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 Bubble Watch Value Replica 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.
Nothing about the motion or demonstration particularly feels like a logical extension of the Admiral’s Cup DNA. Something like this could make considerably more sense being in a Romulus collection. It does not seem plausible the relative prevalence of the Admiral’s Cup lineup has made it that the breeding ground for almost every new notion Corum would like to discharge. Should they want to analyze their own past, Corum will discover they’re a brand of excellent design imagination and aesthetic creativity. I genuinely want them to return the Admiral’s Cup to some location of some actual marine or yachting distinction and make new visual references for pieces it needs to incorporate a tourbillon chronograph into.I’ve never really been a fan of watches with aluminum instances because of their fragility. Corum has claimed that the aluminum version of this watch has some type “ceramisation” as a coat to offer you the dark gray tone. Is that supposed to imply there’s some type of ceramic coating in the case to make it strong? I am unsure and that is not precisely what they say. Although I can say I’m further not a huge fan of matte finished gray surfaces for watch cases. In a nutshell I believe Corum has really been missing a layout opportunity with its high-complication piece like this. Save whatever character the Admiral’s Cup collection has left and make it amazing collection. When it comes to tourbillons or use of novel materials and manufacturing techniques, perhaps designing a new collection is a much better thought than coming up with names such as “Seafender” that I am sure most will argue don’t have any business being paired with a tourbillon to start with.
Tick tock teak
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.