In the year 2000 Chronoswiss unveiled the world’s first serially produced regulator tourbillon. To celebrate the 20th anniversary of this achievement, Maik Panziera has designed the Open Gear Tourbillon – a modern mechanical timekeeper with a unique regulator set-up, electric blue case and a hypnotising handmade guilloché.
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 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.
Lucerne-based Chronoswiss, founded in 1983, is an independent family-owned company creating modern mechanical watches. It utilises a mix of the newest technologies and classic artisanal handcrafting such as skeletonising, guilloché and enamelling to create timeless, yet distinctively contemporary horology with nonconformist designs.