One of my favorite non-sport watches from Chronoswiss for 2011 was this Balance Chronograph - I like to just call it the Balance. The source of the name? I think it stems from the fact that the dial is very symmetrical (and thus balanced). A quality that I highly value. Even though I can appreciate the occasional asymmetric design, my heart is most primarily focused on good symmetry. If symmetry is what we look for when determining whether a human face is beautiful then I think we probably do the same when looking at a watch face.
The Balance Chronograph uses a brand new movement which is the La Joux-Perret caliber 8310. This new automatic chronograph movement makes its debut in this Chronoswiss piece. The movement has a 12 hour chronograph, the time, and the date. The seconds counter for the time as well as the date dial use retrograde hands. Due to the large size of the retrograde date display it is actually legible. The retrograde seconds hand moves quickly across the dial as it measures only 30 seconds at a time. It moves up the dial to the top and then returns instantly to the 0 second position. It does this twice each minute. If you want to measure a full 60 seconds then you can use the chronograph.
As a classical timepiece this isn't a boring one. Chronoswiss made sure that modern and decorative elements mix well together with the traditional theme behind the watch. This traditionalism shows through most in the case design, blued steel hands, and machine engraved guilloche dial. Chronoswiss, of course, is well-known as a brand that offers cool looking yet classically inspired timepieces. Success in this design isn't an accident. By the way, this piece is a pre-production model. That means that the retail versions will have some better detailing and polish.
The case is 43mm wide and available in steel or 18k rose gold. The case features a polished bezel while the side of the case features two strips of coined edging. The lugs are hardy and feature protruding side screws like most Chronoswiss' Timemaster pieces. The watch showcases a sapphire display back as well as an AR coated sapphire crystal over the dial. Overall, I think the case design is highly successful and provides visual interest along with traditional design.
Chronoswiss seems to suggest that the layout of the dial on the movement is meant to evoke an image of a butterfly. I guess that is the case but I don't believe that the butterfly analogy is necessary to justify its looks - it is quite nice enough on its own. The watch dial is solid silver which has been richly engraved with a number of textures and patterns. The look is not overdone at all and the dial is still very legible. You know what else I like? That Chronoswiss made sure to include both the name of the brand and the model on the dial. How many watches can you think of that even have the name of the model included on it anywhere?
The use of blued-steel hands is a proper to match the theme of the watch. The hour and minute hands are "pomme" style and two other types of hands are used for the retrograde and subdials. Again, more kudos to Chronoswiss for a good-looking dial design with all the right elements being taken into consideration. Legibility and beauty are taken into consideration with the only compromise being the lack of lume.
One of the things that I continue to appreciate about Chronoswiss (a German brand) is that they maintain a strong focus on pleasing the Western market. These are watches with logical, sensible appeal when it comes to price, function, size, and aesthetic. Most of the Chronoswiss watches are retro-inspired and suitable for daily wear - not something I can say about many other brands. I am not sure of the price for the Chronoswiss Balance Chronograph but, if I recall correctly, it isn't outrageous and in the $10,000 range. I will update the price when I can confirm it with the brand. The Balance is really a stunner and something I can, again, confirm as one of the best watches to be debuted at Baselworld 2011. Price is $11,500 in stainless steel (Ref. CH 7543 B) and $21,900 in 18kt rose gold (Ref. CH 7541 BR).
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