If watchmaking’s putting you to sleep, If conventions bore you stiff, If time-honoured traditions make you yawn, Corum has just the thing for you…
An old friend of Corum, Matt Barnes is an American artist who isn’t exactly known for upholding aesthetic conventions. That’s just as well, because neither is Corum. Together, they’ve devised the “Bubble Clown”, a piece created in the image of both the brand and the artist – two enfants terribles in their respective worlds of watchmaking and design.
A transfigured clown, disturbing, hypnotic, almost intrusive, stares out from the centre of the timepiece. His snarky smile, piercing stare, and rather disfigured look makes him anything but the stuff of dreams – nightmare fare more like. And yet you simply can’t take your eyes off him. Every detail on the whole is fascinating, and each is deliberately contradictory: a smile – but with razor-sharp teeth; an open yet threatening gaze; a clown costume that reveals innumerable tattoos; carnival make-up daubed over scars; and the traditional wig – styled into a Mohican. Every single distinctive clown feature has been hijacked. The overall effect doesn’t exactly invite itself onto the wrist – it’s more a case of it latching on there in a display of power, consistency, and singularity.
Bubble Clown by Matt Barnes © Corum
The mechanical cladding for Matt Barnes’ Clown is pretty off-the-wall, too. The timepiece lacks hands; instead, hours and minutes are displayed by means of two red circles on the flange. In addition, the Bubble Clown is 52 millimetres wide, offering the Clown a creative expanse whose breadth is unprecedented in watchmaking. The Clown’s round face fits perfectly into the Bubble’s curved shape, with the magnifying effect of the convex sapphire crystal further accentuating his facial features.
There’s a lot of debate on the topic of watches as artwork. Even though a watch should not be art to be of notice, I am a firm believer in their capability to straddle the bounds of function, shape, and philosophy where appropriate. In the case of the Corum Bubble watches, it is apparently a brand’s attempt at creating a pure objet d’art. It is correct, the Corum Bubble watches are not really like anything else that the brand makes (or much like anything anybody makes, for that matter), but they’re designed to be beautiful things, which is something that they have in common with other timepieces bearing the Corum logo.The devotion to the sphere in these bits is unwavering. In my view, this group works only because it’s so unconcerned with anything but the most loyal realisation of its own distinct concept. To make the most of the re-release opportunity, Corum has partnered with famous cymbal producer Paiste. Paiste have been enlisted to make a exceptional dial to get the Corum Bubble Paiste unique edition watch. The dial of this Corum Bubble Paiste is a very small cymbal made by Paiste at precisely the same manner they’d earn a full size cymbal. I am quietly confident it would function as planned have been it removed from the housing and attached to a kit, but if it’s only for show, it seems great.
“This is our second collaboration with Matt Barnes – his quirky universe is a perfect match for our niche in watchmaking,” concludes Corum CEO Jérôme Biard. “This limited edition makes full use of the creative freedom we allow in our Bubble timepieces. Today, Corum is proud to be serving as a focal point for Matt and other twenty-first century talents – as well as for the collectors who follow them with admirable loyalty.”