Chronoswiss Opus Chronograph Flag Review

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Chronoswiss Open Chronogragh Flag Blue 2

I’m no fan of skeletonized watches. I’d have a different view if watchmakers removed the time telling bits. Who wouldn’t love to watch a steampunk-like combination of miniature metal pieces performing a mechanical ballet, unencumbered by distracting details like hands, indices and dials? As it stands, skeleton watches violate my legibility fetish. The Chronoswiss Opus Chronograph Flag is the exception that proves the rule . . .

The Opus Chronograph Flag’s 41mm stainless steel case accounts for much of its readability and more than a little of its appeal. I’m not saying the OCF’s thick, but I don’t put 12.7mm  of Boar’s Head turkey on a sandwich. Add in the height of the Chrono’s domed sapphire crystal – deceptively subtle thanks to lashings of anti-reflective coating – and the OCF stands nearly 15mm tall.

Chronoswiss Opus Chronograph Flag Rex

This is not the dress shirt-compatible Swiss timepiece well-paid office droids are looking for. Unless they want to kill time by peering into the watch’s inner workings. The OCF’s 23-piece case (I count nine pieces) gives the various moving parts plenty of room to reveal their individual character and common purpose, without detracting from the dials floating on top of Lake Chronoswiss.

Save the coin edged bezel on both the top and bottom of the sandwich case and the bright blue rotor, there’s no fancy finishing to be found within. No blued screws, no hand-applied adornment to challenge French fluency.

Chronoswiss caseback

I lie. There are lots of mirror polished parts nestling within the 300-piece movement. The OCF’s rhodium blue rotor has a smattering of Côtes de Genève on its edge. And the black bridges sport practically imperceptible perlage. But the OCF isn’t a prissy showcase for horological stunting and flossing. It’s a serious-minded time machine laid bare.

This Opus Chronograph is named “Flag” ’cause it deploys “the three most used colours for national flags.” Our Swiss friends daren’t say it, but ‘Merica! Red, white and blue FTW.

Chronoswiss Opus Chronograph Flag Rex 3

That’s especially true for reading the time. The OCF’s bright white lacquered Breguet Losange (that’s lollipop to you and me) hour and minute hands pop against both the blue rehaut and the wide open spaces. Time telling is not a problem, despite the minuscule indices ringing the dial (Meistersinger owners need apply.)

The left and right subdials mark the passage of seconds and days with white hands against a blue background. The top and bottom subdials keep track of chronograph’s minutes and hours with red hands and numbers against a white background. The last time I used a stopwatch I was timing a child’s temper tantrum. Regardless, the Opus Chronograph Flag is a useful tool for those without access to Siri, Alexa and Hey Google when boiling eggs.

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More likely, the OCF appeals to collectors who want to own and admire ETA’s legendary, iconic Valjoux 7750 chronograph movement, modified by Chronoswiss to create their caliber C. 741 S.

And well modified it is too, delivering +2 seconds a day accuracy, protected to a [you’d-be-crazy-to-do it] 100m of water resistance. There is real joy to be had watching the chrono’s cam actuate from the rear – a display that reminds you of the 7750’s original designer’s skill and Chronswiss’ production precision.

Chronoswiss Opus Chronograph Flag Ducati

The OCF’s pushers have a fair amount of play before crunch time, but there’s historical satisfaction in their olde worlde operation. The large Russian onion dome masquerading as the Flag’s crown makes setting the time easier than keeping track of characters in a Russian novel. Then again, what isn’t?

Setting the Opus Chronograph Flag’s date requires a tremendous amount WS (Winding Stamina). Given the watch’s 46-hour power reserve it’s not something owners will be doing very often – assuming they put the OCF on an automatic watch winder when they swap it out for a tool watch or some other showcase watch.

Chronoswiss Opus Chronograph Flag toy

At $11,400, this Chronoswiss Opus Chronograph Flag is nothing if not a statement piece. In that, it succeeds. Attached to a hand-sewn Louisiana alligator leather strap with a solid snicking deployment clasp, with newly shortened lugs for extra comfort, it’s the kind of watch that reminds both its owner and onlookers that MECHANICAL WATCHES ARE A THING.

More than that, the Opus was the world’s first skeletonized automatic chronograph. The limited edition orange dialed variant is too bling, the all-silver dial model too confusing. So it’s the checkered flag for the Chronoswiss Opus Chronograph Flag: a worthwhile chrono for those who understand the value of seeing what you get, and getting what you see.

Model: Chronoswiss Opus Chronograph Flag
Price:
$11,400

SPECIFICATIONS:

Diameter: 41mm
Case Material: Stainless steel
Height: 14.9mm (including crystal)
Dial Material: Skeletonized, galvanic blue and silver
Crystal: Sapphire
Movement: Chronoswiss caliber C. 741 S (ETA Valjoux 7750 base)
Finish: Skeletonized and CVD-plated blue rotor with Côtes de Genève, ball bearing; polished pallet lever, escape wheel and screws; bridges and base plate with perlage
Functions: Hour, minute, seconds, chronograph seconds and and hours, date
Accuracy (as tested): +2 seconds a day
Power reserve: Approximately 46 hours
Water resistance: 100m
Case back: sapphire
Strap and Buckle: Louisiana alligator leather with deployment clasp
Weight: 3.4 ounces

RATINGS

Design * * * * *
A skeletonized chronograph in red, white and blue that’s both handsome and unique. Too thick for dress shirts but better for it.

Legibility * * * * *
A legible skeletonized watch. Who’d a thunk it?

Comfort * * * *
The lugs were shortened for comfort but it’s still a beast.

Overall * * * * *
A lot of money for a Swiss watch from a relatively new and unknown brand, but distinctive in all the right ways and beautifully built.

The Truth About Watches is a fully independent website. Chronoswiss provided the watch for review. No further considerations provided.

2 COMMENTS

  1. The ETA/Valjoux 7750 is a great movement, but it is properly priced at about $10,000 less than this watch. This does not even have the improvements Longines adds to the 7750 like a column wheel and silicon balance spring.

    The much more sophisticated Heuer 02 can be had in a skeletonized watch for about half this price, and the incredible Zenith Defy El Primero can be had skeletonized for this money or less. Plus those are some of the most important chronograph brands in history compared to the early 2000s fad of Chronoswiss,

  2. I’m still a bit perplexed about how they avoided the typical pratfall of skeletonized watches having a shiny metallic cacophony of a background, especially given the high degree of finishing. But it appears to work. Is there some smoked screen in there?
    12.7mm is exactly half an inch, and the old Motorola RAZR v3 flip phone was 13.9 mm thick, for reference.
    I unwittingly stumbled into one of Chronoswiss’s few American retailers a short while back and unfortunately did not recognize the name and paid them little mind as they are not my style (nor as it turns out, my budget).
    Regardless, at least they made the thing very respectably accurate. And I think I’ll be borrowing that handgrip/brake lever positioning.

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