Although just fifteen years has passed since that time, the landscape of the luxury watch industry has changed beyond recognition. The original Bubble was 44mm broad, which made it an outlier in those days. Along with this, the design was fairly uncommon. Watch collectors weren’t so accustomed to risks as they are now, but nevertheless, the Corum Bubble found favour among a dedicated demographic. It will be intriguing to see how the re-release of the Corum Bubble is greeted by a consumer base that is much savvier than it had been in the turn of the century. With nothing in the manner of a drawback to pique interest, the Corum Bubble watches lean heavily on design.Exploding in the mind of this late Severin Wunderman, the Corum Bubble watches defied expectations upon release. The profile of the watch remains unusually towering, with among those highest-domed crystals I’ve ever seen. The impact that has on the dial is impossible to dismiss. The glass distorts the dial providing it an unnatural sense of depth. This is appropriate in terms of design fidelity, as it completely adheres to the usage of spheres throughout the watch — most obviously about the rubber-ringed crown at 3 o’clock. Furthermore, it manages to stay true to Wunderman’s original vision, which has been inspired by a 1960s dip watch that featured a huge crystal to hold out against the pressure of deep seated exploration. But is this watch just an homage, or have Corum updated it significantly to appeal to a contemporary audience?
Being the the metallurgical flavour of the day, there are more bronze watches than you can shake a stick at. The latest entry is from Corum, which takes a slightly different tack.
The Admiral AC-One 45 Chronograph Bronze arrives ready aged with a patina in variegated shades of brown. The colour is unlike the typical green-tinted oxidisation on most bronze watch cases, and is achieved via a chemical treatment. Varying the chemical formula results in different shades of patina, with chlorides tending to create a green finish and sulphurous mixtures leaving a brown patina.
Because the patina has already developed to a significant degree, the appearance of the bronze case will remain largely the same over time, unlike other bronze watches that start shiny and new but age over time.
To match the case the dial is brown teak wood with nautical pennants as hour markers, the signature feature of the Admiral series. The woodgrain is aligned vertically, in a nod to the wood decking of classic sailboats.
The case is a large 45mm in diameter and 14.3mm high. It’s rated to 300m, and features a display back that reveals the CO116 movement, which is an automatic ETA 2892 with a Dubois-Depraz chronograph module on top.
Price and availability
Already available at Corum Ingot Watch Gold Replica authorised retailers, the Admiral AC-One 45 Chronograph Bronze (ref. A116/03210) is priced at €9900 or S$16,585.