Based in Lucerne, Switzerland, Chronoswiss has been creating unique timepieces since 1983. With a keen eye for detail, the brand specializes in joining classic watchmaking practices such as guilloché detailing and regulator movements while making them relevant to the modern day. This new-age implementation of old-school techniques grants Chronoswiss the unique position to emphasize either end of the stylistic spectrum. Building on more than two decades of skeletonization experience, Chronoswiss has recently released two brand-new models. The Opus Chronograph, available as both limited and non-limited edition models, draws upon a long-established style, while the entirely new SkelTec line, available in two variations (each limited to 50 pieces), serves as a 21st-century take on skeletonization.
The classic Opus Chronograph remains wonderfully true to the original iteration introduced in 1995. This piece features thermally blued Breguet-styled hands throughout. The four subdials at 3, 6, 9, and 12 o’clock indicate analog date, 12-hour counter, chronograph seconds, and 30-minute counter, respectively. This silver skeletonized dial layer sits atop the Chronoswiss caliber C.741S automatic movement with a power reserve of 48 hours. With a stainless steel 23-piece case measuring 41mm-wide and 14.8mm-thick, the Opus features improved lugs that have been reduced in length to maximize on-wrist comfort. Maintaining classic Chronoswiss components such as the large onion crown and fluted bezel, the distinguishing feature of the Opus is the quality and obvious artistry involved in creating such a complex work of art.
Identical in construction to the classical iteration of the Opus Chronograph, the limited-edition variant features a radically different visual presence. In stark contrast to the original, this version is far more eclectic. Chronoswiss’ alternating use of blue and orange dramatically changes the nature of the piece, making it far more lighthearted and casual than its prim and proper predecessor. This version will be limited to 50 pieces. The outer minute track and the chronograph seconds and analog date indicator are blue with white lettering and orange hands. The 30-minute and 12-hour counters are bright orange with hands painted to match. Expanding upon the unique color palette, the center hour and minute hands are lacquered gray while the seconds hand opts for orange. Each piece is individually numbered just below the 6 o’clock sub-register. In keeping with the theme, this watch comes on a blue hand-sewn alligator strap with contrasting orange stitching. Just like the Opus Chronograph, it’s water-resistant up to 100 meters and features a double-AR-coated sapphire crystal, making it perfectly suited for daily wear.
Where the Opus derives cues from decades of styling, the newly introduced SkelTec appears to have been teleported here from the future. The first option features a brushed stainless steel case comprised of 51 parts, including a DLC-coated onion crown and fluted bezel. Central hour and minute hands are clad in red and contain Super-LumiNova for improved visibility in dim lighting. The matte-black skeletonized dial features red minute markers along the outer track. Measuring 45mm in diameter and approximately 15mm in height, this piece maintains significant wrist presence without proving cumbersome. Powering the SkelTec is the hand-wound manufacture caliber C.304 movement capable of maintaining a 48-hour power reserve. In terms of design, this piece pulls playfully from both organic and mechanical inspiration. The asymmetrical case extends to partially envelop the 3 o’clock crown, while the hollow lugs add dimension to the side profile.
The second version of the SkelTec exchanges the sportiness of red accents for a more luxurious route that King Midas himself would surely appreciate. The entirely DLC-coated case features 18k red gold in the bezel, back ring, crown, and even the strap screws. The hands are gold-plated and minute markers are painted in gold for continuity of the theme. This colorway makes the SkelTec appear more refined, and the contrast between the black and gold makes it a real standout in the group. Aside from the aforementioned divergence, both versions feature water resistance up to 50 meters, double AR-coated sapphire crystals, and a black calfskin and textile strap that perfectly complements the overall tone of the watch.
These two decidedly different models from Chronoswiss employ the brand’s uncanny ability to deconstruct the dial of a watch to its most critical components. The intricate structure of the Opus Chronograph builds and improves upon the original concept while the innovative design and exposed endoskeleton of the SkelTec line represent the brand’s penchant for innovation. While maintaining the heritage and legacy of Chronoswiss in both pieces, the ability to modernize generational skills is what truly sets these watches apart. So, if you are into the aesthetics of skeletonization, in any form, there is almost certainly a model in the Chronoswiss lineup that will strike your fancy. It is, after all, what this brand does best.
Price for the Opus Chronograph model CH-7543.1S-BLOR is $11,800 USD, while model CH-7543.1S-SI is $11,400. The SkelTec model CH-3714-BK (Stainless steel/DLC) runs $17,700, and the CH-3715R-BK (Red gold/stainless steel/DLC) is priced at $18,000. Learn more at the Chronoswiss website.