Chronoswiss presents new SkelTec Azur

Chronoswiss SkelTec Azur
Reading Time: 7 minutes

The Chronoswiss SkelTec collection is celebrated for its extremely reduced, hand-wound movement with an open balance wheel and its organically shaped case with skeletonised lugs. With royal blue colouration added on the new model called SkelTec Azur, the sky is the limit.

You could easily mistake the SkelTec Azur for the crescendo of a horological striptease revealing sensually ticking mechanics. But it is more than just a pleasing package. The 166-part hand-wound C. 304 movement is a modern mechanical marvel with an X-shaped monobloc construction vertically aligning the timekeeping with the open balance wheel while surrounded by contemporary twists on one of the most royal of colours there ever was – that of a sky without clouds. Historically symbolising loyalty, strength, wisdom and trust, this hue is widely associated with one of Picasso’s artistic periods (1901-4) as well as Cleopatra’s eyeshadow. This intense blue was achieved in the past by pulverising the mineral azurite and mixing it with oil to various viscosities. “Here at Chronoswiss we chose to create this ancient hue in a contemporary way by using chemical vapour deposition (CVD)”, says Chronoswiss head of design Maik Panziera.

Chronoswiss SkelTec Azur
Chronoswiss SkelTec Azur

The extremely minimalist dial is held in place by four bridges in the shape of perimeter triangles placed at 11, 1, 5 and 7. The black central X gets its matt finish from a chrome coating – a dramatic backdrop to the white lacquered hour and minute hands filled in with Super-LumiNova providing a discreet green lustre in the night. The star-shaped roof of the mainspring barrel, the moving wheels and pivoting pins are plated with rhodium, the extremely stable and corrosion-resistant noble metal with the atomic number 45. Through the screwed-down case back with a sapphire crystal with double anti-reflection treatment, you will see a more classical approach to decoration. One example: the dexterously stretched out spring doing the horological equivalent of a three-legged split. Equally eye-catching is its satin-brushed finish, with chamfered, polished angles.

Chronoswiss SkelTec Azur
Chronoswiss SkelTec Azur

The design of the SkelTec case features organic free-flowing forms, which reflect the fluidity of time itself. The sculptural curves of the crown guards exemplify this design approach, which crescendos in the sensually hollowed-out lugs. When these revolutionary elements come together, the overall look is delicate, yet bulletproof, while maintaining the iconic Chronoswiss signifiers. “I love the SkelTec case,” says Panziera. “The architecture of it really pushes the limits of what is possible with a five-axis CNC machine, while also celebrating old-school horology. This is the modern mechanical approach.” The strap in calfskin and textile is developed especially for the SkelTec collection, while using Chronoswiss screwed-in lugs with the patented Autobloc system.

Chronoswiss SkelTec Azur
Chronoswiss SkelTec Azur

The chemical, yet playful interpretation of stunningly colourful minerals also has a link back to Panziera’s childhood – back then he was, in his own words, “a nerdy mineral hunter.” “On weekends I always went out with a hammer and chisel, and my cupboard was – to my mother’s horror – full of stones,” he laughs before examining the SkelTec Azur, using the loupe to look closer. “I was always fascinated by Azurit. It is such a spell-binding blue used for the coats of arms of countless royal dynasties. By using modern nano-technology Chronoswiss is now able to create the same kind of intensity in the blue details of SkelTec Azur. This is our way of honouring history in a modern mechanical way.”

Chronoswiss SkelTec Pitch Black
Chronoswiss SkelTec Pitch Black

Chronoswiss SkelTec Pitch Black

Inspired by science fiction, the latest Chronoswiss SkelTec collection is taking its open-worked horology into the dark. Matt black parts make an extremely reduced and see-through timepiece with a hand-wound 166-part movement housed in an organically shaped 51-part case.

Chronoswiss SkelTec Pitch Black
Chronoswiss SkelTec Pitch Black

You are not afraid of the dark, are you?” laughs Chronoswiss designer Maik Panziera. For him the SkelTec collection is a modern mechanical canvas, and for the SkelTec Pitch Black he went deep into space and science fiction for inspiration. “This watch is really on the dark side,” he says of the new SkelTec model presented during Watches and Wonders 2021.

Chronoswiss SkelTec Pitch Black
Chronoswiss SkelTec Pitch Black

Let’s start by looking at some of the dark matter: The knurled bezel and onion crown, typical Chronoswiss design markers, are, as all 51 parts of the case, coated with black, diamond like carbon, DLC for short. “We wanted the case to have seamless organic shapes, like you often see on science fiction vessels. To achieve this was a challenge, because with watches it is not possible at the moment to injection mould stainless steel with haute horlogerie quality. Thus we had to combine different parts made with five-axis CNC machines,” Panziera explains. Alongside the softly curved crown guard, the most eye-catching of the exterior parts are the sensually hollowed lugs. “Obviously the SkelTec is a contemporary interpretation of skeletonising, even though all the excess is taken away already on the drawing table. We wanted to also have this approach on the lugs – and it is a great challenge to design and manufacture these high-tech organic shapes even with the best of machines.”

Chronoswiss SkelTec Pitch Black
Chronoswiss SkelTec Pitch Black

An added value for the lugs is that they use the patented Autobloc system for an extremely secure fixture of the band: a leather-lined textile strap with folding clasp, developed exclusively for the SkelTec collection.

Chronoswiss SkelTec Pitch Black
Chronoswiss SkelTec Pitch Black

Let’s dive deeper into the horology here. The minimalistic hand-wound C.304 movement operating at 28,800 vph was designed in the Lucerne atelier and is exclusively used for the SkelTec collection. The first thing you notice is the open screw balance at 6 o’clock, reminiscent of a black hole – just like no particles can escape from a black hole, your attention simply cannot escape this. “It is a fundamental principle of design. When you remove a lot of surrounding material, whatever remains takes on the leading role,” says Panziera. Just below the balance, and at 11 and 1, you will find the triangular bridges that anchor the fundamental parts of the movement, including the balance, the main spring and the halo-like minute ring with white numerals. The central, soot-black X-shape – achieved with a chrome coating – carries the white-lacquered hands filled in with black Super-LumiNova. The wheels are l covered with a dark grey rhodium coating and a circular grain, whereas other parts are sunray brushed.

At 45 millimetres the SkelTec Pitch Black is a substantial watch. Describes Panziera: “It is not for everyone perhaps, but thanks to its ergonomical fit and understated, dark appearance, it is really a watch that sits great on the wrist of any lover of modern mechanical, contemporary horology.

Chronoswiss SkelTec Azur
Chronoswiss SkelTec Azur

Chronoswiss SkelTec Azur Technical Specifications and Price

Reference CH-3718-BKBLB – Stainless steel with black DLC, and parts with blue CVD coating

Displays

  • Central hour and minutes

Movement

  • Manufacture calibre C.304,
  • hand-wound,
  • skeletonized,
  • 166 components
  • Diameter: Ø 39 mm
  • Height: 7.50 mm
  • Jewels: 21
  • Balance: Screw balance at 6:00
  • Shock protection: Incabloc
  • Frequency: 4 Hz., 28‘800 A/h
  • Power reserve: Approx. 48 hours
  • Special features: Skeletonized manufacture movement, open balance wheel, skeletonized spring barrel

Case

  • Solid 51 parts,
  • middle part DLC-coated stainless steel,
  • sandblasted matt finish;
  • bezel, screws and back ring stainless steel with blue CVD-coating;
  • bezel polished with double anti-reflective sapphire crystal,
  • screw-down case back with satin finish and sapphire crystal;
  • onion crown;
  • water resistance up to 5 bar,
  • screw-in lugs with patented Autobloc system
  • Measurements: Ø 45 mm, height 15.15 mm

Dial

  • Skeletonized,
  • matt blue CVD coating
  • Hands: Skeletonized, lacquered, Super-LumiNova inlays

Strap

  • Calf skin and textile

Price

  • 20’900,00 € / 20’900,00 CHF / 22’400,00 USD / 156’400,00 CNY / 2’480’000,00 JPY

Chronoswiss SkelTec Pitch Black
Chronoswiss SkelTec Pitch Black

Chronoswiss SkelTec Pitch Black Technical Specifications and Price

Reference CH-3715M-BKBK – Stainless steel with black DLC coating / Limited Edition 50 pieces

Displays

  • Central hour and minutes

Movement

  • Manufacture calibre C.304,
  • hand-wound,
  • skeletonized,
  • 166 components
  • Diameter: Ø 39 mm
  • Height: 7.50 mm
  • Jewels: 21
  • Balance: Screw balance at 6:00
  • Shock protection: Incabloc
  • Frequency: 4 Hz., 28‘800 A/h
  • Power reserve: Approx. 48 hours
  • Special features: Skeletonized manufacture movement, open balance wheel, skeletonized spring barrel

Case

  • Solid 51 parts,
  • middle part DLC-coated stainless steel,
  • sand blasted matt finish;
  • bezel, screws and back ring stainless steel with black CVD-coating;
  • bezel polished with double anti-reflective sapphire crystal,
  • screw-down case back with satin finish and sapphire crystal;
  • onion crown;
  • water resistance up to 5 bar,
  • screw-in lugs with patented Autobloc system
  • Measurements: Ø 45 mm, height 15.15 mm

Dial

  • Skeletonized,
  • matt black chrome coating
  • Hands: Skeletonized, lacquered, Super-LumiNova inlays

Strap

  • Calf skin and textile

Price

  • 19’900,00 € / 19’900,00 CHF / 21’300,00 USD / 149’000,00 CNY / 2’960’000,00 JPY

Chronoswiss SkelTec Gallery

About Chronoswiss

The Lucerne-based family company Chronoswiss, founded in 1983, is an independent creator of modern mechanical watches. It utilises a mix of the newest technologies and classic artisanal handcrafting such as handmade guilloché, skeletonising and enamelling to create timeless, yet distinctively contemporary horology with nonconformist designs.

If you would like an interview with CEO Oliver Ebstein or head of design Maik Panziera, please send a request to our manager of marketing and communication at christina.kast@chronoswiss.com.

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