ow could the essence of a classical city like Lucerne be transformed into a modern mechanical timepiece? As a result of this recent challenge, the Chronoswiss atelier, a contemporary think tank of horology where dreams and ideas are sculpted into wrist candy, proudly presents the Flying Regulator Open Gear Lucerne Edition.
The new timepiece takes inspiration from the Lucerne city seal in a design that marries a classical look with a contemporary design. Why Lucerne? This is the brand’s hometown, and the watch atelier at Löwenstrasse is always open for visitors wanting to experience modern mechanical watchmaking ranging from CAD design to handmade guilloché.
“The Chronoswiss atelier is a modern-day think tank for watches and horology – a creative workshop where we transform dreams and ideas into unconventional timepieces,” says Oliver Ebstein, director of the family-owned independent company.
The Lucerne Edition revisits silver and blue – a classical combination in watchmaking. Reminiscent of the white and blue Lucerne city seal and the surrounding Alps, this limited edition of 50 pieces celebrates an insider destination on the Swiss horological pilgrimage – the Chronoswiss watch atelier and boutique.
Its downtown location between the Lion of Lucerne, one of Switzerland’s most visited monuments, and the shimmering lake, gives the atelier a perfect location for a planned visit or a spontaneous drop-in to share and exchange horological ideas and learn more about modern mechanical watchmaking. Housed in an historical 18th century building, the interior has been refurbished into a contemporary space that appeals to horology connoisseurs and design buffs alike.
The space includes spectacular features like one hundred pendant lights descending from a double-height ceiling, and a glazed, circular watchmaker’s workshop where the mechanical magic happens. The CAD department is situated adjacent to the hand-driven century-old rose engine, with which Maik Panziera, Chronoswiss designer and master guillocheur, creates the checkerboard guilloché pattern – high in frequency and short in length – on the blue and silver Open Gear. Previous visitors have praised the unique possibility of seeing the rose engine in operation close up, after sipping excellent coffee from the metallic, dragon-hissing Dalla Corte espresso machine.
The midnight blue funnelled subdials and the minute ring on the Open Gear Lucerne Edition are coated with chemical vapour deposition, and the three-dimensional dial is galvanised with silver. “Theoretically we could work with solid silver, but since our regulator dials are functional parts of the movement, we use brass as a base, as this is a stabler and more exact material,” explains Oliver Ebstein, director of the family-owned independent company.
The elaborate dial construction with skeletonised train wheel bridges and visible screws is galvanised in the same midnight blue hue. The red-tipped minute hand with its generous inlay of Super-LumiNova is of a unique Chronoswiss design called Trigono, created by Panziera back in 2018. “I found most hands so old-fashioned, which is why I just had to design something more present-day,” he says with a laugh.
Through the sapphire crystal case back you will see an automatic movement with stop seconds, decorated with côtes de Genève as well with a colimaçon grain on the outer bridges and plates – and of course a typical skeletonised Chronoswiss rotor, which is also CVD-coated.
The solid 41-millimetre, 16-piece stainless steel case features a mix of satin finishing and mirror polishing, whereas the bezel, adorned with the typical Chronoswiss partial knurling, holds the curved, non-reflecting domed sapphire crystal in place. “The Open Gear Lucerne Edition is a great example of what modern mechanical watchmaking is about: new ideas and unconventional designs combined with classical crafts,“ says Oliver Ebstein.