A man of the arts and culture whose personality and charisma influenced his innovative designs, Severin Wunderman was an icon in the watchmaking industry
Severin Wunderman, the owner of Corum since 2000, who revitalised and re-established the Corum Brand with his creativity and ingenuity passed away on June 25 at his vacation home in Nice. He was 69 years old.
Always on the lookout for new challenges, Wunderman bought Corum in 2000 and created the dawn of a new era. As Chairman, Wunderman brought to the Corum brand, established in 1955, his daring and innovative designs that would once again prove successful.
Wunderman launched a new Bubble collection made up of original designs, by bringing his contemporary vision of the classic watchmaking universe. He also relaunched the legendary Admiral’s Cup and Romulus lines giving them new identities and purpose.
Wunderman’s watchmaking journey began in the 1960’s in the United States where he rapidly developed his keen business acumen. His chance encounter with Aldo Gucci shaped his destiny.
He went on to become the innovative entrepreneur who merged Italian luxury design with Swiss watchmaking precision under the label Gucci Timepieces. During Wunderman’s 25-year association with Gucci, the company sold millions of watches throughout the world.
Wunderman had an affinity for the world of art and culture with a particular interest in the works of Jean Cocteau. Over the years, his artistic sense became more developed and he added to his collection works by major masters of the 17th, 18th, 19th and 20th centuries.
As a patron of the arts, he created the Jean Cocteau Museum in California’s Orange County and is one of the major contributors to the Museum of Menton, which opens its doors in 2010 and holds 1200 works by Cocteau that have been contributed by Wunderman.
In parallel to his artistic activities, Wunderman expressed his philanthropic and humanitarian self by creating the Severin Wunderman Family Foundation, which finances various charity and medical research programmes throughout the world.
Additionally, Wunderman financed the Severin Wunderman Collection of Child Survivor Testimonies from the Holocaust: The Children Speak to Children Programme at the Shoah Foundation created by Steven Spielberg.
Wunderman’s commitment and contribution to culture and philanthropy throughout his life earned him the respect and recognition of Cocteau’s country of origin. On December 31, 2004, Wunderman was appointed Knight of the National Order of the Legion of Honour by the President of the French Republic.
P.S: The couple of times I met Severin Wunderman, he always had something new to share. When I visited the Corum Head Office last month, I was drawn to a portrait of Severin Wunderman (reproduced above) in the main lobby. He passed away shortly after but what remains is his portrait on the wall. My colleagues and I at Watch World deeply regret his demise.
– Mitrajit Bhattacharya