Just like Hublot keeps exploiting its still financially successful Big Bang design, Corum keeps digging a vein of gold of its own. Offering the same easily recognizable design as the rest of the family, the new Admiral’s Cup Challenge 44 Black (ref. 753.691.93/F371 AN32) automatic chronograph follows the current trend of making watches that aren’t just bigger and bolder, but also can deliver your personal statement with a bit of arrogance.
The new addition to the series is the 44mm Challenge 44 Black model that features a PVD-coated dodecagonal stainless steel case, which is adorned with a fixed red gold bezel and an oversized winding crown.
The same noble metal decorates the dial, starting with all six hands –including the finely wrought central seconds hand with Corum’s trademark Key– and company’s logo at 12 o’clock and ending with the hour markers.
The dial looks just beautiful and its high-contrast display is just great, but Corum’s designers would rather produce the hour markers in color.
You see, the 12 tiny marks on the timepiece’s bezel flange are not just funny pictograms, but are in fact international maritime signal flags that are meant to say “1, 2, 3, 4 … 12” to those who understand the code.
The problem is that, looking at the dial, you can’t tell the “1” from “2”, “4” from “8”, “6” from “7”, and “11” from “12”. In reality, the “1” looks like a white pennant with a red dot on it and the “2” is a blue pennant with a white dot; the “4” is a red pennant with a white cross on it and the “8” is vice-versa. You get the idea.
Despite this embarrassing design (or, rather, usability) mistake, the Challenge 44 looks just great thanks to its dodecagonal bezel and the way that the crown guards and chronograph push-pieces are blended into the exterior. While its size of whole 44 millimeters may scare a great number of people away, the case isn’t as huge in real life and will probably fit just about any wrist above 7.25 inches.
The only thing that some of us may find not particularly comfortable is the gadget’s overall thickness: like many other members of their Admiral’s Cup family, it is whole 17 millimeters from top to bottom that may make wearing it with narrow cuffs a torture.
However, if you don’t find the size (and, of course, weight, since the watch is massive given the relatively heavy alloy it is crafted from) of this thing doesn’t bother you, you should be okay.
It will probably be quite accurate, too, because Corum’s CO753 automatic caliber, which is based on the robust and reliable ETA Valjoux 7753 top-grade ebauche, is COSC-certified, so the chronograph is also a chronometer.
Although Admiral Cup’s series design starts to leave a sour taste in one’s mouth, the Challenge 44 Black still deserves to be considered as a worthy gift for the upcoming Labor Day.
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Build Quality: 5/5
Overall Legibility: 4.5/5
Nighttime Legibility: 4.5/5
Value for Money: 3.5/5
Overall Rating: 4/5
Corum Admiral’s Cup Challenge 44 Black chronograph (ref. 753.691.93/F371 AN32) specification
Price range: $12,000 (MSRP)
Movement: Caliber CO753, based on ETA Valjoux 7753, automatic, 27 jewels, 28800 vph, Swiss Made
Functions: Hours, minutes, small seconds, chronograph, date at 4 o’clock
Power reserve: 48 hours
Case: Rose gold
Size: 44.00 mm
Case height: 17.00
Water resistance: 100 meters
Strap: Vulcanized black rubber with a triple folding clasp in PVD steel
Crystal: Sapphire, dodecahedral, domed, anti-reflective coating