I recently went to La Chaux-de-Fonds to visit Corum’s museum and workshops. Once a week the Neuchâtel tourist board organises a factory tour, an extremely rare event in the watch industry, and one that should be of interest to the general public as well as watch enthusiasts. Corum Watches Admirals Cup had agreed that at the end of the visit, I’d be able to take a watch home with me, to try out for a week. I was lucky enough to be able to take my pick, and the choice proved rather more difficult to make than I expected. I hesitated between the Miss Golden Bridge, one of the watchmaker’s most iconic timepieces, characterised by its linear baguette-shaped movement, and the famous Bubble with its distinctive steeply domed sapphire crystal. I finally settled on the Bubble, whose quirkiness appealed to me.
When it first came out in 2000, the Bubble landed in the watchmaking landscape like a UFO; no one knew what to make of its unusual shape and extravagant size. In 2015, after a 10-year hiatus (2005–2015), the watch reappeared in the Corum catalogue under a plethora of new references.
The version I chose, the Bubble Joker, was unveiled at Baselworld this year alongside five other models on the theme of games of chance. The curvaceous profile of the watch contributes to its generous measurements: a depth of 18.5 mm, including the domed glass, and a diameter of 47 mm. To be perfectly honest, I initially felt rather ambivalent about these… impressive proportions. And yet, once it was on, the watch didn’t look too big, or out of place on a woman’s wrist. My conclusion was that its soft, rounded lines made it less unwieldy than its vital statistics would suggest. In addition, the black PVD-treated stainless steel case and short curved lugs make it supremely comfortable to wear. The thick sapphire crystal acts as a magnifying glass, enlarging and deforming the appearance of the dial as you move your wrist, making it endlessly fascinating to look at throughout the day.
Under the dome, the Bubble is driven by an automatic movement. The brand name is engraved on the rotor, which is visible through the sapphire case back. And finally, the Swiss made movement provides the traditional 42-hour power reserve.
Since both watches and coins are usually thought of “collectibles,” it makes a certain amount of sense to blend the two and lure aficionados of both hobbies. The model proved to be a massive success for Corum, who’ve released numerous versions over the years including the 50th Anniversary Edition we covered previously. This season, a new trio of Corum Heritage Artisans Coin Watches have been announced, using American coins in addition to a much rarer (for the newest) commemorative coin out of Israel.Corum were founded in 1955, making them relatively youthful by Swiss watchmaker standards. Their early success was characterized by gold watches in the Art Nouveau design, such as the Chinese design and Admiral models. The first Coin view combined the new styling with an ultra-thin movement fitted inside a sliced-in-two American gold coin, creating a exceptional dress watch with both exclusivity and patriotic appeal.As a obviously patriotic emblem, Corum points out that several American presidents have worn out Corum Heritage Artisans Coin Watches, including George Bush Sr, Ronald Reagan, Lyndon Johnson, Jimmy Carter, Richard Nixon, and Bill Clinton, in addition to artists such as Andy Warhol.Three new variants of their Corum Heritage Artisans Coin Watch have been released this year. We’ll begin by having a look at the golden model, mention C082/03167, which features an American Liberty Head Double Eagle 20 dollar gold coin.