eep inside a steamy jungle you take another cautious step on a carpet of fallen leaves, causing a rustling noise which joins the concerto of insect sounds and calls of distant tropical birds. Just as a salty drop of sweat travels down your forehead, you look up into the green and black-shadowed palm-leaf canopy. It almost forms a solid roof, but you can still spot the distant sky where the blue hour is setting in.
“The wavy, moiré pattern on this timepiece is emotionally inspired by what you would see in that situation, its vivid colours changing seamlessly from racing green to silver blue and shadowy black,” says Chronoswiss owner and director Oliver Ebstein about the Chronoswiss Open Gear ReSec Jungle.
The spiralling pattern designed to resemble palm leaves and executed in a limited edition of 50 timepieces, utilises a technique unique for Chronoswiss: handmade guilloché coated with chemical vapour deposition. This combination establishes the colour-changing effects and emphasises the vivid pattern’s resulting trompe-l’oeil, which makes the engraved waves look much deeper than the twentieth of a millimetre they actually are.
The action-packed, three-dimensional hybrid dial construction is made of 42 parts stacked in several layers. Black galvanised bridges support skeletonised open gear train wheels – revealed principal mechanics that propel the hands in divided hours, minutes and seconds. On the ReSec models the seconds hand is a 30-second retrograde running in a semicircle from 4 to 8 o’clock before jumping back to begin anew. As you may know, retrogrades first appeared in the 17th century, and they have shown up on Chronoswiss creations for decades.
Says Ebstein: “That’s what we do here at Chronoswiss: instantly recognisable contemporary timepieces with details like the onion crown and knurled bezel. While honouring classical horology, we have in recent years radically developed our designs and added exciting innovative materials including the handmade CVD-coated guilloché and cylindrical index pillars made of solid Super-LumiNova mixed with zirconium oxide.”
If you walk past the Chronoswiss atelier in the heart of Lucerne, you might see young Kevin or another team member producing guilloché by hand with the aid of a century-old rose engine turning machine. Designer and master guillocheur Maik leads the guilloché team. “The Jungle was the biggest challenge in a long time,” he says. “With many patterns you can create 4–5 waves by simply changing the diameter with a switch. But with the palm leaf-inspired moiré pattern it’s a different story.”
Here the gears – the brass wheels that guide the movement of the machine – actually must be changed after each wave. Says Kevin: “But it is worth it – in the end you have such a great pattern that you cannot compare with CNC-made products. To produce guilloché by hand really excites me, because it gives every watch an individual soul!”