Double trouble: Nicolas Le Moigne rethinks the Corum 'Bubble' watch
First released in 2000, Corum's 'Bubble' marked a fun moment in watchmaking; oversized, with an extra-large sapphire crystal dome, the radical design heralded a major modern moment for the brand. Now, the original concept has been updated by industrial designer Nicolas Le Moigne, who has designed two new 'Bubble' pieces as part of the brand's Op Art series.
Op art – or 'optical art', the form created by Hungarian artist Victor Vasarely – is celebrated for its ability to produce static patterns that seem to move, disorientating the observer by hinting at different perspectives that lay underneath the immediately obvious. The new pieces remain faithful to the original 'Bubble', with an 8mm sapphire crystal that acts as a lens, working to both magnify and distort the dial, fracturing light.
Le Moigne was inspired by key pop art artists when working on his designs, and Vassarely and François Morellet's abstract pieces are the perfect foil for his skilfully technical and voluminous drawings. ‘Technically, it is possible to play with only 1mm of depth but thanks to the visual elements, I was able to really bring this 3rd dimension,’ he says.
The first of the two automatic pieces, the 'Bubble Sphere2', creates the illusion of a whole sphere by printing lines that traverse the dial directly onto the glass. The second plays on light and shadow, working on the grooves in the design to create a landscape that appears to be full of different heights, as undulating as a body of water – hence its name, the 'Bubble Drop'.
‘Ensuring all the lines and colours fit together so the visual illusion would work was a challenge,’ Le Moigne admits, but there is no hint of this in the exuberant end result. ‘The project,' he concludes, 'was meant to be surprising and playful.’