While the once-rare tourbillon has by now been firmly established as a mainstay in the haute horlogerie world, there are still some watchmakers that can come up with clever new variations on it. At Baselworld 2018, Corum became one of these innovators, with the release of a new timepiece with an eye-catching centrally mounted tourbillon in its “playful and contemporary” Bubble collection.
The Corum Bubble Central Tourbillon — which is officially, and somewhat perplexingly, named the Bubble 47 Swoosh — is the latest and most ambitious step in the full-speed-ahead relaunch of the cult-classic Bubble collection, which began in 2015 after the model had lain dormant for several years following its meteoric rise and fall in the early-to-mid-2000s. It is also, Corum teases, likely a harbinger of more “Fine Watchmaking” pieces to come in the revamped collection. It has a large, round, 47-mm case made of grade 5 titanium — in one of the three versions, coated with black PVD and enhanced with an 18k rose gold bezel and crown — covered by the Bubble’s emblematic domed sapphire crystal and featuring an another pane of sapphire in the back to showcase the movement. On the dial side is the main attraction, a centrally positioned tourbillon that required a technically complex inline movement construction and which uses a non-soldered pallet to position the tourbillon at the most ideal angle to catch the eye. Corum’s “key” logo appears dead center on the upper tourbillon bridge, and shape of the wide, domed crystal acts like a magnifying glass, enhancing the technical details of this micromechanical “whirlwind.” (“Tourbillon” is French for “whirlwind,” which might mean the “Swoosh” nickname refers to the sound of whipping winds.)
The watch also offers an unconventional way of reading the time. So as not to obscure the central tourbillon with traditional center-mounted hands, the hours and minutes displays have been moved to the dial’s flange, with hours indicated by a colored triangle (blue on the titanium versions, gold on the PVD-rose-gold model) on the inner scale and minutes by a black triangle on the outer scale. Powering the watch is a self-winding mechanical movement, the presumably ETA-based Caliber CO 406, with a bidirectional rotor, a 28,800-vph frequency, and a 65-hour power reserve stored in two series-connected mainspring barrels. The natural titanium version of the watch is available on either a tough synthetic strap with rubber lining or on a titanium Milanese-style bracelet, while the black PVD-coated titanium timepiece with rose-gold bezel and crown comes on a black vulcanized rubber strap. Prices were unavailable at press time.