Some people have good ideas. Others take those ideas and carry them further, pushing the limits of what is possible. That might well sum up the fate of the bronze watch. An archetypal marine material turned fashion phenomenon, this metal – an alloy, in fact – has the defining characteristic of changing when it comes into contact with corrosive elements, the most common of which are salt from sweat and sea water. The colour of bronze begins as a lustrous yellow, tinged with red depending on how much copper is present, but develops a patina along with the characteristic spots of verdigris.
Legions of timepieces made of “clean” bronze have recently been released, notably by Anonimo, Tudor and Panerai. The watch is delivered as new, and the patina builds up over time, creating a unique and personal object that reflects its wearer’s lifestyle. Most recently, Bell & Ross came up with the artfully distressed BR 01 SKULL Patina 1120, created in association with Chronopassion, which was aged to the extreme. At least, that’s what everyone thought.
Could do better
Now, the torch has passed to Corum, which is hoping to provide the definitive last word on the subject with its Admiral AC-One 45 Chronograph Bronze. Following on from natural bronze and verdigris, this watch goes even further, sporting a brown patina akin to the final stage of corrosion of a watch that has spent decades, maybe even centuries, underwater, but was rescued just before the metal really started to disintegrate.
This result is achieved on a piece-by-piece basis. In this way, Corum preserves the uniqueness that is a feature of bronze timepieces. The procedure is undertaken by an external craftsman, who corrodes the material to the maximum extent, before stabilising it with an invisible coating, stopping the corrosion in its tracks. At this point, the case is also perfectly smooth, ensuring it is comfortable to wear.
Tick tock teak
It’s actually about time Corum Watches India returned the favorite Bubble opinion – a timepiece collection that initially came out in the year 2000 and served a significant contemporary role in the brand’s history. Finally, the Corum Bubble watch set was stopped, probably because Corum began to go a little nuts with a few silly limited edition models – which, looking back today, are pretty darn cool. You may recall back in 2008, when aBlogtoWatch featured a collection of limited edition Corum Bubble watches that were extremely fitting for Halloween. For Baselworld 2015, the Corum Bubble is back, and I finally have reason to pay attention to this newest again.I recall a couple of years ago meeting with Corum in Baselworld and asking concerning the Bubble and if we might see one again. Someone sneered at me remarking that “we don’t think that’s right for the new anymore. We’ve moved beyond that.” “Okay…” is all I could react with, and we proceeded on to watching more new variations of the Admirals Cup and Golden Bridge collection. I have always liked Corum, but over the last few years, the fun side of this brand appeared to be diminishing and being substituted with a great deal of ill-conceived high-end watches that did nothing to function the image of their brand. I feel that the last time I wrote about Corum was back in January of 2014 when I had a less than optimistic view of this Corum Chronograph Tourbillon 47 Seafender. Afterwards, the brand decided to stick double tourbillons into an Admiral’s Cup watch, and with their new ownership by China Haidian Holdings, I more or less assumed that the brand’s appeal for watch enthusiasts was (at least briefly) over. Actually, aside from some minor alterations and a case size that’s been increased to 47mm wide from 45mm wide, the 2015 Corum Bubble is quite similar to the way it was when Corum chose to discontinue it. Also, even though the case is larger (and sounds really large) the Corum Bubble wears smaller than it is with snub lugs along with a case that wraps round your wrist well. With that said, I am pretty sure you can imagine that with a name like the “Bubble,” this opinion is thick. The sapphire crystal alone is 8mm thick and the total Corum Bubble watch is 18.8mm thick – but in a cool way.
Corum has chosen to complete the look with a teak dial. This wood is one of the signature features of the collection, which also has the traditional 12 pennants as indices, and the dodecagonal bezel. The choice of teak is anything but random – it is the wood traditionally used for yacht decking. Here, it is left in its natural ruddy chestnut hue, accentuated by Corum’s decision to select wood with a particularly prominent grain, which adds to the illusion of the watch being some kind of ancient relic. The painting on the dial is thus appropriately worn-looking (this is entirely intentional), and the subdials and markings are all charmingly irregular. The 12 pennant hour markers, however, are crisp and clear. Rather than distressing them to match the rest of the dial, the designers have chosen to ensure they remain eye-catchingly visible.
The Admiral AC-One 45 Chronograph is automatic, with a power reserve of 42 hours and a depth rating of 300 metres. The crystal and caseback of the bronze case are in anti-reflective sapphire, and the watch is fitted with a brown calfskin strap with triple-folding clasp.