Corum – Hands-on with the new Admiral Legend 42 automatic
In a similar stroke of good fortune that allowed me to shoot a German watch in the Swiss Alps, the new Corum Admiral Legend 42mm automatic watch arrived at the office a couple of days before I finally got to take my “summer” holidays… in October. As temperatures in Switzerland plummeted as low as 5 degrees Celsius, I was relaxing by the pool in a much more balmy 36 degrees on the coast at Ras Al-Khaimah. But the beach was about as close as I got to the environment from which the Corum Admiral Legend takes its inspiration.
It is actually about time Corum returned the most favorite Bubble watch – a timepiece collection that initially came out in the year 2000 and served a major contemporary function in the brand’s history. Eventually, the Corum Bubble watch set was stopped, probably since Corum started to go a little nuts with a few silly limited edition versions – that, looking back now, are pretty darn cool. For Baselworld 2015, the Corum Bubble is back, and that I finally have reason to look closely at the brand again.I remember a couple of years ago meeting with Corum in Baselworld and inquiring about the Bubble and if we could see one again. Someone sneered in my remarking that “we do not think that’s right for the brand anymore. We have moved past that.” “Okay…” is all I could react with, and we moved on to seeing more new variations of the Admirals Cup and Golden Bridge collection. I’ve always enjoyed Corum, but within the past couple of decades, the enjoyable side of the brand appeared to be decreasing and being substituted with a lot of ill-conceived high-end watches that did nothing to serve the image of the brand. Later, the brand chose to stick double tourbillons to an Admiral’s Cup watch, and with their brand new possession by China Haidian Holdings, I more or less assumed the brand’s allure for watch enthusiasts was (at least briefly) over. In fact, aside from some minor alterations and a case size that has been increased to 47mm wide from 45mm wide, the 2015 Corum Bubble is quite similar to the way it had been when Corum chose to stop it. Additionally, even though the instance is larger (and seems really big) that the Corum Bubble wears smaller than it is with snub lugs along with a situation that wraps round your wrist nicely. That said, I am quite sure you can imagine that with a title such as the “Bubble,” this opinion is thick. The sapphire crystal alone is 8mm thick and also the total Corum Bubble watch is 18.8mm thick – but in a cool way.
The choice of name for this new collection, which covers the full range of desires, from 32mm jewellery pieces for women up to a 47mm world time model, was wise, since Corum have decided to drop the “Admiral’s Cup”. Corum’s Admiral’s Cup collection had existed in parallel with the unofficial world championships of offshore sailing ever since 1960, but the last Admiral’s Cup race was held in 2003 (after a four-year hiatus) and there is currently no indication of a come-back.
With the watch strapped on to my wrist with the leather strap, I did not test the 50-metre water resistance claims, either in the air-conditioned pool or the jacuzzi-like temperatures of the Arabian sea. Instead, the Admiral Legend became my distinguished evening accessory for dinner at the hotel and on my daytime excursions, as you can see from the photo above.
One of the first riddles I had to solve was that of the indications on the dial. Just what do those nautical pennants on the dial mean? After a little bit of Googling, I should have known better: they are simply the nautical flags that represent 1-9, with the flags at 10, 11 and 12 o’clock being a combined flag made up of the individual digits. No doubt self-evident for the seasoned sailor, but they were few and far between in the dunes surrounding the Bedouin oasis camp. Once you have your bearings, however, it’s easy to read the time thanks to generously-proportioned hands with SuperLuminova inserts, as well as a small seconds subdial at 6 o’clock with indications in the style of those of a compass.
The case of the Admiral Legend is distinctive for two reasons, the first being the dodecagonal case that matches the bezel, the second is the uniform polished finish across the case and bezel. The faceting on the case extends slightly in the 3 o’clock position to act as a form of crown protection. Power comes from the CO 395 self-winding calibre (visible through a sapphire crystal case back) with a 42-hour power reserve, more than enough to stay on time when kept safely in the hotel safe to be brought out as and when required.
This particular model is available with a choice of blue or white dials, with an additional black dial available for the chronograph. But the entire collection is vast – please refer to our watchfinder for an overview.