A Mike Stuffler Watch Review
Watch Brand: Chronoswiss
Watch Model: Pacific Chronograph Reference No. CH 7583 B si
Written: January 2012
I have been collecting mechanical watches for more than 25 years now.
In May 2011 I got burgled and the whole watch collection has gone (literally) in a minute.
This collection included a lot of chronographs, vintage as well as contemporary, classic and sporty.
I always loved chronographs for no specific reason. It really has been the look rather than the function which intrigued me. As already stated in another review vintage chronographs were most fascinating for me - with their handwound movements made by Valjoux, Lemania, Venus et al. The “Zeitgeist” they embody and the variety they offer to the collector have been the two main reasons for me to buy and collect them.
A Chronoswiss chronograph formed also part of my collection, a Valjoux 7750 CCL, which I really loved to wear.
Even after 10 years of occasional wear this chronograph had no signs of wear and tear at all.
The experience I made with this particular chronograph might have been the reason to dive into the brand for another time knowing that Chronoswiss as a brand and in the run of the last two decades went up to the world of more luxury mechanical watches which – I have to admit that frankly – is mirrored in the prices you have to pay for Chronoswiss watches.
My visit to the Munichtime 2011 exhibition and the chat(s) I had with Tobias Buchner (some might remember that he once worked for Jörg Schauer/ Stowa) brought me nearer to the brand and the values and craftsmanship Chronoswiss does stand for.
- Chronoswiss booth Munichtime 2011, Hotel Bayerischer Hof -
- Quick Munichtime shot oft the Pacific chronographs -
Compared to other competitors Chronoswiss undoubtedly is a young brand of about 30 years. Chronoswiss is family owned and a family run business and without its enthusiastic founder a dream would not have become true.
Gerd-Rüdiger Lang started his career as an apprentice in a small retail watch store in Braunschweig, Lower Saxony, and at the age of 19 he worked at a watchmaker’s shop on the Fehmarn island in the Baltic Sea.
He then used to work for Hamilton for some time. Not commonly known ist that at that time Hamilton produced watches for ZentRa.
Right after he left Hamilton he was hired by Heuer where his career as a watchmaker got the final push. At those times Heuer was a “large” company with about 160 employees and Charles Heuer, Jack Heuer’s father, was the man at the top. In the course of the years Gerd-Rüdiger Lang worked in almost all Heuer departments (production, stopwatches, chronograph assembly).
As a side note and for the Stowa fans amongst us: Heuer at that time was represented in Germany by Walter Storz`s company in Pforzheim.
In 1968 Heuer’s new branch office was established together with IWC in Frankfurt and out of a sudden Gerd-Rüdiger Lang became an IWC-employee but remained only in charge of Heuer products.
Gerd-Rüdiger Lang stayed in Frankfurt until 1974, the year he moved to Munich where the Heuer Time GmbH was established at exactly that time. Gerd-Rüdiger Lang took over as head of the technical department including CS.
In 1980 Jack Heuer came up to Gerd-Rüdiger Lang and told him “We have to close down Germany, you are fired.” Another victim of the quartz crisis though. Uhren Huber in Munich (which still in business) took over the responsibilities from the Heuer Time GmbH but not the service of Heuer watches.
Gerd-Rüdiger Lang got a phone call: “Huber is probably going to take over our representation here, but they won’t do the service. Don’t you want to take over the service for Heuer in Germany ?”.
Gerd-Rüdiger Lang decided to go this way. At the beginning he only worked for Heuer, later he did business with Alfred Rochat and Kelek as well. I didn’t take long and the first Chronoswiss watches were launched. Chronoswiss was then legally registered in 1984.
Gerd-Rüdiger Lang extended his collection step by step. His contacts within the swiss watch making industry helped him a lot. One of the very first models was the Kelek repeater designed by Gerd-Rüdiger Lang, but produced by Kelek. Some limited editions with Valjoux 23 and Valjoux 72 calibers followed and soon after that the first Chronoswiss Regulator was launched (1987). The “Chronoswiss Regulateur” featured an old Unitas hw movement (production already stopped in 1984). This watch cleary marked the breakthrough of Chronoswiss.
This review is about the new Pacific chronograph. The – if I may say so - original Pacific, a legendary model line launched by Chronoswiss in the early 1990s, already got its place in Chronoswiss history. Almost twenty years later, a second generation sets new standards with its overall classic but sporty design.
+ Solid 43-part polished case
+ Polished bezel
+ AR coated slightly domed sapphire crystal
+ Polished screw-down display back
+ Crown in new Chronoswiss design
+ Screw-mounted strap bars with patented Autobloc system
+ Water-resistant to 10 atm/100 m
Diameter: 43mm without crown, approx. 46mm with crown
Lug to Lug: approx.50-51mm, lug width: 21mm
Height: 15mm (14,85mm according to Chronoswiss)
Weight: 105 grams (on leather strap)
Case, crown and pushers
When I first looked at the Pacific line I immediately compared these watches with those dating back to the late 1970s/early 1980s.
- pic borrowed from the www -
However there have been some (colorful) updates which make the new chronograph contemporary looking and fresh.
Perhaps the biggest change to emerge in the re-designed Pacific model line is the case diameter. The case is 43mm without crown and got a notable presence. Next to this the dial has become more competent and it now features both, day and date.
And – imho fortunately - the knurled bezel disappeared.
The finishing and fit of the 43-parts-case is state of the art. When the watch is viewed from the side, the typical vertical polishing of the case is also noticeable, the matte look of which makes for an effective contrast to the polished bezel and underlines a highly developed expertise in case design.
In former times Donzé-Baume, Les Breuleux/Switzerland signed responsible for the cases, I do not know who’s in “charge” right now but I do know those who made this case do know their stuff.
Crown and pushers lead us to believe that they are made in the onion style but this is only the visual impression you get – they are onion-style like at most. Crown and pushers are not screw-down.
I’d say that they are executed in a way of a modern interpretation of the best known WWII_B-Uhren-onion-styled crowns.
If you look at the crown and pushers from above you won’t recognize it. Very cleverly made, it is only to be seen as such from a side perspective.
I hope the two photographs above show what I mean.
The pusher functions are nice and firm when starting, stopping and resetting the chronograph. Nothing to complain about though.
The shape of the case back allows the watch to sit fairly flat on the wrist and is very comfortable to wear.
The lugs are curved down which is a benefit to daily wear.
The sapphire crystal is ar-coated and as a reminiscence to chronographs of the 1970s it is of course slightly domed. There’s no need to say more.
Dial and hands
I experienced the watch dial to be aesthetically pleasing as well as being functional and well thought out. Compared to the more prominent sub dials at 12 and 6 the permanent seconds hand at 9 fades into the background. You see the hand moving but from some distance the watch looks like a bi-compax one. However this is just a visual trick but not a bad one.
The dial features sunburst finish, is silver-plated, galvanized black. The indices are applied.
The hour and minute hands come in Zephyr shape, both are coated with Super-LumiNova. The sub dial hands are luminescent as well.
I first thought that the green hands would irritate me reading the time or operating the watch but the daily use so far proved that there is no concern at all. Same proved to be true for the green pusher tubes. They really don’t disturb the eye of the beholder. I did not felt distracted at any time.
Like all Chronoswiss models, the Pacific watches also allow their owners to look deeply into the movement through the sapphire crystal case back, so does the chrono.
The Movement is a very fine finished swiss Valjoux 7750 automatic movement (C 771). The very fine finish manifests itself in a skeletonized and rhodium-plated rotor with Côtes de Genève (Geneva stripes) on ball bearings, and a polished pallet fork.
The escape wheel, screws and plates are finished with perlage, all bridges are decorated with Côtes de Genève as well.
Some specs which might be interesting when comparing the Chronoswiss Pacific chronograph to other competitors:
Balance: three-legged Glucydur
Balance Spring: flat Nivarox hairspring
Shock protection: Incabloc
Power reserve: Approx. 48 hours
Fine adjustment: Eccentric
Timekeeping has been extraordinary so far. I did not observed any break-in time, the average gain is +3/+4 sec/day on the wrist. I am quite satisfied with the performance so far. Adjusting the time – if deemed necessary – is easy to be done, the movement hacks btw.
Out of the limited variety of Chronoswiss straps I decided that the watch should go with a dark brown leather strap with white stitches (code: ST-CAP) and a simple stainless steel buckle with the Chronoswiss logo (code: BC-S).
There is another option to go for: Black Croc skin strap with green stitching which then makes the green more noticeable. Comes down to a matter of personal taste an preferences I guess.
Lug width inconveniently is 21mm which makes the search for after market straps a bit difficult.
A deployant (folding clasp) is available as well and of course you can fit a stainless steel bracelet (code: MB-SP).
£ 3275 (€ 3690)
on a leather strap. Deployment clasp available for £ 275, bracelet £ 465.
2 years which come with an exceptional after sales service
The Chronoswiss Pacific chronograph isn’t a chrono at an entry level, however my conclusion is that this extremely well executed watch is worth all efforts.
The case is state of the art and bears comparison with the Wempe (comparable in price) and the GO (more expensive) I own. Of course both have in-house movements, the Chronoswiss has not.
The Pacific chronograph answers a lot of requirements - it is a fine and excellent executed contemporary timepiece, still classic and distinguished even with green splashes of color and therefore a sporty all-rounder fitting both suits and leisure clothing.
You can have a beer or a Glenlivet non chill-filtered Single Malt One Cask Whisky with it, you can join an after work party or the Queens Garden Party at Buckingham Palace, on all occasions you can’t go wrong with this versatile Pacific
Maybe this watch will become my daily wearer, who knows.