Just about a year after the official re-launch of the Corum Bubble, the collection is now expanded even further. What started with 2 models in 2015 now is a collection of 35 different versions. Some a little whimsical like a gamblers watch with a Roulette wheel for a dial, and others more on the high-end spectrum of watchmaking with the Skeleton Tourbillon. A funky new entry for this year, which wasn’t introduced with a whole lot a banter, is the Corum Bubble Lunar with a surprising effect when wearing it! We go hands-on with this new timepiece.
The Bubble is somewhat an iconic model for Corum, the other being the Golden Bridge collection of course. It was first introduced in 2000, and was eventually discontinued a few years ago. Over time I believe that Corum sort of lost track of what was intended with the Bubble as more and more variations were introduced, even quartz powered versions. For 2015 though, Corum decided it was time to relaunch the playful Bubble with the introduction of the Heritage Bubble in either brown or black – and also with a skeletonized version.
The Bubble Lunar is a novelty for this year and, as you might have guessed, it is inspired by the moon. The extremely domed sapphire is almost like a sphere, at least in looks, and thus an astronomical variation of the Bubble makes quite a bit of sense (just like one with a map of the world, or any other planetary object for that matter). This Corum Bubble Lunar has a domed dial as well, that morphs under the strong curvature of the sapphire crystal which is the trademark for the Bubble collection of course. The dial is printed with a technique called serigraphy, a silk-screen printing method which origins can be traced back to the Song Dynasty in China.
The Song Dynasty lasted from 960 to 1279 AD but the technique was brought to Western Europe in the 19th century but didn’t gain a lot of momentum, until silk was widely available. The technique uses a mesh screen, originally a silk one although synthetic materials are more common these days. A squeegee moves over the prepared screen, while spreading paint onto the intended surface. A second pass by the squeegee then removes the excess paint while preserving the image onto the object. In this case, the domed dial of the Corum Bubble Lunar is printed in a blueish-grey paint and hand-finished to get the best possible representation of the lunar surface.
The new Bubble collection is slightly larger than the original (which was 45mm) at 47mm in diameter. The Corum Bubble Lunar has a steel case that is finished with a black PVD coating and comes on a black leather strap, with a rubber lining and a black PVD steel pin-buckle. When putting it on, I was surprised by the comfort of the timepiece. I expected it to be top-heavy due to the large crystal, which might make it move around the wrist a little more than preferable. This is not an issue though, at least not on my wrist. The case, with its strongly curved lugs, really hugs your wrist and stays firmly in place when moving around.
The anti-reflective sapphire crystal in itself is a whopping 8mm thick, which does make the Bubble an almost exaggerated 18.5mm thick. Normally you’d expect this kind of thickness on dive watches which go down to the Mariana-trench or something. If you change the angle of your wrist even the slightest bit, you get to see another part of the domed dial underneath. If you angle it too far though, you get a nice fisheye-like view of your surroundings. Even though sapphire is incredibly hard and scratch-resistant I would advise you to stay clear of doorsills and be careful around tables, desks and whatnot and absolutely stay away from wrenching on your car with it!
The base movement for the entire Bubble collection, besides the complicated versions, is the CO0082 movement, which is a Soprod A10 with a branded rotor and visible through the sapphire caseback. It features hours, minutes indicated through the large stylized hands and of course a central seconds hand with a lollipop tip. The brand’s logo (the key-symbol) and name are printed on the inside of the crystal, which plays along with the distortion of the crystal and is not visible in some angles. Normally readability would be a thing to criticize here, but with the Bubble collection, that’s the entire point, or gimmick if you will. Time is set through the ball-like crown which has a rubber ring to make it grip easier.
The Corum Bubble collection starts at just under 3,500 Swiss Francs for the base models, all the way up to 101,000 Swiss Francs for the Tourbillon GMT. This Corum Bubble Lunar is a limited edition of 88 pieces, 87 of which will be done in steel and the last one in the collection in gold. The steel version will be priced at 5,725 Swiss Francs (and the gold is available at 13,550 Swiss Francs). For more information, Corum.ch.