Chronoswiss Open Gear Tourbillon
The Chronoswiss Open Gear Tourbillon is housed in a 44mm case suffused with an Electric Blue CVD-coated finish. It incorporates some avant-garde elements, such as vivid hues and three-dimensional dial components, yet it also retains some of the brand’s traditional design features. Most pertinently, the model is equipped with a new movement, the Manufacture calibre C.303, featuring a flying tourbillon.
In 2000, Chronoswiss unveiled the Régulateur à Tourbillon, the world’s first serially produced regulator tourbillon. Housed in a 38mm case and available in different metals, this watch represented a new chapter in the brand’s history.
However, while this was a new model, there was also a sense of familiarity. The guilloché dial, onion-shaped crown and fluted bezel are all distinguishing features usually found on Chronoswiss watches.
The brand from Lucerne has just released a new timepiece equipped with a ‘whirlwind’ at the base of its dial. At first glance, the Chronoswiss Open Gear Tourbillon looks like some of the brand’s existing references, however, close examination reveals significant differences.
Oliver Ebstein, CEO of Chronoswiss, and Maik Panziera, the firm’s Head of Design, have been the driving force behind the firm releasing new models encompassing vibrant hues and three-dimensional dials. This latest model continues in the same vein.
The new Chronoswiss Open Gear Tourbillon is presented in a 44mm case suffused with an Electric Blue CVD-coated finish. A funnel-like hour display sits below noon and is paired with a ‘Trigono’ shape hand. Breaking with Chronoswiss tradition, the hour track and minuterie are partly skeletonised. Cylinder-shaped blocks of SuperLumiNova denote the hours and prove highly visible even in restricted light.
While the upper dial areas are adorned with sumptuous hand-guilloché decoration, the lower portion of the dial is presented in blue-toned Côtes de Genève motif. Various skeletonised wheels are also visible dial-side.
At the heart of the Chronoswiss Open Gear Tourbillon is a new movement, the Manufacture calibre C.303. This hand-wound movement features a flying tourbillon. The tourbillon, meaning ‘whirlwind’, was patented by Abraham-Louis Breguet in 1801 as a means of countering the adverse influence of gravity on the regulating organ. A flying tourbillon, conceived by German watchmaker, Alfred Helwig, lacks an upper bridge, affording superior views of the regulating organ, escapement and cage all in motion.
This new model is fresh-faced and showcases the expertise of this independent Swiss-brand. The combination of colour, shapes, depths and the flying tourbillon proves a mouthwatering composition whilst still looking reassuringly familiar.
The brand’s press release
Traditionally placed at 6 o’clock, the tourbillon is a perfect ingredient to incorporate in the Chronoswiss design lexicon. “Nobody else makes a tourbillon like ours, with a regulator set-up, open gears and handmade guilloché,” says Maik Panziera, Head of Design at Chronoswiss, about the vertical line-up of the Open Gear Tourbillon. “This half-skeletonised flying tourbillon is completely designed in-house, and it is exclusive to Chronoswiss watches,” he continues. The tourbillon Chronoswiss manufactured 20 years ago – Régulateur à Tourbillon – also had a guilloché dial. But since then the company has taken one small step for man but one giant leap for an independent watchmaker: now Chronoswiss unveils the C.303 – its own half-skeletonised tourbillon movement, and the guilloché is added by hand in its atelier in Lucerne.
With the Open Gear Tourbillon the ‘blue hour’ gets a whole new meaning. Using 10 different shades of the colour historically symbolising loyalty, strength, wisdom and trust, the calm display of the watch is contrasted especially by the energetic, almost aggressively electric blue CVD coating on the 17-part, stainless steel case. “We use a light blue for the dial, whereas the bridges have a dark blue coating,” says Panziera. The Trigono-shaped hands are blue lacquered, with Super-LumiNova inlays and tips. For the hour and five-minute indexes, generous amounts of blue-hued lume are combined with zirconium oxide into solid bricks and pillars that shine through the night.
The tourbillon may have roots stretching back to the end of the 18th century, but the Open Gear Tourbillon has everything you should expect from a modern mechanical timepiece. The watch dial is an elaborate 42-part construction on two levels: the bottom level is hand-guilloched, whereas the upper-level features skeletonised train wheel bridges and a funnel-like construction for the hour display. Other design details include all particular signifiers of a Chronoswiss watch: knurled bezel, onion crown and the hornback crocodile strap held in place with the patented Autobloc system. There is also a not-to-be-seen special engraving on the reverse side of the dial – for a unique melding of modern mechanical watchmaking and heritage, since the idea of a secret signature was in vogue around two centuries ago when the tourbillon was invented.
To this day the tourbillon is one of the most advanced feats of horology. To place the whole escapement in a miniature cage that makes a full revolution every 60 seconds counteracts the Herculean force of gravity and its detrimental effect on precision. To construct, assemble and fine-tune a tourbillon is, understandably, extremely time- consuming. “It was twenty years ago – and even more so today, since we now have our own movement and execute the guilloché by hand in our atelier in Lucerne,” said Maik Panziera.
The Chronoswiss Open Gear Tourbillon is limited to 15 pieces.