Gut Reaction Reviews – First Look At The new Chronoswiss Open Gear ReSec Paraiba From Watches & Wonders 2021
Editor’s note: Like you, we are also excited for the releases from the Watches & Wonders 2021. Before we get to dive deep into the releases and go hands-on with as many of these as the two of us here can, here’s our preview and the Gut Reaction Review (Grr…) of the new Chronoswiss Open Gear ReSec Paraiba. For our other detailed hands-on reviews, please head to our dedicated reviews section here.
It’s like putting nature on your wrist. Honestly, this is one of those releases that I hope to see in person and conduct a hands-on review of, because quite frankly, I cannot fathom a better-looking dial from the recent past. Up until now, I was in awe of Grand Seiko and their nature-inspired dials. Joining them, and once I get to see this in person maybe even surpassing their beauty, are the ‘Paraiba’ inspired dials of the Open Gear ReSec Paraiba.
Hand guilloché along with big dates make up for my two personal watch dial design weaknesses, and here not only does Chronoswiss presents us with a beautiful short-wave hand guilloché dial, but one that also changes colour.
That mesmerising chameleon of a dial is the star of the show, showcasing the colour transformation that ranges from soft turquoise and petrol blue to jungle green and deep purple.
This incredible and praiseworthy transformation has been achieved by laborious R&D by the brand; they tested a number of dial treatments, colouring agents, lacquers, finishes, patterns and materials, and this effect has come from a ‘secret’ nano-decorative chemical vapour deposition.
Beyond the dial, my second reaction is marvelling at the typically knurled bezel present in Chronoswiss watches. In the case of the new Chronoswiss Open Gear ReSec Paraiba, we are further serenaded by an abundance of fine finishes and grains, including a circular satin finish on the funnelled hour ring and a horizontally sanded plate revealing the number of the limited edition of 50 timepieces.
This timepiece is best suited for those who love the idea of ogling at a watch dial for hours; I know I do. Chronoswiss pieces have always been on my radar, but a dial that changes colour is so hard to resist. Believe me, if I had the funds, I would have loved to buy this in an instant. There is just something so ‘interactive’ about dials that change attributes; and in the case of the new Chronoswiss Open Gear ReSec Paraiba, one gets the myriad hues of nature changing to the rhythm of light caressing it at different angles.
Anyone on the brink of undecidedness, let me put it simply for you: a mesmerising dial, changing colours, hand guilloché — we all know how much of a premium that can command from veteran Swiss brands — a rather rare set-up of regulator style display, and somewhat naked mechanics: For under 10K USD, it rarely gets sexier than this.
The new Chronoswiss Open Gear ReSec Paraiba LE ref. CH-6923-TUBK is presented in a solid 17-piece stainless steel case with satin-finished and a polished bezel with partial knurling. The case is topped by a curved and double-coated anti-reflective sapphire crystal. The timepiece has a decent water-resistance of 100m (10 ATM) that is guaranteed by a display screw-down case back.
I particularly like how the oscillating wheel colour has been matched to that of the dial.
Retailing for $9’700 USD, this limited edition of 50-pieces features the calibre C. 301 with stop seconds that comprises of 33 jewels, beats at the frequency of 4Hz, and offers a 42-hour power reserve. The 36.5mm diameter movement features a three-legged Glucydur balance, Incabloc shock absorbers, and while the base may be ETA 2895, it is worthwhile to note that the regulator and retrograde seconds mechanism have been fully developed in-house. The calibre is encased inside a 44mm diameter and 13.35mm thick case.
ReSec stands for retrograde seconds. The dial layout with separated hours, minutes and 120-degree retrograde seconds is typically Chronoswiss.
Last year the brand gave us a ‘true blue’ Open Gear ReSec LE in Blue and Gold. Following up on that is this 50-pieces limited edition release that is most strikingly marked by its stunning ‘Paraiba Tourmaline’ inspired dial.
Paraiba Tourmaline, native to Brazil, is a very rare variety of Tourmaline known for its neon blue and green colours.
Chronoswiss, a Lucerne-based family company, is a relatively new brand, having come to life only in 1983. But don’t let it short stint fool you; its retrograde style dials are the stuff of horological excellence.
In regards to the movement it is using, it is based on the ETA 2895-2 with a regulator and retrograde seconds mechanism fully developed in-house. The ETA 2895-2 is 25.6mm in diameter and 4.35mm thicker and features hacking seconds and quick date correction. Usually, ETA 2895-2 has 27 jewels, but Chronoswiss has marginally increased the number here to 28.
Derived from ETA2892-A2, ETA 2895-2 is the original version of Sellita’s SW360-1 and is used in other brands under the guise of Ball calibre RR103 and TAG Heuer Calibre 6. So rest assured, the base calibre is a trustworthy engine.
“Chronoswiss is the only brand with colour-shifting, handmade guilloché. And you cannot simulate this effect in any way – you simply have to experiment,”says Chronoswiss head of design Maik Panziera.
“When the prototype finally came back from the lab, I instantly thought of the Paraiba tourmaline, one of the world’s rarest gemstones unique to the north-eastern Brazilian state,”expands Panziera.
None that I can think of.
Usually, I like to compare watches to put them into perspective. But here, for under 10K USD, I can’t think of any that compete with the new Chronoswiss Open Gear ReSec Paraiba directly.
Even though not that commonly produced, there are still a number of collections that feature the retrograde style dial, from the Baume & Mercier Clifton to the Breguet Classique watches. Maurice Lacroix also upgraded it’s signature retrograde style watches recently in January this year. And when it comes to this quirky style of beautifully made retrograde style watches, I can also think of Alexander Shorokhoff offering some excellent options.
But add to the mix hand guilloche and a colour-changing dial, and the Chronoswiss offering swims unchallenged.
I would be curious to see a smaller version of this timepiece. 44mm is pretty big for someone with slimmer (under 16cm) wrists like myself and given I don’t have the lug-to-lug dimension, I can’t really say how it will fit. Also, a slightly higher than 42-hour power reserve would be appreciated.
And while we are wishing for things, I wonder if Chronoswiss will ever release a non-limited version of this; as I said earlier, I really like it but given I can’t buy it right now, would love to know that I can pick it up at some point on the future.
That’s All Folks!
So there you have it: for under 10K USD, you get a stunning timepiece that is marked by the changing colour of the dial. True, it’s based on an outsourced movement, but the brand has done enough mods on it for snobs to not frown on its use. The movement incorporates a skeletonized rotor with turquoise CVD coating, Côtes de Genève and bridges and plates with perlage.
The elaborate 42-part dial like we said is what makes this release special. On closer inspection, it reveals the two levels of construction, with the bottom level hand-guillochéd with turquoise CVD coating found lying underneath the upper black galvanic level. This top layer features screwed-on skeletonized train wheel bridges and funnel-like construction for hour display, as well as a retrograde seconds display.
The dial beside the chameleon effect is marked by a decent amount of legibility, thanks to the cylinder and block-shaped Super-LumiNova indexes and the “Trigono” shape, lacquered and polished hands with Super-LumiNova inlay and tips.
In regards to the looks, besides the dial, I also like the use of an onion crown; it’s eclectic and different. Overall, the new Chronoswiss Open Gear ReSec Paraiba for Watches & Wonders 2021 sets the bar high for this year.
To find out more about the new Chronoswiss Open Gear ReSec Paraiba and other Chronoswiss watches, please head to their website here. All images unless otherwise specified are © 2021 Chronoswiss AG. Make sure to check out our reviews of other Watches & Wonders 2021 releases here.