The Swiss watchmaker Courm has recently introduced a new collection of rubberized watches. Called Corum Admiral’s Cup Challenger 44 Chrono Rubber (yes, the name as informative as it is boring,) they look like a daring attempt to steal the loyal customer base from the legendary Casio G-Shock series: probably, those affluent kids who always wanted themselves a G-Shock, but thought that even the most limited versions of the family weren’t expensive enough to brag about. Now, they have a choice of whole five models to choose from (or they can buy them all.)
Well, here I am, ready for another bunch of hate mail. This time, the droplets of organic waste will possibly fly from Corum’s die-hard fans.
While there are many watchmakers producing sporty timekeepers packed in rubberized bodies (Ulysse Nardin with its gorgeous Marine Diver Black Sea (Ref. 263-92-3C) is one of them, for instance,) however, it was Corum that went all the way forward to present a whole collection of rubber watches.
The idea behind the Challenger 44 is simple: when you buy an expensive sporty timekeeper, you want to protect it from occasional bumps and scratches.
For a watchmaker, there are two ways to do it.
The first way is to make it from some high-tech, scratch-resistant material (preferably ceramic, but forged carbon fiber will also do.)
The other way is to make it from stainless steel or titanium, but to cover it with some substance that will protect the metal parts from abuse.
While DLC treatment looks expensive, it doesn’t ensure one hundred percent protection. So, the obvious choice is to rubberize the body and the bezel.
However, when you choose the material, it is always important to choose the right colors for the coating. Like, for example, black.
While the Challenger 44 looks like an absolute winner on the distributed set of promotional photos, in real life it doesn’t look that impressive.
Maybe it is the red model that spoils the impression for the whole collection, since the models in blue and black still look good, almost classy. The problem here is that there is just too much rubber, too much color: it is on the bezel, on the body, on the strap. Even the oscillating weight of its ETA Valjoux 7753-based CO 753 modified automatic movement is color-keyed to the resin-covered parts!
Together with dull black titanium parts (probably, they are PVD treated,) the watch looks not sporty and elegant, but sporty and cheap, like a quartz-powered Casio. Also, the use of PVD-treated parts destroys the whole idea of rubberizing the other parts of the watch: it is the titanium crown and the titanium screw-down back that will soon show the first signs of wear.
Build Quality: 5/5
Overall Legibility: 4/5
Nighttime Legibility: 3.5/5
Value for Money: 3/5
Overall Rating: 3/5
Corum Admiral’s Cup Challenger 44 Chrono Rubber specification
Price: $8150 (MSRP)
Movement: Automatic, Caliber CO753, based on ETA Valjoux 7753 ebauche, 28,800 vph, 27 jewels, COSC-certified chronometer, Swiss Made
Movement decoration: Exclusive Corum finish, colored oscillating weight (matching case)
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, date, chronograph
Power reserve: 48 hours
Case and Bezel material: Steel, rubberized
Crown material: Titanium
Shape: Dodecagonal (twelve-sided)
Size: 44.00 mm
Lug width: 22.00 mm
Case height: 16.00 mm
Dial: Matching case
Hour markers: Corum chevrons, luminous
Hands: Facetted, luminous
Water resistance: 30 meters (model with white dial and white body) / 100 meters (all others)
Strap: Black, red, blue or white vulcanized rubber; Triple folding clasp with opening and fastening system using two pushers, steel cover with Corum logo
Crystal: Sapphire, dodecagonal, cambered, antireflective
Back: Screw-down display back in titanium, sapphire crystal