In late 2010 Chronoswiss announced a new collection of watches called the Pacific. The family stylistically was a very different animal for the brand, and was seen as a unique attempt to capture the vintage watch loving market, from a brand already known for their vintage style watches. The result was a sort of futuristic 1960s mod design that felt both retro and contemporary at the same time. I was fascinated by the multi-level dial, and the bright areas of color.

I was finally able to get some hands-on time with a few of the Chronoswiss Pacific watches – that come in both three-hand and chronograph styles. The cases are polished and in steel. Size is 43mm wide and the lugs are long and typical of the brand. I don’t think we see enough polished watches these days. There seems to be a preference among many people for brushed or satinized case finishes, but don’t underestimate the power of a nice polished case. Breitling knows what I am talking about.

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Speaking of Breitling, the three-hand Pacific reminds me just a bit of Breitling’s new Transocean Automatic. Probably because they are thematically similar pieces (and have the same case size and movement). Though I think that most people will groove best with the chronograph. The various colors and hands, and all the design makes these the most distinctive of the collection. For both the three-hand and chronograph models, Chronoswiss will offer the dials in both a black and silver tone (though I believe the actual dial itself is made out of sterling silver.

As you can see while the case is relatively simple, other elements of the watch have a more complex look. This includes the chronograph pushers as well as the dial. The best watches often choose either a complex case or complex dial – both can leave a watch looking too boring or alternatively too busy and cluttered. Though there are of course plenty of exceptions.

Here Chronoswiss was wise to use prominent applied hour markers and (close to) properly sized hands. These are nice watches first and foremost because they are legible. The chronograph model uses a unique style that I think is simple enough to appeal to a lot of people. Props on the legible hour and minute counters mixed with the minimalist subsidiary seconds dial for the time. I like how the minute track for the main time reminds me a bit of blank sheet music (because they were thinking of the musical “Pacific” I bet).

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Inside the Chronoswiss Pacific watches are ETA 2892 automatics for the three-hand models and ETA Valjoux 7750 automatics for the chronographs. The watches come in slick looking black straps with fun contrast stitching or metal bracelets (which are… interesting to say the least). Prices start at about $3,800.

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