Outside of watchmaking, one of Switzerland’s best-known cultural exports is of course gourmet chocolate. Swiss chocolatiers are nearly as famous as the great houses of Swiss horology, and, for its latest 2020 novelty, Chronoswiss has aimed to combine these two great national cornerstones into one delicious combination. While mechanically the same as previous brand releases, the new limited edition Chronoswiss Open Gear ReSec Chocolate adds an arresting, casual colorway to one of its core product lines, while also providing buyers with a one-year exclusive chocolate subscription service from famed Lucerne confectioner Max Chocolatier.
The Chronoswiss Open Gear ReSec Chocolate starts off with the brand’s signature 44mm case in stainless steel, with its distinctive ridged case sides, thin downturned lugs, narrow bezel, and oversized onion crown. While the shape may be familiar, the PVD coating immediately sets this one apart with an all-over matte finish in dark cocoa (of course) brown. The chocolate influence on this model is perhaps its most literal here, with a color and texture that would fit in well among an assortment of finely molded candies. It’s an exceedingly unusual look, as well, as even with the explosion of PVD, DLC, and ceramic case designs over the past several years almost no other design has created a case in dark brown. The end result is striking, if more than a little polarizing, and leads to an immediately recognizable design.
The dial of the Chronoswiss Open Gear ReSec Chocolate is no less dramatic but far more classically handsome. The chile-red of the main dial surface (actually forming the mainplate of the movement) is attractive on its own but, combined with a coarse, grainy dial surface, the color becomes an inescapable visual centerpiece. The overall layout follows the trademark Chronoswiss regulator style, with the hefty triangular central minutes hand flanked by an hours subdial at 12 o’clock and a sweeping retrograde seconds complication across the lower half of the dial. The stark black and white color scheme adorning the outer applied minutes track, skeletonized subdials, and exposed gear train deepen the visual contrast with the red of the main dial and the PVD brown case, leading to a truly dynamic overall look. The one major drawback to the Open Gear ReSec Chocolate’s dial, however, has little to do with the limited-edition design itself. The purpose of a regulator dial, initially, was to maximize the legibility of every element at a glance in order to allow watchmakers to set each timepiece to the regulator’s standard. The retrograde seconds display is a visual treat, but its 30-second sweep before resetting makes taking an accurate reading down to the second nearly impossible. That said, it is unlikely that any of these models will be used for the regulator’s original function, and the spectacle the complication brings is its own benefit.
Chronoswiss powers the Open Gear ReSec Chocolate with the in-house C.301 automatic regulator movement. Visible through the sapphire display caseback, the powerplant is partially skeletonized and decorated with a mix of Côtes de Genève and perlage across the movement plates and bridges. Performance figures are solidly impressive, thanks to a three-legged Gluycdur balance and a Nivarox 1 balance spring leading up to a 42-hour power reserve at a 28,800 bph beat rate. The brand pairs the Open Gear ReSec Chocolate with a simple calf leather strap in matching chocolate brown.
While far from the brand’s most innovative recent release, the Chronoswiss Open Gear ReSec Chocolate is an undoubtedly dramatic tribute to two of Switzerland’s most famous industries. Production numbers will be highly limited, with only 50 examples planned. The limited-edition Chronoswiss Open Gear ReSec Chocolate is available now through authorized dealers at an MSRP of $9,900. For more information, please visit the brand’s website.