Chronoswiss Opus Chronograph Limited Edition Review

by Chamath Gamage
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Chronoswiss is a Lucern based Swiss watchmaking company that was founded in 1983. Created during a time where quartz timepieces were the popular choice for wristwear, Gerd-Rüdiger Lang founded Chronoswiss, as he believed in the timeless fascination of mechanical timepieces. 

Chronoswiss was a brand made for visionaries, pioneers, and nonconformists. They were the first brand to miniaturize the regulator into a wristwatch, and then build a whole collection of watches around this design. Chronoswiss is also a specialist when it comes to skeletonised watches. They have been practicing this craft in watchmaking for more than 30 years, while also giving the skeletonised timepieces a modern twist. For Chronoswiss, the process of skeletonising a watch isn’t just simply removing pieces of the dial to see the movement underneath. For this Swiss brand, skeletonisation of a watch is to “highlight the key points such as open-gear trains to cutting away as much as possible to create extremely see-through timepieces”. 

The Opus Chronograph is a watch born from Chronoswiss’s expertise in creating aesthetic skeleton timepieces. Introduced in 1995, the Opus Chronograph advanced the skeletonising chapter at Chronoswiss. 

The latest 2020 version of the Opus Chronograph has been thoroughly updated. This exceptionally complex 300-part masterpiece has been modernised with new geometric features that fit better on the wrist while also making it more comfortable for everyday wear. The model we have on our hands for review today is the Opus Chronograph limited edition (Ref CH-7543.1S-BLOR). 

Case:

Chronoswiss has given this latest iteration of the Opus Chronograph a 41mm stainless steel case made up of 23 solid pieces. The case comes with satin and polished finishing to give an immaculate shine that complements this colourful timepiece well. What it also does is give a luxury and classy appearance to what is otherwise a very complex looking watch. 

The bezel on the Opus Chronograph limited edition utilises Chronoswiss’s signature feature of having partial knurling and curved finish. The stainless steel curved bezel certainly adds to the luxury look of this watch. The other standout feature of the case is the onion-shaped crown. Large enough to be easily operable, the crown is beautifully carved to show the detail. Chronoswiss has given a modern update to the water-resistance of the Opus Chronograph by increasing the resistance to a depth of 10 Bar (100m).

Design:

The dial of the Chronoswiss Opus Chronograph limited edition really is something else. The choice of colours along with their use on the different parts of the dial really makes this timepiece aesthetically pleasing to look at. The watch is fully skeletonised with the main plate done in black so it differentiates the colourful dial from the movement underneath. 

Starting with the outer part of the dial, the minute track is done in a beautiful galvanic blue with the inscriptions in white for a strong contrasting effect. Attached to this minute track “plate” if you want to call it that, is the brand’s name at the 12 o’clock position and the “Limited Edition No. XX/50” at the 6 o’clock. 

Chronoswiss has used Breguet Losange shape hands for the hour and minute with galvanic orange for the chronograph seconds hand. The use of silver for the hour and the minute hand is a great choice from Chronoswiss as it breaks up the use of colour. Another advantage to this is that the hands stand out quite clearly as they pass over the counters, making the readability of the time quite easy. On a full skeletonised watch, the readability of the dial/time is one of the biggest issues that watchmakers face. 

To enhance the readability further, Chronoswiss has nicely colour co-ordinated the four different sub-counters shown on the dial. The sub-counters themselves have been skeletonised, showing only the outer ring of the counters. Firstly, the 3 o’clock date counter and 9 o’clock constant second counter have been done in blue. The 6 o’clock 12-hour and 12 o’clock 30-minute counter has been done in orange. The hands of each counter are also done in orange, which contrasts particularly well against the blue sub-counters. Having the 6 and 12 o’clock sub-counters in orange is really what makes this piece stand out, especially from a distance. With the rest of the watch being dominated by blue and silver/grey finishes of the movement, the orange does indeed stick out. 

With all the aesthetic details of the dial aside, Chronoswiss has done well to showcase as much of the movement as possible on the dial. The gears on the date counter at 3 o’clock is especially prominent. Another awesome feature is the subtle colour differentiation on the movement. On the right side, we have the silver finish, while on the left it’s dominated by gold. All these little details work well with the dial to make this timepiece as aesthetically pleasing as possible. 

Movement:

The movement used in the Chronoswiss Opus Chronograph limited edition is the Chronoswiss Caliber C.741S. The Caliber C.741S is a rhodium-plated automatic movement producing a frequency of 4Hz (28, 800 VpH). This caliber gives out a power output of approximately 46 hours. With the open case back, we can see the beauty of the movement which has been enhanced thanks to the skeletonised and rhodium-plated rotor. To make the rotor stand out, it has been given a blue colour with the Côtes de Genève finish. 

How does it wear:

With a thickness of just over 12mm and lug to lug of just 50m, the Opus Chronograph sits comfortably on a 6.5inch wrist. Chronoswiss has used their classic arcing lugs on the Opus Chronograph which is a design that makes this watch look bigger than 41mm (depending on the angle you look at!). The timepiece is comfortable to wear for long periods of time without feeling too heavy on the wrist. I feel as though if you have a wrist size of 6.5inch or bigger you will have no problems wearing this piece. For smaller wrists, it can look big.

As mentioned earlier, time is easier to read thanks to the white hour and minutes ’Breguet losange’ shape of hands that pop against the blue and orange background colours. Speaking of colours, skeleton dial with blue and orange colour throughout is refreshing to look at and orange sub-dials at 6 and 12 o’clock instantly does grab your attention. If these colours are not to your liking, however, but you still like the watch. Opus Chronograph also comes with a non-colourful version for 650 dollars less, Ref: CH-7543.1S-SI.

Overall I enjoyed my time with the Opus Chronograph. The only issue I had with this was the night time readability. Since all the hour markers and hands are lacquered, I would have liked to see watch lighting away at night. Not a deal-breaker, otherwise beautifully crafted timepiece. If you are in the market for a skeleton watch with a chronograph and date functions with the great build quality, it’s hard to look past the Opus Chronograph. A timepiece you definitely need to see in person.

The 2020 Opus Chronograph brings colour and modern geometry to the originally launched model in 1995 and in doing so continues their ideology of creating complex skeleton timepieces.

Chronoswiss Opus Chronograph Specification:

Model Reference: CH-7543.1S-BLOR
Case Diameter: 41mm
Dial: Skeleton dial
Case: Stainless Steel
Functions:  Hours, Minutes, Seconds and Chronograph
Movement: Chronoswiss Caliber C.741S 
Power Reserve: 46 hours
Water Resistance: 100 meters

Australian Retail Pricing: $19,400.00

Availability: Available now, Limited Edition of 50

Local Authorised Dealers :

Brisbane – Hardy Brothers

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