seen. The impact that has on the dial is not possible to dismiss. The glass distorts the dial giving it an unnatural sense of depth. That is appropriate in terms of design fidelity, as it completely adheres to the usage of spheres throughout the view — most obviously on the rubber-ringed crown at 3 o’clock. Additionally, it manages to stay true to Wunderman’s unique vision, which has been inspired by a 1960s dip watch that featured a massive crystal to hold out against the pressure of deep-sea exploration. But is this watch just an homage, or have Corum updated it considerably to appeal to a modern audience?The first important change is that the diameter: The new releases all measure 47mm wide and an impressive 18.8mm top. Smartly, however, the lugs are curved and short to allow a snug fit to the wrist. Of the 18.8mm of elevation, 8mm of this is down to the sapphire crystal alone. This is apparently no mean accomplishment: obtaining a perfect finish on a Sapphire part of this thickness, curvature, and necessary consistency is real obstacle. Corum achieves this unusual effect by starting out with a block of crystal clear and squeezing it to some bubble-like contour, prior to polishing to absolute clarity.To get the most out of this attribute, the designers of this Corum Bubble watches, decided to fit the timepieces with “Op-art” (optical-art) dials. These smart patterns give the feeling of movement, in addition to shadow and depth. Though flat, the dials have a degree of presence. There’ll be two Corum Bubble Op-Art watches available at a limited run of 350 bits each: The Corum Bubble Drop watch has a brownish PVD-coated case plus a “ripple” effect dial; the Corum Bubble Sphere2 is coated in blue PVD and features an “atom-inspired” pattern on the dial. Both watches utilise Super-LumiNova on the palms. The magnifying sapphire crystal has this affect on the flat dials that they appear to be aggressively domed themselves. With this particular design leaping from the watch, it is easier to understand why this crazy contraption has numerous lovers the world over. Both watches are fitted with rubber straps topped with leather, with a buckle matching their personal case finishes. The straps start out at 24mm between the lugs and taper to 20mm at the buckle.
I recall a few years ago meeting with Corum at Baselworld and inquiring about the Bubble and whether we might see one again. Someone sneered at me remarking that “we don’t think that is right for the brand anymore. We’ve moved past that.” “Ok…” is all I could respond with, and we moved on to seeing more new variations of the Admirals Cup and Golden Bridge collection. I’ve always liked Corum, but over the last few years, the fun side of the brand seemed to be diminishing and being replaced with a lot of ill-conceived high-end watches that did nothing to serve the image of the brand. I believe that the last time I wrote about Corum was back in January of 2014 when I had a less than optimistic view of the Corum Chronograph Tourbillon 47 Seafender. Later, the brand decided to stick double tourbillons into an Admiral’s Cup watch, and with their new ownership by China Haidian Holdings, I more or less assumed the brand’s appeal for watch enthusiasts was (at least temporarily) over. So you can imagine my delighted surprise to hear that the Corum Bubble is back.
Not only back, but back with decent prices. In fact, aside from some minor changes and a case size that has been increased to 47mm wide from 45mm wide, the 2015 Corum Watches 2016 Bubble is very similar to the way it was when Corum decided to discontinue it. Also, even though the case is larger (and sounds really big) the Corum Bubble wears smaller than it is with snub lugs and a case that wraps around your wrist nicely. With that said, I am pretty sure you can imagine that with a name like the “Bubble,” this watch is thick. The sapphire crystal alone is 8mm thick and the entire Corum Bubble watch is 18.8mm thick – but in a cool way.
Corum got the original idea for the Corum Bubble from a prototype dive watch meant for extreme depths. It may very well have been a Rolex. The thick crystal acted to distort the dial, and Corum just sort of played with that and created “bubble-style” hands and hour markers that look interesting with a bit of distortion. The rounded edges make that possible, but also give the timepiece a fun, almost cartoonish look that has appeal to many people. The dial and case shape together have made the Corum Bubble one of the most distinctive “fun” high-end watches around, and I am really glad to see that Corum realized discontinuing it was a mistake. It is entirely possible that the Corum Bubble watch collection needed a break, and I am happy to see it return for its 15-year anniversary.
For the relaunch of the Corum Bubble, there are three models, two of which are limited edition. Corum is clearly taking it slow with the Corum Bubble, but these are nice models. All of the 2015 Corum Bubble watches use the same movements that Corum used in its previous three-hand Corum Bubble watches, which is their Caliber CO 0082 (a base Swiss ETA 2892 automatic). The CO 0082 has been skeletonized for the non-limited edition model which is the return of the Corum Bubble Skeleton. Extremely similar to the older Corum Bubble Skeleton watches, the new Skeleton has slightly different skeletonized bridge designs.
The two limited edition 2015 Corum Watches Images Bubble watches are the Corum Bubble ALL Black in a black PVD-coated steel case as well as the Corum Bubble Vintage, which has a bronze-colored PVD-coated steel case. Each of the two limited edition models will have a total of 350 pieces. More good news is in regard to pricing – which is rather welcoming for the limited edition models (even compared to the prices of original Corum Bubble watches available for sale) at a reasonable $3,425 for the Corum Bubble All Black and Corum Bubble Vintage, and a lofty $8,300 for the non-limited Corum Bubble Skeleton. corum.ch
Keep up with our pre-, post-, and live Baselworld 2015 coverage here.