Introducing: The Chronoswiss SkelTec and Opus Chronographs

Introducing: The Chronoswiss SkelTec and Opus Chronographs

Quick Take

For 2020, Chronoswiss is introducing a brand new watch with a sharp focus on skeletonizing, aptly named the SkelTec, as well as updating a pre-existing line, the Opus Chronograph. The SkelTec features a proprietary movement, the brand new caliber C.304, that puts Chronoswiss’ mastery of the skeletonizing process on full display. It’s modern and tech-forward while the updated Opus Chronograph, originally introduced in 1995, represents a traditional take on skeletonizing. 

In a press release, Maik Panziera, head of design at Chronoswiss, sums up the ethos of the SkelTec by pointing out the technical advancements of the new caliber, “I would say that the name SkelTec is kind of self-explanatory. Its 166-part movement with a power reserve of 48 hours, manufactured exclusively for our brand, combines Opus’ mechanical spirit with space-age technologies. SkelTec takes artisanal, traditional skeletonising to warp speed.”

Chronoswiss has featured skeletonization as part of its core design competencies since the ’80s. The SkelTec represents many decades of research and development in this specific style. And the removal of superfluous material doesn’t stop at the movement and dial – even the lugs on the SkelTec are hollowed out. The case isn’t fashioned in a traditional process, either. “Since you cannot do injection moulding with stainless steel to our quality standards, we adapted the conceptual single-part design into a five-part case pushing the limits for what is physically possible for a five-axis CNC machine,” said Panziera.

Chronoswiss is introducing four models in total, and only 50 examples of each will be made. In the SkelTec line, there are two examples that each offer a distinctive visual take on the ultra-modern skeleton aesthetic. The case is made from five pieces, and that’s allowed Chronoswiss to play with materials. One model uses DLC-coated (Diamond-like Carbon) stainless steel for the majority of the case, and it’s accented with 18k red gold. The other model is fully fashioned from stainless steel, but some parts are coated with DLC to create a futuristic effect. 

But the SkelTec still retains the design elements consistent among all Chronoswiss models that create a fascinating tension between the horological future and the distant past. The onion crown is still present, along with the signature Chronoswiss case shape and coin-edge bezel.  

The elements of the movement are situated to create visual interest, with the mainspring at 12 o’clock and the escapement placed at six o’clock, creating a balanced aesthetic that invites the eye to hunt around and absorb not only the details that stick out, but also the impressive amount of negative space. Any superfluous material has been removed, leaving a movement that’s beautifully exposed. 

Initial Thoughts

The Chronoswiss of today quietly continues to iterate on the areas of watchmaking that they have been focusing on since the inception of the brand in 1983. It’s important to remember the impact that Chronoswiss has had on the industry; in the early days of the “modern” era of watch enthusiasm, Chronoswiss was a giant in the industry. Gerd-Rüdiger Lang displayed an unwavering commitment to mechanical watchmaking, even when many other players were heavily investing in quartz technology. 

The SkelTec, and its wild skeletonized aesthetic, demonstrates that the brand is just as steadfast in its commitment to pushing the boundaries of movement manufacturing and innovation as it was in the early days.

The Basics

Brand: Chronoswiss
Model: SkelTec, Opus Chronograph
Reference Number: SkelTec: CH-3714-BK (Stainless steel, partly DLC coated) CH-3715R-BK (Stainless steel, DLC coated, parts in 18 kt. red gold) Opus Chronograph: CH-7543.1S-BLOR (Stainless steel, blue and orange dial, skeletonized) CH-7543.1S-SI (Stainless steel, silver dial, skeletonized)

Diameter: SkelTec models are 45mm, Opus Chronograph models are 41mm
Thickness: SkelTec models are 15mm thick, Opus Chronograph models are 14.80mm thick
Case Material: SkelTec: Stainless steel, 18 kt. red gold, Opus Chronograph: Stainless steel
Dial Color: SkelTec models feature a black skeletonized dial, Opus Chronograph models feature a silver dial and then another in blue and orange.
Indexes: Absent
Lume: None
Water Resistance: SkelTec models are water resistant to 50m. Opus Chronograph models are water resistant to 100m.
Strap/Bracelet: SkelTec models feature a calfskin and textile strap, Opus Chronograph models feature a Louisiana alligator leather strap.

The Movement

Caliber: SkelTec: Chronoswiss caliber C.304, Opus Chronograph: Chronoswiss Caliber C.741S
Functions: Skeltec: Hours and minutes, seconds, analog date, sweep chronograph seconds, 30-minute counter, 12-hour counter  Opus Chronograph: Hours and minutes, seconds, analog date, sweep chronograph seconds, 30-minute counter, 12-hour counter
Diameter: SkelTec: 39mm, Opus Chronograph: 30mm
Power Reserve: SkelTec: 48 hours, Opus Chronograph: 46 hours.
Winding: SkelTec: Hand-wound, Opus Chronograph: Automatic.
Frequency: Both movements: 28,800 vph
Jewels: SkelTec: 21 jewels, Opus Chronograph: 25 jewels
 

Pricing & Availability

Price:  CH-3714-BK (Stainless steel/DLC) $ 17,700, CH-3715R-BK (Red gold/stainless steel/DLC) $ 20,900, CH-7543.1S-BLOR (Stainless steel, blue and orange dial, skeletonized) $ 11,800, CH-7543.1S-SiSI (Stainless steel, silver dial, skeletonized) $ 11,400.
Availability: Authorized dealers
Limited Edition: Yes, 50 examples of each watch 

For more, click here.

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