December 9, 2022
Seeing through time at Baselworld 2017

Exploding in the head of the late Severin Wunderman, the Corum Bubble watches defied expectations upon launch. The profile of this watch is still unusually towering, with one of those highest-domed crystals I have ever seen. The impact that has on the dial is not possible to dismiss. That is appropriate in terms of design fidelity, as it completely adheres to the usage of spheres all over the watch — most obviously on the rubber-ringed crown at 3 o’clock. Furthermore, it manages to stay true to Wunderman’s unique vision, which has been motivated by a 1960s dip watch that comprised a huge crystal to hold out against the pressure of deep-sea exploration. However, is this view just an homage, or have Corum upgraded it significantly to appeal to some modern audience?The first major change is that the diameter: The new releases all quantify 47mm wide and an impressive 18.8mm top. Smartly, though, the lugs are curved and short to allow a snug fit to the wrist. Of the 18.8mm of elevation, 8mm of this is down to the sapphire crystal alone. This is seemingly no mean feat: obtaining a flawless finish on a Sapphire component of this depth, curvature, and necessary consistency is actual challenge. Corum accomplishes this unusual impact by beginning with a block of crystal and grinding it into a bubble-like contour, prior to polishing to absolute clarity.To make the most of the feature, the designers of this Corum Bubble watches, decided to fit the timepieces with “Op-art” (optical-art) dials. These smart patterns give the feeling of motion, in addition to shadow and depth. Though flat, the dials have a level of presence. There will be two Corum Bubble Op-Art watches available at a limited run of 350 pieces each: The Corum Bubble Drop watch comes with a brown PVD-coated case plus a “ripple” effect dial; the Corum Bubble Sphere2 is coated in blue PVD and includes an “atom-inspired” pattern on the dial. Both watches utilise Super-LumiNova on the hands. The magnifying sapphire crystal has such an affect on the horizontal dials that they seem to be sharply domed themselves. With this particular design leaping from the watch, it’s a lot easier to understand why this crazy contraption has numerous lovers the world over. The two watches are fitted with rubber straps wrapped with leather, with a buckle fitting their personal case finishes. The straps start out in 24mm between the lugs and taper to 20mm in the buckle.

Because the concept behind a skeleton watch is to strip away as much metal as possible in the caliber, without compromising its strength or integrity, these are among the more time-consuming types of watch to create. The beauty of these see-through skeleton watches typically lies in the intricacy of the movement parts — with engravings and finishing – that are often incomparable.

Also trending are watches that are not necessarily see-through, but that are finely finished with exposed movements viewable on the dial side.  Typically, in these watches, the mainplate with all of the gears and wheels are visible instead of being hidden behind a dial.  Each of these types of timepieces is pure art and technology, often requiring engravers and watchmakers to spend hundreds of hours chiseling away the metal, finely finishing each tiny component and assembling it in all its glory.  Fortunately for watch lovers, there are brands that love to indulge in this beauty.

At this year’s Baselworld, Corum Watches 1st Copy is a leader with its stunning Golden Bridge watches. Of particular note is the Golden Bridge Rectangle.  The Golden Bridge was first developed by watchmaker extraordinaire, Vincent Calabrese, 40 years ago. The patented linear watch movement with all gears, wheels and parts arranged in a row caught the attention of Corum Watch Company owner at the time, Jean Renee Bannwart, who purchased the patent from Calabrese and unveiled the Corum Golden Bridge watches in 1980.

Similarly, Kerbedanz unveils a stunning new skeletonized watch in rose gold with amazing black accents. Aptly named the Black Squama, the Tourbillon timepiece is cased in gold with a black Diamond-Like Carbon (DLC) coating.   The 41-piece limited edition watch features a mechanical hand-wound, tourbillon KRB-02 caliber that is crafted and decorated by Kerbedanz and Concepto. Most of the 168 components including 80 for the tourbillon carriage are visible through the sapphire crystal and caseback. The deft blend of rose gold and shimmering black, of guilloche’ finishes and hand decorated motifs makes the watch a stunning art form.

Seeing through time at Baselworld 2017
Similarly, Kerbedanz unveils a stunning new skeletonized watch in rose gold with amazing black accents. Aptly named the Black Squama, the Tourbillon timepiece is cased in gold with a black Diamond-Like Carbon (DLC) coating.   The 41-piece limited edition watch features a mechanical hand-wound, tourbillon KRB-02 caliber that is crafted and decorated by Kerbedanz and Concepto. Most of the 168 components including 80 for the tourbillon carriage are visible through the sapphire crystal and caseback. The deft blend of rose gold and shimmering black, of guilloche’ finishes and hand decorated motifs makes the watch a stunning art form.

Seeing through time at Baselworld 2017Independent watch brand Armin Strom also specializes in skeletonization and this year puts emphasis on the Mirrored Force Resonance watch with patented Caliber ARF 15 movement – whose mainplate and components are visible via the sapphire crystal atop the watch.  In fact, the movement features dual regulators developed for maximum precision — and displayed in all its mechanical beauty on what would be the dial side if a dial existed.

Armin Strom’s resonant Caliber ARF15 is a classically constructed manually wound movement that was conceived, manufactured, assembled, and regulated in-house. It beats at a 3.5-Hertz (25,200 vph) frequency, allowing the observer to really appreciate the patented, resonant regulators in action. The two connected oscillators make their revolutions in opposite directions, which is eminently visible on the dial side of the watch, one rotating clockwise and the other counterclockwise, and the animated elements look much like they are performing a beautifully orchestrated dance.  The 43.4 mm watch features a transparent caseback for viewing the rest of the  meticulously finished movement.

Seeing through time at Baselworld 2017