Chronoswiss offers multiple shades of black on a new model within its Open Gear ReSec regulator collection. The Lucerne-based independent watchmaker combines a range of technical finishing techniques to create interesting optical effects on the dark new Open Gear ReSec Black Ice.
The 44mm watch, with a now familiar multi-layer regulator dial, onion crown and fluted bezel, operates on two levels. On one level is the plate for the bridges, screws and wheels. A second, upper level features screwed-on skeletonized train wheel bridges and a fascinating funnel-shaped hour display.
Named for its premier function (ReSec stands for Retrograde Seconds), the watch’s jumping seconds hand operates in a half-circle, leaping from the thirty seconds position back to start its arc to complete counting each minute. The fan-shaped bridge holding the 30-second retrograde function defines the lower half of the dial.
With its all-black canvas, the Open Gear ReSec Black Ice allows all the luminous hour and minute markers to shine especially clearly. Luminous hands rotate over what appears to be coarse, shiny black sand.
Chronoswiss explains that this eye-catching dial effect requires “heavy metal industrial operations” involving structure-cutting laser beams and a heavy pressure stamping procedure before the solid metal is dunked into a galvanic bath.
“This watch is like fifty shades of black, and the different blacks really contrast each other thanks to the different structures, finishes and coatings,” says Chronoswiss designer Maik Panziera. “Some surfaces are much darker than others; despite the monochrome palette they almost appear like different colors.”
The primary technique Chronoswiss uses here is DLC coating, found on the black matte case and the polished screws securing the bridges. The bridge holding the 30-second retrograde function is sandblasted with a black galvanization. And the subtle contrasts between these two finishes nicely enhance the Black Ice’s multi-level effect.
Chronoswiss also took time to ensure that the back of the watch matched the front. Thus, the rotor of the automatic C.301 movement, visible through the clear caseback, is galvanized black, then skeletonized and finally finished with côtes de Genève.
As a bonus, Chronoswiss offers the new watch attached to a hand-stitched neoprene strap with a leather base. Chronoswiss will make fifty examples of the Open Gear ReSec Black Ice. Price: $10,600.