Headquartered in Lucerne, Chronoswiss was founded in 1983 by Gerd R. Lang. In 1987, the brand presented its first wristwatch with a regulator dial. Since then, regulators have become a trademark of Chronoswiss – to the point that this distinctive display has become the very essence of the brand. And if the present Chronoswiss Flying Regulator Open Gear (introduced here) is much more modern in its execution, it bears all the attributes of the brand.
In the past, watch workshops or observatories were equipped with precision master clocks known as regulators. Their characteristic display with separate time indications (the minute hand usually taking centre stage) was designed for precision time readings. With reference to their display, the term ‘regulator’ refers to dials with separate time registers, in general, a central minute hand with hours and seconds arranged in subsidiary registers.
The Chronoswiss watch we are reviewing today is called the ‘Flying Regulator’ precisely because the regulator indication seems to float above the dial (or more precisely, the intermediate plate onto which the regulator mechanism is built). The raised hours and seconds rings create a striking sense of depth. The leaf-shaped hands are either rhodium-plated or blued and luminescent material improves readability in the dark.
The Chronoswiss Flying Regulator Open Gear showcases its regulator complication in a highly original way. Its gears, usually hidden under the dial, are on full display. An intermediate/transfer wheel connects the wheel displaying the hours (at 12 o’clock) and the centre minute wheel. Both are rotating under finely angled and polished bridges that are held by blued screws. For aesthetic reasons, Chronoswiss has fitted these bridges with unusually large jewels. At 6 o’clock, a cut-out in the module plate reveals the small seconds gears.
The exhibition case back of the Chronoswiss Flying Regulator Open Gear allows for a view of automatic Calibre C.299. It is based on an extensively modified ETA 2895 with a ‘regulator’ mechanism fully developed and designed in-house by the brand. The rotor is openworked and the bridges are circular grained. Running at 28,800 vibrations per hour, it can store up to 42 hours of power reserve.
The Flying Regulator’s round, cylinder-like case features the brand’s signature onion crown, side knurling and straight lugs. Measuring 41mm in diameter, it will fit most wrist sizes. It is made of stainless steel or red gold and is water-resistant to 100m.
The Chronoswiss Flying Regulator Open Gear is worn on a hand-sewn alligator leather strap with a folding buckle. The strap is attached to the watch with screws. A steel bracelet is also available.
The model is released in four different versions: in a steel case with a blue, black or silver galvanic dial and in a red gold case with a silver galvanic dial. A 35-piece anniversary limited edition with a nice hand-guilloché dial crafted in-house is also available. The limited edition number is hand-painted on a plate applied at 3 o’clock – see below.
With the Flying Regulator Open Gear, the Lucerne-based maker demonstrates that it continues to actively develop its signature regulator display. Boasting a distinctive aesthetic identity, it definitely steps out of the norm. I can thoroughly recommend that you go hands-on with the model, if only to check it out in person.