Corum Bubble Skull X-Ray: Ghoulishly Good
by Martin Green
Corum has always been a brand that likes to challenge the status quo. While it is a traditional Swiss manufacture in terms of expertise and craftsmanship, it likes to combine this with daring designs. Remember the Corum Rolls-Royce, made to look like the iconic radiator grill of the car brand? Or the new–millennium evolutions of the Admiral’s Cup? Not to mention the Golden Bridge, which Corum launched in 1980.
A new era of aesthetic innovation began when Severin Wunderman took over the brand in 2000 that was different from the aesthetic innovation that co-founder René Bannwart had brought to the Swiss watch industry.
Wunderman, a self-made man, loved to make unconventional statements rooted in craftsmanship and tradition. He was therefore the perfect new owner for Corum as few other respected Swiss brands would embrace such revolutionary designs. One of his first was the Bubble, an eye-catching watch not only due to its generous diameter of 44 mm – it was after all the year 2000! – but also due to its huge domed sapphire crystal.
Wunderman took inspiration from 1960s experimental diving watches, which were often fitted with very thick sapphire crystals to cope with the extreme pressures of the deep sea. Upon introduction, the Bubble was received with excitement and enthusiasm as at the time it was exceedingly rare to find such expression of playfulness in the world of haute horlogerie. Themed versions followed soon after and have continued to play an essential role in the legacy of the Bubble.
Death reminds us to live
Skulls have been a central theme in the Bubble collection. Wunderman was enamored with them, most likely as he was a Holocaust survivor himself, hiding from Nazis in a Polish school for the blind.
Skulls as a theme on watches also have a very long tradition dating back to very early pocket watches. Called memento mori, these timepieces were decorated with skulls (or even took the shape of a skull) to serve as a constant reminder that, like everybody else, we will all die. As morbid as this may sound, the aim is to remind the owner to live life to the fullest and make the most of time on earth.
With the latest addition to the Bubble collection, Corum continues this tradition, this time choosing an x-ray image of a skull to decorate the dial. It is also luminescent. This creates an incredible cool factor that is amplified by the highly domed crystal.
To give this image center stage, Corum opted for darker hands and a black PVD coating on the case. A dash of color is provided by the viper green second hand and stitching on the leather-and-rubber strap.
The Bubble Skull X-Ray also comes with a few surprises, and the first is that it is water-resistant to 100 meters (10 atm). Few will probably take this Bubble into the water, but if you want to, you absolutely can.
While it is perhaps not your typical sports watch, Corum wanted to make sure that the Bubble Skull X-Ray could easily become a daily companion, even if the diameter of 47 mm might be a bit daunting for some. But when Wunderman designed the original Bubble, wearing comfort was also top of mind. The short and curved lugs ensure that the watch sits quite comfortably on even the most modest wrist. However, the Bubble is a statement piece so don’t expect it to fit under the cuff of any of your shirts. If you want that, you are missing the point of this watch.
Priced at CHF 4,000, Corum offers competitive packaging: this Bubble is fitted with an automatic movement that can be admired through the sapphire crystal insert in the case back and is limited to 666 pieces.
Is Corum tempting fate with that limitation number? Perhaps, but in part that is also what this ghoulie model is all about.
For more information, please visit www.corum-watches.com/collections/bubble.
Quick Facts Corum Bubble X-Ray
Case: 47 x 18.5 mm, black PVD-coated stainless steel
Movement: automatic Caliber CO 082 (Soprod A10 base), 42-hour power reserve, 28,800 vph/4 Hz frequency
Functions: hours, minutes, seconds
Limitation: 666 pieces
Price: CHF 4,000
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