One of my favorite aspects of being a part of the Fratello team is getting to grips with watches that I may not otherwise get the chance to see up close. As we all know, the best way to get to know a watch is to see it and feel it in hand, tracing the case’s curves and seeing how it interacts with the light. There’s just no substitute, in my opinion. Photographs can only show so much of a watch’s character. Take the Chronoswiss Open Gear ReSec Jungle, for example…

Having seen photographs of the watch, I had long adored the wonderfully mesmerizing and flowing colors of the dial as the light caught the intricate grooves of the guilloché pattern. I had this niggling feeling that despite how good the watch looked in these photographs, it’d be an even more impressive beast in the metal. What I hadn’t predicted was quite how correct I was.

A little Chronoswiss history…

For those not too familiar with Chronoswiss as a brand, it’s not one with hundreds of years of history. Born in 1983, it’s a relatively young brand in the grand scheme of things. Gerd-Rüdiger Land, a German watchmaker, founded Chronoswiss in Munich. The brand’s name is a portmanteau of the Greek word “Chronos” for time and “Swiss” as a tribute to Swiss watchmaking.

In a time when the industry was well in the grips of the Quartz Crisis, it was undoubtedly a risky move to start a mechanical watchmaking brand. Some might call it brave; others might call it foolhardy. That year, Lang introduced the first mechanical chronograph with a moonphase indicator and a display case back. Chronoswiss was starting the mechanical watchmaking revolution and fighting back against the quartz invasion.

In 1988, the brand introduced the world’s first serially-manufactured wristwatch with a regulator-style display separating minutes, seconds, and hours. The Régulateur introduced the world to Chronoswiss design DNA that remains today — the coin-edged bezel and case back, the onion-shaped crown, and the patented screw-bar lug design.

Traditional inspirations

Of course, the Chronoswiss Open Gear ReSec Jungle I’m looking at today is a descendant of the original Régulateur from 1988. It’s not exactly the same, though, as evolution has definitely had a hand in things; Charles Darwin would be proud. The current-day Chronoswiss brand notoriously has a penchant for larger-sized watches. At 44mm across and 13.35mm thick, this is not a small watch by any stretch. That said, had Chronoswiss shaved off a few millimeters in the name of a smaller watch, we’d lose some of that beautiful dial. And it’s the dial that makes this watch what it is, in my opinion.

The Open Gear ReSec Jungle case is very traditional, marking a clear contrast against the colorful dial. It’s almost Breguet-esque in silhouette. The case has a three-part construction with a rounded, polished bezel over a distinct coin edge, a vertically brushed center, and another coin edge circling the case back. The lugs are well-proportioned with a distinct curve and a smooth polished top to match the bezel. For the strap-a-holics among us, there is the delight of thick screw-bar lugs, adding to the steampunk vibes. As standard, Chronoswiss includes a rather lovely black Cordura strap.

Let’s talk about the Open Gear ReSec Jungle dial…

As beautiful as the case of the Chronoswiss Open Gear ReSec is, it’s the dial that is the pièce de résistance. Don’t get me wrong, as far as regulator watches go, I’d happily say the Chronoswiss brand is one of my favorites. Just look at the Chronoswiss Open Gear ReSec Jungle dial, though. The glorious colorful sheen combined with the hand-guillochéd dial is simply impossible not to marvel at.

The Open Gear ReSec Jungle uses shades of blue/green to transport the wearer to luscious, leafy canopies.

Now, I harbor a shameful secret that my colleague Rob Nudds has previously shared on multiple occasions. If this were the US of A, I’d have probably sued him and retired on my newfound fortune by now. Oddly, I still kinda like the guy, so I won’t bankrupt him just yet. I am referring to my unfortunate red/green colorblindness. It’s tough to explain because I don’t understand it myself. I know the grass is green, and fire engines are red. Sometimes those colors blend into a brown, muddy mess when placed next to each other. Other times they can look a little washed out and get lost among neighboring colors. The Open Gear ReSec Jungle uses shades of blue/green to transport the wearer to luscious, leafy canopies. Even with my reduced appreciation of the color green, I cannot help but be mesmerized by the swirling hues.

Hand-engraved guilloché

Chronoswiss designed the unique spiraling handmade guilloché pattern to resemble palm leaves. The chameleon-like flowing color comes courtesy of chemical vapor deposition. The combination of color and pattern establishes the color-changing effects and emphasizes the sense of visual depth that the dial offers. Even after you absorb the color and texture of the dial, there’s still plenty more to take in. The architectural elements further emphasize the depth, whether it’s the chapter ring with its cylindrical luminous hour pillars (made of solid Super-LumiNova mixed with zirconium oxide), the hour/minutes sub-dial at 12 o’clock, or the impressive 30-second retrograde seconds indicator beneath it. There’s a lot to look at, and despite that, this overarching aesthetic does not come across as “too busy,” in my opinion. Everything works in perfect harmony.

Chronoswiss caliber C.301

The Open Gear ReSec Jungle is powered by the Chronoswiss caliber C.301. The movement is based on the tried-and-tested ETA 2892-A2. As you might be aware, the ETA 2892-A2 is slightly different in layout from the C.301. That’s because Chronoswiss developed an in-house module for the regulator and retrograde seconds indications. The movement has 33 jewels and runs at a frequency of 28,800vph. A screw-down case back covers it with a sapphire crystal, which offers a view of the lovely skeletonized blue/green CVD-coated rotor (to match the dial) and perlage and Geneva stripe-finished movement. The 42 hours of power reserve should be plenty for the average wearer, as should the 100m water resistance. That’s plenty more than I’d have expected for a watch of this ilk.

Chronoswiss Open Gear ReSec Jungle price and availability

As I mentioned, this is my first hands-on experience with one of Chronoswiss’s horological creations, and I am not left wanting. I genuinely like the Open Gear ReSec Jungle’s dial and can only imagine how impressive the other models in this collection must be in hand. I have my eye on the fantastically-named Kingfisher next.

You can find out more about the Open Gear ReSec Jungle on the official Chronoswiss website. It’s a limited edition of 50 pieces, but if you can, I’d recommend getting down to one of the brand’s authorized dealers to take a look at this marvel in hand. The retail price for the Open Gear ReSec is €9,800.

Follow me on Instagram: @davesergeant | @fratellowatches

This is a preferred position post. Learn more.