We know there are Corum Bubble lovers out there. In fact, there is an entire sect of what could be called “Bubble-risti” (a term only those familiar with the “Paneristi” will understand). Since the wildly outrageous Bubble watch was launched in the year 2000, the watch has achieved an almost cult-like status.
Over time, the line slowly devolved — to the chagrin of many. Then, at last year’s Baselworld, Corum marked the return of the Bubble in honor of its 15th anniversary. A clamor of joy could be heard around the world and the brand knew bringing the collection back was a genius move. Since then, there have been several important new editions -but this year’s may top them all.
Here at Baselworld 2016, Corum unveils the dazzling Bubble High Jewelry Skeleton watches — a trio of three incredibly alluring diamond- and gemstone-set Bubble watches with open-worked, ultra-thin movements that are also meticulously set with stones. The three versions are each one offs: rubies; blue sapphires; black sapphires. Baguette-cut diamonds and gemstones mark the hours, as well.
In fact, each watch is set with131 brilliant-cut diamonds on the dial, another 42 on the bezel, and the added colored gemstones. This means that each 18-karat gold watch is bedecked with well over 5 carats of stones — a nice workout watch for those who are lucky enough to get their hands on one of these beauties.
It is important to note, though, that not all the dazzle is in the stones. In fact, there is a lot of pizzazz under the hood, as well. The watches are powered by the CO 055 caliber — visible beneath the specially made bubbled sapphire crystal. The skeletonized movement has been meticulously reduced to the barest minimum of metal — all by hand.
That tiny bit of exposed metal is then finely engraved and finished in a floral motif, complemented by the open-worked barely that forms the famed Corum key logo. Each watch retails for more than $150,000 and is guaranteed to be a sure-fire collector item.
This is a good thing. I have been familiar with the Corum line for more than 30 years (since I have been writing about the watch and jewelry industry), and am happy to say that a host of true “collector” lines have emerged from this brand and made history. I remember back in the 1980’s speaking to then owner, Jean-Rene Bannwart about the newest collections of Coin watches, and Admirals’ Cup watches. He spoke at length about the meteorite dials and the high-jeweled watches the brand was making. Like a proud father, he had great –and well-founded — hopes for the brand. The brand has become synonymous — and famous — for watches such as the Delirium (the thinnest mechanical of its time), and the much-loved Golden Bridge.
In the new millennium, under the direction of then-owner Severin Wunderman, a new age emerged. That age ushered in the Bubble. While a significant departure from the more classic Corum watches, it took hold as well – shaping desires of collectors forever.
I am happy to see the evolution of Corum and to witness its continued prowess in technical advancements, artistic wonders and visionary direction.