The Corum Bubble watch — flaunting a large, round case and prominent domed crystal — made its debut in 2000 and wowed some segments of the watch enthusiast community with its radically unconventional design. Numerous and often colorful versions of that original model appeared throughout the early aughts, until eventually Corum, seeking more serious horological cred, opted to move away from the trendy Bubble to focus more on its core Admiral’s Cup and Golden Bridge collections. This year, however, Corum brings back this cult-favorite timepiece in three new versions.
The first two are part of Corum’s recently established Op Art series, which pays aesthetic homage to the optical art movement pioneered by French-Hungarian artist Victor Vasarely. The Bubble Drop and the Bubble Sphere2, designed by Corum in a partnership with industrial designer Nicolas Le Moigne, carry on the Bubble tradition with their 8-mm-high, domed sapphire crystal acting as a lens that both magnifies and distorts the imagery on the dial in an eye-catching way. The Bubble Drop, in a brown-PVD-coated case, has a matching brown dial made of brass that features a pattern of furrows and shadows that mimic the surface of moving water, while the Bubble Sphere2, housed in a blue-PVD-coated case, has a blue dial that continues the dome motif of the crystal, offering the illusion of a sphere within a sphere.
Both new Bubble watches have 47-mm-diameter cases, water-resistant to 100 meters. The sapphire crystals (front and back) are treated with nonreflective coating and the hour and minute hands are rhodium-plated and enhanced with a Super-LumiNova that echoes the colors of the dials and case. Both are powered by the automatic Caliber Co 082, with a 42-hour power reserve, a 28,800-vph frequency, and a Corum-decorated rotor. The watches come on rubber-lined calf leather straps (brown for Drop, blue for the Sphere2) and PVD-coated steel tongue buckles. Each one is limited to 350 pieces.
The third new Bubble Watch, also limited to 350 pieces, is the Corum Bubble Paiste. It is a collaboration between Corum and Paiste, a Swiss manufacturer of cymbals that has supplied some of the world’s biggest rock bands, including Kiss, Pink Floyd and AC/DC. The dial has been created to resemble a miniaturized cymbal; made of bronze and hand-finished, each dial is technically unique. To emphasize the rock ‘n’ roll look, Corum opted for “full black dress” on the watch — a stainless steel case treated with black PVD (also 47 mm in diameter), brass hour and minute hands painted black, and a sleek black strap (also calf leather with rubber lining and with case-matching PVD buckle). The movement in the Bubble Paiste is the automatic CO 110, with decorated rotor, 42-hour power reserve, and 28,800 vph frequency.