While in Geneva this year for Watches & Wonders, I had the opportunity to visit the newly renovated CVSTOS headquarters, where I saw many of the brand’s latest releases for 2024. Among this year’s novelties are two new versions of the Metropolitan Chrono Skeleton Sapphire, which first debuted last year as one of the more striking releases from the independent Swiss brand in 2023. While the inaugural launch consisted of a single model, the new pair of CVSTOS Metropolitan Chrono Skeleton Sapphire watches expands upon the original concept to create a bold series of timepieces with full-sapphire cases.

The original CVSTOS Metropolitan Chrono Skeleton Sapphire watch from 2023 (ref. F00112.4285001) pairs 5N rose gold components with its full-sapphire case, although the new versions feature their winding crowns and chronograph pushers in grade 5 titanium. Similarly, while the inaugural model is fitted with a semi-transparent rubber strap and features a rose gold finish on its mainplate and rotor, the new ref. F00112.4283001 (not pictured) has a blue-finished mainplate complemented by a blue alligator leather strap. Meanwhile, the ref. F00112.4286001, which is also one of the new releases joining the catalog for 2024, features rhodium-plated movement components paired with the same semi-transparent rubber strap from the original model to create an entirely monochromatic expression of the Metropolitan Chrono Skeleton Sapphire.

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While all CVSTOS watches are characterized by tonneau-shaped profiles and a distinctly modern appearance, the Metropolitan collection is arguably the brand’s most dressy lineup of models that features a more refined case design and integrated straps or bracelets. Rather than having sweeping lines and exposed screws on their bezels, the CVSTOS Metropolitan models have more traditional tonneau-shaped cases, and unless they are set with gemstones, the bezels fitted to the Metropolitan series feature smooth surfaces to create a more refined rendition of the brand’s aesthetic. That said, the CVSTOS Metropolitan lineup is home to a diverse assortment of models, and while some are elegant expressions of the classic integrated bracelet watch, others like the Metropolitan Chrono Skeleton Sapphire remain definitively sporty in their overall appearance.

Regardless of their differences, all three of the CVSTOS Metropolitan Chrono Skeleton Sapphire watches feature the same case, which is constructed entirely from transparent sapphire and measures 42mm in diameter by 15.2mm thick, with an overall lug-to-lug profile of 51mm. Given that the case is made from clear sapphire, you also get a sapphire crystal protecting the dial (with anti-reflective treatment), along with a sapphire display caseback that is attached by four small screws and offers an unobstructed view of the internal movement. On the right-hand side of the case resides a crown flanked by a set of oblong chronograph pushers that are crafted from either grade 5 titanium or 5N rose gold, and the winding crown screws down to the middle case to help guarantee the 50 meters of water resistance that is offered by the Metropolitan Chrono Skeleton Sapphire collection.

Just as you would expect from watches with transparent sapphire cases, the trio of CVSTOS Metropolitan Chrono Skeleton Sapphire models feature open-worked displays that consist of skeletonized mainplates that are shaped in such a manner to create a visual representation of the hour markers. Surrounding the periphery of the dial is a sapphire flange that contains the minute track, while a pair of clear sapphire discs are mounted directly onto the mainplate structure and serve as the chronograph registers. Although the mainplate itself has a shape with segments that serve as hour markers, polished indexes are applied to its surface to increase legibility and promote a further sense of refinement. Additionally, all of the hands and hour markers receive Super-LumiNova inlays to increase their low-light visibility, and while the Metropolitan Chrono Skeleton Sapphire models don’t exactly offer at-a-glance access to the time, the overall appearance of their open-worked displays is quite cohesive and well balanced.

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Powering the CVSTOS Metropolitan Chrono Skeleton Sapphire watches is the brand’s Caliber CVS758 automatic chronograph movement, which is fully visible through the transparent sapphire case components. While the fundamental architecture of the Cal. CVS758 is derived from a Valjoux-based design and therefore offers the familiar specs of an operating frequency of 28,800vph (4 Hz) with a power reserve of approximately 42 hours, even a passing glance will confirm that the Metropolitan Chrono Skeleton Sapphire models aren’t exactly using off-the-shelf movements. CVSTOS manufactures all of the plates and bridges for the Cal. CVS758, which is what enables the brand to create the movement’s highly open-worked appearance and give it a tonneau-shaped profile to correspond with the shape of the Metropolitan’s case. Additionally, the skeletonized rotor is finished with an individual QR code that can be scanned to verify the authenticity and ownership status of each watch.

Fitted to the integrated lugs of the CVSTOS Metropolitan Chrono Skeleton Sapphire watches are two-piece straps that are crafted from either alligator leather or semi-transparent rubber. The straps attach to the case with a set of screws that pass through sections on either side of the watch, and while a 42mm tonneau-shaped case is destined to be a sizable presence on the wrist, the downward angle of the strap connection points helps to mitigate what is objectively a rather large lug-to-lug profile. The straps secure on the bottom of the wrist with chunky CVSTOS-signed pin buckles, and while the included buckles are perfectly fine and serviceable, they are also rather inauspicious relative to the watches themselves. In all honesty, the buckles were such standard-fare offerings that I entirely forgot to photograph them, and while I’m typically a fan of tang-style buckles, some watches simply call for the added refinement of a deployant clasp, and I personally feel that anything with a full-sapphire case certainly falls into this category.

I distinctly remember being in college when the Richard Mille RM056 first appeared with a full-sapphire case, and while I loved the concept of having a watch crafted entirely from the same ultra-hard transparent glass that was used for crystals, the million-dollar price tag was borderline comical for a college student that had to check his bank account before picking up groceries or a case of beer. Even now, I would consider many watches to be aspirational purchases, but once you start talking about seven-figure prices, the conversation enters an entirely different realm of fantasy. With that in mind, advancements in manufacturing technologies have enabled an increasing number of luxury brands to start producing watches with full-sapphire cases, and the entry price for timepieces with this fully transparent aesthetic has dramatically dropped over the last decade.

Although watches with sapphire cases are still significantly more expensive than those made from traditional alloys or even ceramic, they no longer solely exist purely within the aspirational realm, and you can now get a timepiece with a full-sapphire case for less than what some people have recently paid for a stainless steel Rolex on the secondary market. The two CVSTOS Metropolitan Chrono Skeleton Sapphire watches with titanium crowns and pushers (ref. F00112.4283001 and ref. F00112.4286001) have an official retail price of $45,500 USD, while the version with rose gold components is slightly more expensive at $46,800 USD. Although these models are hardly the least expensive watches with full-sapphire cases, they are also significantly more affordable than many of the other options currently available, and I personally find these bold and chunky transparent CVSTOS chronographs to be an immense amount of fun to have on the wrist. For more information on the CVSTOS Metropolitan Chrono Skeleton Sapphire, please visit the brand’s website.

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