Introducing the Chronoswiss Open Gear ReSec KingfisherBy Suan Futt Yeo
Nature has all manner of wonders that craftsmen and artists take inspiration from without fee; for their grand scale, majestic mountains, forests, the splendorous colors of the seasons and even fearsome predators, often form the seed around which unique creations are conceived. It’s just a little unusual to find a timepiece inspired by something that lives on a more modest scale. This is no slight on the hunting prowess of the kingfisher, but a hawk it isn’t. Nevertheless, Chronoswiss has made a very fine choice in this case. For one, the blue/orange hue of a kingfisher’s plume is nothing short of stunning in a watch. Apparently the kingfisher is often called a “flying gemstone”, so we shouldn’t be so surprised that it wears so handsomely on the wrist but we are. Moreover, the kingfisher also happens to be a native species of the rivers close to Lucerne, where Chronoswiss has its atelier.
Instead of using a galvanic treatment, Chronoswiss used chemical vapour deposition for the blues to achieve a more metallic effect. In stark contrast, the orange hour markers are actually pillars of Super-LumiNova mixed with zirconium oxide. The colors are indeed cheery and modern; yet the features of the watch underneath are somewhat more classical in their elegance. We are referring to the signature touches that form a very unified design language that extends across the breadth of Chronoswiss’s entire collection. The first of these that our eyes are drawn to is the gorgeous long-wave guilloche over the main dial, hand-executed by one of Chronoswiss’s three guillocheurs, using a century-old machine. According to Chronoswiss, the space between each line is only 0.275mm, and perfection demands zero vibration in the machine. The fluted onion crown, another Chronoswiss staple, is a thing of beauty, as is the polished, knurled bezel, which complements the satin finished caseband perfectly.
The regulator format of separating the hours and minutes is a further classical touch, and the hours and minutes are set over the retrograde seconds, which dates back to the 17th century. Working in concert, the dramatic guilloche, tall hour markers, funneled subdials and exposed gearworks of the regulator module achieve a deeply three-dimensional dial full of visual interest, giving new impetus to tag “multi-layered dial”. The effect is further enhanced when considering the Open Gear ReSec Kingfisher’s massive 44mm size. The entire stainless steel case is composed of no less than 17 pieces, perhaps a mite less impressive than the dial which is composed of 42 parts.
The Open Gear ReSec Kingfisher is driven by the self-winding caliber C.301 with hacking seconds. The skeletonized rotor in matching orange is a nice touch. The watch is available in a limited edition of 50 pieces.
Progress is not always good but more often than not, inevitable. In an era of mass production, when products tend to become commoditized to realize the gains to be had from economies of scale, it becomes ever more challenging for watches to be “special” without costing an arm and more. Chronoswiss has done a commendable balancing act of juggling costs, while offering authenticity in selected handcrafted elements, as opposed to making everything in-house, by hand. Hand guilloche using a century-old engine turning machine adds a touch of the exquisite; then there is skeletonizing and enameling, imbuing each watch with artisanal content.
And it’s not just about preserving the disappearing arts either. Watch design is yet another element that makes a Chronoswiss timepiece stand out — not merely a classically styled watch, but a modern timepiece inspired by the classics. An onion crown in many places would look archaic, almost affected. But on a Chronoswiss, with the expansive case, muscular curved lugs and bold colorways, the ensemble effect is even quaintly classical and contemporary.
Chronoswiss calls this meld of classical and modern touches, “Modern Mechanical”. There aren’t too many companies that have managed to harmonize these opposing strains as Chronoswiss has done, and even fewer at its price point.
Movement: Self-winding Chronoswiss caliber C. 301, power reserve of 42 hours
Functions: Off-centre hours, central minutes, retrograde seconds
Case: 44mm stainless steel case, 13.35 mm case height, display caseback, water resistant to 10 bar
Strap: Hand-sewn textile (Cordura) strap
Price: USD 10,100
Availability: Limited edition of 50 pieces