Chronoswiss Flying Grand Regulator Open Gear ReSec
Chronoswiss is synonymous with making regulators. The Swiss firm has made this traditional genre of watch its own. Indeed, while several other brands make regulators, few can match the extensive choice this company offers. Recently, the Lucerne-based company ventured off-piste, releasing its boldest watch to date.
This detailed review of the Chronoswiss Flying Grand Regulator Open Gear ReSec (ref. CH-6926-BLBL) includes live images, specification details and pricing.
A few years ago, most steel watches featured a brushed or polished case and a black or white dial. Chronoswiss, the brand synonymous with regulators, was just one of many exponents of monochrome tones.
However, in more recent times, the brand from Lucerne has embraced vibrantly hued dials. Again, it is not alone in this regard, but the combination of ebullient shades and the firm’s legendary guilloché dials has set Chronoswiss apart from many of its rivals.
Lately, the Swiss firm has combined black DLC treated cases, further eye-popping dial colours and sumptuous straps suffused with striking shades. This is a far cry from the Chronoswiss models of the 1990s.
The problem with making watches for an older audience is that it excludes a large and significant proportion of the watch buying public. A greater number of companies are choosing to target younger audiences as well and, based on the evidence, so is Chronoswiss.
At Baselworld 2019, the Swiss company unveiled the Chronoswiss Flying Grand Regulator Open Gear ReSec. Five options are available, including an 18-carat red gold reference, a version in an undressed steel case and two black DLC models. However, it is the fifth variant, the blue DLC option, which stood out from its siblings.
Blue dials have been de rigueur for some time, however, I cannot recall seeing a blue DLC case before, albeit I am sure there will be an ESCAPEMENT reader who will provide evidence to the contrary. Either way, I very much doubt that any brand has combined a blue DLC case, blue guilloché dial, a funnel type hour display and an onion crown. I firmly believe that Chronoswiss has ventured off-piste with this model and, as such, this watch is deserving of column-inches.
Chronoswiss has juxtaposed modernity, in the form of the dial colour, with a traditional guilloché dial. This unlikely alliance works wonderfully. The guilloché motif has been produced on a historic rose-engine lathe, operated by time-served hands. This engraving method is far superior to a simple stamped pattern. The resultant dial motif is beautifully defined, albeit the aesthetic appearance cannot be produced in haste. Owing to the hand-crafted nature of the dial epidermis, and, by default its protracted creation, the brand is unable to make large numbers of this model, hence it has limited supplies to just 50 examples.
Originally, a regulator was a reference clock or watch used when setting other clocks or watches. For this reason, the minute hand always assumes the greatest importance, dominating the dial. Despite offering chronographs and other styles of watch, the regulator is at the heart of the Chronoswiss brand and the firm has made this genre of watch very much its own.
The hours are proclaimed on a funnel-type display, positioned below noon. The hour track features Roman numerals and the centre of the display is openworked, revealing dynamic components below. This mechanical exhibitionism accords views of the hour display’s gear train. The gear train is held in position with open-worked bridges, again depicted in electric blue. The hour hand resembles an isosceles triangle and is lined with luminescent fill.
Once again, Chronoswiss has employed a triangular shaped hand, albeit larger this time, to impart minutes. The Swiss firm has clearly expended much time thinking about nocturnal legibility. The minute hand is lined with luminescent fill and the 5-minute markers incorporate unusual, three-dimensional cylindrical blocks of Super-LumiNova. This latter dial detail further heightens the sense of depth. Positioned between each 5-minute marker are small dots and neat strokes, arranged in 15-second intervals.
In the lower portion of the dial, a retrograde seconds display awaits innocent onlookers. A prolonged stare will lead to seduction as the blue seconds hand arcs from right to left and then, on reaching 30-seconds, returns to its point of origin and recommences its courtship ritual. There is nothing mundane about this visual spectacle. Indeed, while it conveys the passage of time with notable aplomb, it is the coquettish stroll of the seconds hand which will undoubtedly elicit most of the admiring glances.
As stated earlier, I cannot recall another watch endowed with a blue DLC case. However, as I have already demonstrated, the Chronoswiss Flying Grand Regulator Open Gear ReSec does not subscribe to convention, a point which is manifest when appraising its electric blue torso.
Diamond-like-carbon (DLC) is a scratch resistant coating which has grown in popularity in recent years. In this instance, the finish is said to have a hardness of 4,500 Vickers, imbuing the case with impressive wear resistance and robustness.
The blue DLC treatment has also been employed on the funnel-type hour display and the openworked gear train bridges. Chronoswiss has clearly demonstrated its creativity, utilising DLC in some highly creative ways.
However, while Chronoswiss has embraced modernity, it has not dispensed with some of its historical design language. The onion crown graces the right flank of the case. Beyond its attractive appearance, the crown proves simple to manipulate. The edge of the bezel features a knurled motif, a style also employed on the periphery of the caseback. The caseband is embellished with vertical satin-brush. The Swiss brand’s fan base will recognise some of the elements also found on the firm’s conventional watches.
The brand has modified its 44mm case, making the horns shorter. I have never had any issues wearing Chronoswiss models, however, I did note that this watch is extraordinarily comfortable to wear.
Seldom does a strap merit discussion, however, it is rare that I find a strap of this notable quality on a watch within this price segment. The cornflower blue strap is made from hornback crocodile leather. The prominent ridges of the reptile’s skin bestow a fascinating texture which invites tactile examination. The strap is paired with a folding clasp.
The exhibition caseback grants views of the Chronoswiss caliber C.301 automatic movement. The frequency of the balance is 28,800 VpH (4Hz) and the movement contains 33 jewels. The power reserve is approximately 42 hours.
The oscillating weight is presented in electric blue and is openworked. A consequence of the rotor being openworked is that the wearer is able to view more of the beautifully appointed components below.
Côtes de Genève motif adorns the automatic device framework and perlage features on several bridges. The brand states that the pallet lever and escape wheel are polished. The screws are blued, upholding fine watchmaking practise.
Chronoswiss has equipped the movement with a regulator corrector, facilitating small adjustments to the rate.
Take one glance at the Chronoswiss Flying Grand Regulator Open Gear ReSec and it becomes painstakingly obvious that it shuns mediocrity. The wearer of this timepiece is likely to be a free-thinker, someone who avoids the well-trodden paths used by others. Its playful hue is individual and youthful.
The Flying Grand Regulator Open Gear ReSec imparts time with clear tone. However, this watch reminds me that it is not the allure of the destination, but the pleasure of the journey which leaves a lasting impression. The hour and minute hands proclaim time without ambiguity, while the seconds hand thrills with its captivating journey to and fro. This dial transcends the ordinary and makes the declaration of time a feast for the eyes.
I have made many comments about the blue DLC case and the widespread use of this vivid shade throughout. Nevertheless, despite the originality of the design, it retains some of the prerequisites necessary for the watch to be considered a Chronoswiss. Quite simply, the guilloché dial, knurled details and onion crown will elicit nods of approval from the brand’s admirers. Perhaps more pertinently, the avant-garde elements of this watch sit in concert with the traditional design features. Indeed, the overall composition of this watch is harmonious.
Courageous design inevitably disenfranchises some onlookers, however, I am glad Chronoswiss chose to push the boundaries with this stunning watch. Furthermore, with only 50 examples being produced, I suspect the brand will have no problem finding each piece a hospitable home.
- Model: Chronoswiss Flying Grand Regulator Open Gear ReSec
- Reference: CH-6926-BLBL
- Case: Stainless steel; diameter 44mm; water resistance 10ATM (100 metres); sapphire crystal to the front and sapphire caseback
- Functions: Hours; minutes; retrograde seconds
- Movement: Caliber C.301; self-winding movement; frequency 28,800VpH (4Hz); 33 jewels; power reserve approximately 42 hours
- Strap: Hornback crocodile leather strap with folding clasp
- Prices: CHF 9,900 (RRP as at 18.6.2019)
- Limited Edition: 50 pieces