Tested For You: A Comprehensive Look At Chronoswiss' 2021 Creations
With bold designs, three-dimensional dials, and a palette of shifting colors, the Lucerne-based brand continues to stand out from the crowd.
If a sign of a great product is that you can recognize it from the proverbial mile away, then Chronoswiss watches can be considered fine examples of product design.
The Lucerne-based brand’s watches stand out from the crowd big time thanks to a number of strong design features, including three-dimensional regulator displays (of which it was a pioneer), wavy and chessboard guilloche dials created in-house on a rose lathe, and the use of chemical vapor deposition (CVD) and diamond-like carbon (DLC) to add funky and contrasting colors to its dials and cases.
And that’s without mentioning other notable Chronoswiss traits such as its signature fluted bezel and caseback, sizeable onion crown, and Trigono hands.
In keeping with its tagline “Modern Mechanical,” Chronoswiss harnesses cutting-edge manufacturing techniques and traditional crafts – like in-house oven-fired enamel dials and skeletonized movements – to create contemporary timepieces that the brand quite proudly states are not everyone’s cup of tea.
As Maik Panziera, a Chronoswiss designer, says: “A lot of people like mainstream watches. We are not for them. Our timepieces are nonconformist.”
So, mavericks, rebels, watch collecting outliers, do we have a treat for you because today we take a closer look at five of the latest Chronoswiss models.
SkelTec Pitch Black and Azur
First introduced last fall in two 50-piece limited editions – one in natural stainless steel with a DLC-treated bezel, another in DLC-treated steel with an 18K red gold bezel – the SkelTec is Chronoswiss’s impressive interpretation of a contemporary, skeleton watch.
Forming a technical-looking backdrop to the central hour and minute indications is the openworked, manual-winding C.304 caliber featuring blackened bridges, rhodium-treated gears, open screw balance, and pared-down barrel with visible mainspring. The movement is housed in a sculpturally curved, 45mm sandblasted case featuring skeletonized lugs.
At Watches & Wonders 2021, Chronoswiss followed up those initial offerings with two further 50-piece limited editions. Inspired by sci-fi, the SkelTec Pitch Black features a DLC-treated steel case and bezel, with the blackened elements superbly setting off the barrel, gears, and lacquered hands. It comes on a calfskin and textile strap and is priced at $21,300.
Meanwhile, the SkelTec Azur has a CVD-treated royal blue bezel and caseback sandwiching a DLC-treated caseband. The mushroom-shaped bridge displaying the minutes has also been given an intense blue hue. The Azur comes on a calfskin and textile strap and is priced at $22,400.
Open Gear ReSec Black Ice and Paraiba
When it was launched at Baselworld 2019, the Open Gear ReSec was dubbed the world’s first regulator watch with retrograde second hand.
The line comprises 50-piece limited editions, featuring a funnel-like sub-dial for the hour at 12 o’clock and central minutes – with the gears driving both indications on display – plus a 30-second retrograde display at 6 o’clock, all mounted onto a modular dial plate that has been eye-catchingly hand-guilloched or frosted.
The C.301 automatic movement and its winding rotor – decorated with perlage and Geneva waves – can be viewed through the display caseback, while the 44mm case is available in CVD-treated electric blue, black DLC-treated and natural stainless-steel case, as well as 18K red gold, paired with stunning electric blue, anthracite, black, or red dial plates.
Heavy Metal Stealth
At Watches & Wonders 2021, Chronoswiss added two contrasting Open Gear ReSecs to the collection: the stealthy Black Ice and the exotic Paraiba.
Designer Panziera listened to a lot of heavy rock and metal music while designing the Black Ice, which features a DLC-treated steel case, sparkly, black dial, and blackened winding rotor. And the model’s moniker is inspired by the AC/DC album of the same name.
Panziera said: “This watch is like fifty shades of black, and the different blacks really contrast with each other thanks to the different structures, finishes and coatings. Some surfaces are much darker than others. Despite the monochrome palette, they almost appear like different colors.”
The Open Gear ReSec Black Ice comes with a hand-stitched neoprene band on a leather base and is priced at $10,600.
The Open Gear ReSec Paraiba is a colorful counterpoint to the Black Ice. Its natural stainless-steel case is complemented by a hand-guilloched dial that changes from soft turquoise and petrol blue to jungle green and deep purple as you turn the watch. The effect is achieved through a unique type of nano-decorative CVD technique that took months to perfect.
“When the prototype finally came back from the lab, I instantly thought of the Paraiba tourmaline, one of the world’s rarest gemstones unique to the north-eastern Brazilian state,” commented Panziera, explaining the origins of the model’s name.
The Open Gear ReSec Paraiba comes on a hand-sewn Hornback crocodile leather strap and priced at $10,400.
Flying Regulator Open Gear Pink Panther
Also available in 18K gold, natural, or DLC-treated stainless steel, the Chronoswiss Flying Regulator Open Gear has a similar dial layout to the Open Gear ReSec. But it has a small seconds sub-dial at 6 o’clock displayed via a rotating topping tool or traditional hand, with its gear visible, rather than the retrograde variety.
At 41mm, it is smaller than the ReSec. In addition to the smaller case size, the automatic Caliber C.299 inside the Flying Regulator Open Gear features more understated snailing decoration, as well as Geneva waves on the rotor.
But the front of the Flying Regulator Open Gear looks no less spectacular with black, blue, green, mustard, and silvered hand-guilloche dials and blued, blackened, and silvered galvanized silver dials integrated into the collection.
We can now add pink to that color palette, for at Watches & Wonders 2021, Chronoswiss unveiled the Flying Regulator Open Gear Pink Panther with black DLC-treated stainless steel, hand-guilloched pink dial, and pink winding rotor.
Cool and Timeless
“With the Pink Panther, I set out to make a modern mechanical black watch with a pink dial. I have never seen this pink in watchmaking,” said Panziera of the hue that was once again obtained through a CVD process.
“We have achieved a cool, timeless version of a color with an interesting history,” he added in reference to nonconformist adoptions of pink, such as its use in pop art and punk haircuts, in addition to the smooth unflappability of the 1960s Pink Panther cartoon character.
Fitted on a rubber-on-calf-leather strap, the Flying Regulator Open Gear Pink Panther is a 50-piece limited edition, priced at $10,200.
For more information, visit the Chronoswiss website.
(Photography by Pierre Vogel)