Genevan jewelry brand, de Grisogono, focuses primarily on producing unique, high-end jewelry pieces. To a lesser degree, they also produce wristwatches, although this year they came out with a very cool new chronograph model in a carbon fiber case, called the Instrumento Carbon Chrono.
Similar to the Carbotech material from Panerai, and the NTPT material from Richard Mille, the case and lugs of the Instrumento Carbon are made from a multi-layer carbon fiber composite. According to de Grisogono, “The INSTRUMENTO CARBON CHRONO’s case and lugs are cut and shaped from solid blocks of carbon formed from stacks of compressed layers of carbon fibers. The layers create an original regular striped pattern visible on the sides of the case, contributing to a unique aesthetic element to the watch. The pattern is also visible on the sides of the movable lugs, perfectly aligned with the case.”
These advanced carbon fiber technologies differ from case materials like “forged carbon,” which Audemars Piguet pioneered. Unlike forged carbon, the new aforementioned methods compress carbon fiber in uniform layers, instead of older non-uniform methods such as forged carbon. The result, is stronger cases (less brittle cases), with the same lightness advantages. Notably, each method has its own look and texture, and no piece will look the same.
In addition to the high-tech case and lugs, the dial also utilizes the new technique. Instead of a coating or filling in the hour markers with luminescent material, the entire hour numeral is made of luminescent material. The dial is matte black, with contrasting green luminous numerals and hands. Interestingly, the minute graduations, as well as the markings for the three subdials, feature a sandwich construction, in white.
While the case and movable lugs are cut from a single block of compressed carbon fiber layers, the chronograph pushers are in blackened steel. The strap is integrated and made in a black matte alligator that is coated in rubber. Folding clasp in matte black PVD steel. Black diamond crown. Water-resistant 30 meters. The watch is powered by automatic caliber CR 10-82 which beats at 4Hz and has a 42-hour power reserve. Limited to 100 pieces.
The de Grisogono Instrumento Uno Carbon Chrono combines a number of unique technologies and design elements that may not enhance the chronometry of the timepiece but they surely enhance the aesthetics. There is a lot to like about the Instrumento Carbon Chrono. From the nicely proportioned case to the robust, ultra-light compressed carbon fiber layered monoblock case to the contraction of hour numerals completely out of luminescent material. The result is a black watch that stands out from the rest of the me-too blacked-out timepieces.