Fellows, Birmingham, 28 July 2015
Sold for £4,200
The late Severin Wunderman, who owned the Corum brand from 2000 until his death in 2008, was regarded as one of the great characters of the watch business during the early years of the 21st century. The Corum stand at the Baselworld show, which was positioned close to the entrance in those days, always attracted a crowd both for its unusual external appearance – it was once entirely covered in sharkskin – and for the often morbid accessories with which the display windows were decorated.
Wunderman, you see, was left with a fascination for the macabre after an initial brush with death in 1996 when he was diagnosed with a virulent form of cancer that doctors believed would see him dead within a month. In the event, a combination of determination and experimental drugs enabled him to survive for another 12 years – during which he amassed a collection of death-related objects, notably skulls, which he displayed around his homes.
He also conceived the innovative Bubble watch design. At 45mm in diameter, it was decidedly large for its time – but it was the bulging sapphire crystal that (literally) made it stand out. That, and the fact that the dials were often decorated with ghoulish imagery, as with this Lucifer model.
While something of an acquired taste, this white gold, diamond-set example was undoubtedly a bargain – certainly compared with its original retail price.