Regulator watches have a special place in my heart, echoing a bygone era with a unique setup of independent registers for the hands. We’ve recently looked at some quirky ones, like the Hamilton Jazzmaster Regulator Cinema and Baume HRS Limited Edition Automatic, but when it comes to serious pieces, Chronoswiss has embraced the style in earnest. Back in 1987, it was the first to produce a regulator wristwatch, the Régulateur, and has advanced the style with edgy designs like the Flying Regulator Open Gear and Flying Grand Regulator Skeleton Limited Edition. In fact, the new 2019 Limited Edition is an evolution of the latter, adding bold colours and contrasts to the more traditional silver aesthetic. Other models in the range have a similar vibe with distinctive colour schemes, but its latest with a splash of yellow and red might be its most contemporary, dare I say ‘youthful’ edition in the Flying Regulator Skeleton line?
The 21-part stainless steel case remains standard across the series at 44mm in diameter and 12.48mm in height. Other standard features include knurling around the top and bottom edges of the case and oversized onion crown, along with bold, curving lugs that attach to the crocodile Hornback strap (with folding clasp) via exposed screws. You won’t mistake a Chronoswiss for any other brand. It’s water-resistant to only 30m, so don’t worry about rain, but leave it inside if taking a swim.
The standout features for early 2019 are the colours, replacing the silver dial and blue elements from the aforementioned Flying Grand Regulator Skeleton Limited Edition with black, yellow and red. This provides an appealing contrast to the underlying silver skeletonized movement and creates more discernable depth. Poire Stuart-style hands are again present, but the conservative dark blue from the earlier model has been brightened with red. The hour hand sits in a raised funnel sub-dial at 12 o’clock with a new yellow hue, while the seconds hand sits in a smaller, more subdued black sub-dial at 6 o’clock.
The prominent minute hand is centralized and extends to the dial’s edge, but there’s an interesting small sub-dial surrounding its centre. It has an inverted minute scale that the hand’s counterweight follows, also depicting the minutes. Redundant, but cool attention to detail. The new colour palette offers a bolder, more separated view of the dial’s elements, and to top things off, the 35 numeral on the outer minute scale is yellow as well (a slightly belated nod to the brand’s 35th anniversary).
The heart of the piece is the skeletonized, hand-wound Chronoswiss calibre C. 677S. Based on the Unitas 6498 movement, it’s been heavily modified in-house in Lucerne, Switzerland with the regulator module itself being fully developed in-house. It has 17 jewels, beats at 18,000vph (2.5Hz) with a 46-hour power reserve. Additional features include an Incabloc shock protection system and stop-seconds mechanism. Seen from the sapphire exhibition caseback, a unique, modified bridge design, swan neck regulator and openwork aesthetic are worlds away from the base Unitas.
The Chronoswiss Flying Grand Regulator Skeleton 2019 Limited Edition, as the name suggests, is limited to only 30 pieces with the individual number hand-painted on the right centre of the dial. The watch retails for CHF 9,150, the same as the other steel variants in the Flying Grand Regulator Skeleton series. You can find more information at the company’s website, where it can be purchased online.