The vintage-styled Chronoswiss Balance automatic chronograph watch features a double retrograde display that resembles wings of a butterfly. Powered by the new La Joux-Perret Caliber 8310 self-winding movement (actually, Chronoswiss has become the first watchmaker to implement the caliber in an actual watch,) the new timepiece features a perfectly balanced combination of a chronograph with a pair of retrograde indicators.
As you can see on the photo below, the vintage-styled mechanism that reminds me of those late 19th-century beasts that powered expensive pocket watches is very nicely decorated. The bridges feature very neat Geneva stripes patterns and are attached to the main plate with polished screws. Some may find the open-worked rose gold oscillating weight a bit too simple, but, to my taste, it complements the whole layout of the movement in the best way possible.
Frankly, I would be even more satisfied if the balance cock featured some hand engraved decor similar to those we always see on mechanisms manufactured by A. Lange & Sohne (when it comes to a luxury timekeeper that is sold at about $22,000, give or take, it possibly would affect the manufacturer’s profit in a big way), but, well, maybe in a next model.
The symmetric dial sports a pair of chronograph indicators (30-minute totalizer at 12 o’clock and a 12-hour counter at 6 o’clock) as well as a pair of retrograde sub-dials: a retrograde seconds display at 9 o’clock and a retrograde date indicator at 3.
While the way the date display operates doesn’t look especially spectacular (it just back to position one just once a month), the retrograde seconds hand actually moves in quite a mesmerizing way. You can actually spend minutes watching the way it ticks upwards and then instantly jumps back to zero every thirty seconds.
While a monopusher device would probably look more organic here, the traditional pair of chronograph push-pieces, too, looks good. Even the deliberately oversized setting/winding crown doesn’t look too massive here. In fact, it feels just right.
The whole composition is displayed on a heavily guilloched solid Sterling silver dial that features a number of different motives. To keep the watch in style, it is also equipped with Breguet-style blued steel hands.
Its 43 mm round case is available both in 18-carat rose gold (ref. CH-7541BR, pictured) or stainless steel (ref. CH-7543B.) While the first version looks more expensive and, well, luxurious, the one in steel seems to be more balanced and somehow more appealing.
Although at 43 millimeters in diameter the case of this beautiful Chronoswiss Balance Double Retrograde Chronograph may sound like compact enough (at least, on paper) in reality, the watch takes a lot of space on a normal wrist.
The culprits here are the lugs. They look great and classy, alright, however, together with the oversized body, the horns increase the total length of the timekeeper (something that is usually called “lug-to-lug” width by about a 1/4 to almost 54 millimeters). Even for my relatively large wrist this is a bit too much and on a normal wrist it may be a real disaster.
Build Quality: 5/5
Overall Legibility: 3.5/5
Nighttime Legibility: 1/5
Value for Money: 4/5
Overall Rating: 4.5/5
See also: Chronoswiss Pacific Collection
Chronoswiss Balance double retrograde automatic chronograph watch specification
Price: $11,000 (MSRP, stainless steel, ref. CH-7543B) / $22,000 (MSRP, 18-carat rose gold, ref. CH-7541BR)
Movement: Automatic, Caliber La Joux-Perret 8310, Swiss Made
Movement decoration: Geneva stripes, open-worked oscillating weight in rose gold, polished screws
Functions: Hours, minutes, retrograde seconds, chronograph, retrograde date
Power reserve: 46 hours
Frequency: 28,800 vph
Case material: Rose gold / Stainless steel
Bezel material: Rose gold / Stainless steel
Case shape: Round
Bezel shape: Round
Case size: 43.00 mm
Lug width: No data
Case height: 14.75 mm
Dial: Solid Sterling silver, guilloche
Numerals: None, Arabic numerals on sub-dials
Hands: Breguet, blued
Water resistance: 30 meters
Strap: Black or brown leather strap with pin buckle in matching metal
Case back: Sapphire