Sunday, 6 September 2009

Chronoswiss Lunar Chronograph

This is another watch that has really caught my eye on my travels. Firstly, I should write a few words about Chronoswiss themselves, a largely unknown watch company that make some truly stunning timepieces. Founded in 1984 by Gerd-R. Lang, a former TAG master watchmaker, Chronoswiss is based in Germany, and makes timepieces focused on traditional watchmaking techniques, with some very modern technological advances. In the space of 25 years, Chronoswiss has grown to produce around 20000 timepieces per year worldwide, and win several prestigious awards. They have a very distinctive design ethos, with traditional case design, highly decorated movements, crystal display backs and the eponymous turnip-shaped winding crown. The movements themselves are largely heavily modified ETA movements, although recently they launched their own fully in-house movement. Their creative motto "Faszination der Mechanik" (the fascination of mechanics) is one that any true horology enthusiast can appreciate, and I for one love their bold designs, and impeccable attention to detail.

Technical Details

The particular model reviewed is the CH 7523 L bk, on a Louisiana crocodile leather strap.

*Case Diameter: 38mm
*Sapphire crystal both sides, one side Anti-Relective coated
*30m Water Resistance
*Stirling Silver dial

The Movement:

*Cal. c.755 (ETA 7750 base)
*28.8k beats per hour
*46 hour power reserve
*Self winding automatic
*Chronograph function with continuous seconds, minutes, hours and moonphase subdials
*Highly decorated finish

Retail price: £3920

The Aesthetics

The dial is quite a cluttered affair, with four subdials as well as an old-fashioned date display, so to the untrained eye, it can be somewhat daunting. However, this is one watch that can really sum up the "Faszination der Mechanik" mantra: there's always something intricate and intriguing to look at on both sides of the watch. If you'll excuse me for a moment, I'm going to, a la Top Gear, look at it from the perspective of a 10 year old boy. There's a lot happening with this watch, there's a hand to measure just about anything. Having a moonphase on your watch is quite the impressive statement, and the kind of gadget that could appeal to the child in any fully grown man. The chronograph function is just begging to be absent mindedly be fiddled with, the firm click of the top pusher bringing the long seconds hand into it's full sweeping majesty. Turning it over, there's even more to look at, with the crystal case back offering a tantalising glimpse into the innards of the watch. If you move the winding weight just so, you can see the beating heart of the watch in the form of the balance wheel whirring away, the escapement powering the tiny cogs within. This isn't just a watch, it's a piece of art.

The Practicality

Okay, so this watch could potentially be a bit over the top for every day wear, but it certainly is practical. Whilst the moonphase might not be of the utmost importance for the casual wearer, it has clear, if old-fashioned, date on it, and the chronograph function can come in handy in certain situations - a handy cooking tool, for example. The case has a brushed finish and sapphire crystals, and if combined with a leather strap, like the one reviewed, you won't have to worry about the perpetual problem of scratches. Once the leather has been worn in a little, the watch will be as comfortable as any, and Chronoswiss provide a myriad of colours for you to choose from. The one I've been handling had a very attractive blue strap on, which worked brilliantly. The level of water resistance means you don't have to worry about the watch getting wet should you accidentally immerse it, but I wouldn't recommend it for swimming.

Value for Money

At £3920, this is not a cheap watch by any stretch of the imagiation. For that kind of money, you're in Rolex Submariner/Breitling Navitimer/high-end Omega/Cartier territory. However, what Chronoswiss provides is the element of obscurity and exclusivity. With such low production numbers, the only place you're likely to bump into someone else wearing the same watch would be at a Watch Fair like Baselworld, or happen to be in an Authorised Dealer whilst someone else happens to purchase it. In terms of numbers, they have a similar production rate to Patek Philippe: my take on it is that Chronoswiss provides a Patek-like manufacturing ethos, Patek-like excusivity and a wholly unique design philosophy, all for the price of a mass-produced luxury watch brand. I don't know about you, but that makes this Chronoswiss seem like a very tempting proposition.


Chronoswiss also offer this watch with a silver dial as well as a larger size, known as the "Grand Lunar". I strongly urge you to take a look at Chronoswiss' website: it's a great read, and make sure you check out the Lunar Chronograph under zoom and look at the workmanship on the dial. Truly phenomenal.

Thanks for reading

The GMT Master

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