Chronoswiss Regulator Classic
The Chronoswiss Regulator Classic was unveiled at Baselworld 2019. Exhibiting a timeless appearance, this watch upholds some of the company’s design codes first employed by the brand, back in 1987. Angus Davies spends a week in the company of this handsome watch from Lucerne.
In 1894, Coca-Cola packaged its famous beverage in glass bottles for the first time. Prior to this, the company focussed solely on ‘fountain sales’. The initial supplies of Coca-Cola were supplied in ‘Hutchinson’ bottles. These were straight-sided and widely used for an array of products at the time.
Later, concerned that other brands were copying Coca-Cola, the American firm chose to package its sweet-tasting drink in ‘Contour Bottles’. When this iconic packaging was initially unveiled in 1916, fountain sales continued to surpass bottle sales. However, by 1928 the ‘volume of Coca-Cola sold in bottles exceeded the amount sold through soda fountains’.
Over the years, the typography used on the Contour Bottle evolved slightly, the shape of the bottle subtly changed and, in some instances, the iconic bottle even transitioned from glass to PET plastic. Nevertheless, despite the passage of time, the design codes of the Contour Bottle have endured.
Consistency is an important aspect of building any successful brand. Moreover, a firm’s design language should always include elements common to all of a brand’s products. This is something that Coca-Cola mastered a long time ago with its Contour Bottle.
Likewise, appraising a BMW car, while new models come and subsequently go, they all feature a kidney-shaped grille and the brand’s legendary ‘Hofmeister kink’, a small inward kink at the base of the C-Pillar. These two design elements help define what constitutes a BMW and provide a visual means of differentiation.
Chronoswiss – the design codes
In 1981, Gerd R. Lang, having previously enjoyed a successful career at Heuer, inaugurated a ‘workshop for chronographs in Munich’. Two years later (1983), Lang opened the doors to the first Chronoswiss factory in Munich. In my opinion, the most important year for the brand, certainly in terms of its design language, was 1987. For the first time, Chronoswiss timepieces incorporated a fluted pattern around the bezel and the case back, an onion-shaped crown and distinctive screwed strap lugs. In addition, this was the year that the company produced ‘the first serially manufactured wristwatch with a regulator-type dial’.
In recent years, the brand has relocated to Lucerne in Switzerland and released a myriad of products. Nevertheless, some of the design elements that were showcased in 1987 continue to endure. Moreover, the regulator-type watch has become a fundamental element of the brand’s DNA.
Chronoswiss has never shied away from innovative design. Indeed, in the last few years alone, the brand has embraced funnel-type displays, brightly hued skeleton dials and even eye-popping blue DLC-coated cases. However, despite such developments, it has always retained the well-proven design codes first seen in 1987.
New yet classical
The Chronoswiss Regulator Classic was released at Baselworld 2019. Compared with some of its more flamboyant siblings, this new model is far more restrained. It does not crave attention, but chooses to quietly converse with its wearer in seemly tone. Paradoxically, this is a new watch which is overtly classical.
Image – Chronoswiss Regulator Classic 41 with galvanic blue dial Ref. CH-8773-BL
Perpetuating the legacy of 1987, this new model, as it names implies, is a regulator, a genre of watch that Chronoswiss has made its own. While I concede other brands make regulators, the volumes they make are comparatively small by comparison.
Image – Chronoswiss Regulator Classic 41 with galvanic silver dial Ref. CH-8773-SI
Chronoswiss offer the Regulator Classic in two case sizes, 37mm and 41mm. While I would always gravitate to the larger case, based on the size of my wrist, I do think the decision to offer a smaller case option is very shrewd. It is widely known that the Asian market tends to favour smaller case dimensions and hopefully the 37mm will prove very popular with horophiles in this region.
In addition, the Chronoswiss Regulator Classic is offered in a choice of three dials, galvanic blue, galvanic silver and a bi-coloured option, galvanic grey and black. Both the blue and silver options exhibit a timeless, almost traditional aesthetic. However, I personally favour the bi-coloured option which appears more contemporary and youthful. Indeed, having fallen for the charms of this version at Baselworld, I subsequently requested a sample of the watch which allowed me to evaluate it over a week-long period.
Two overlapping dials dominate the dial. The upper dial is larger than its neighbour and displays the hours. A lone ‘Trigono’ hour hand spans a sea of guilloché while its tip kisses the hour track, conversing with the Roman numerals presented.
The lower dial, once again, features a guilloché motif. An ebullient red hand collaborates with Arabic numerals and crisp white markings, imparting the running seconds in lucid form.
A prominent Trigono minute hand circumnavigates the full dialscape. Its bold red tip engages with the prominent markings gracing the minute track, delivering peerless legibility. Throughout the dial composition, Chronoswiss has judiciously applied Super-LumiNova to the hands and indexes, augmenting readability in dim light conditions.
Chronoswiss has deftly played with different colours to comely effect. The central area of the dial is described as ‘galvanic grey’, albeit I would prefer the term ‘stone grey’, owing to the slight presence of golden-beige pigments. The brand from Lucerne has incorporated red tones for the small seconds hand, the tip of the minute hand and the index at noon. The addition of red hues does not jar with the otherwise muted tones of the dial, but tastefully enlivens the horological vista.
The aforementioned onion-shaped crown and fluted detail, gracing the top and bottom of the case band, have been employed once again on the new Chronoswiss Regulator Classic. The screwed strap lugs also feature on this latest model, albeit they are now shorter.
Chronoswiss has equipped the Regulator Classic with a redesigned stainless steel bracelet. The central section of links are brushed, conferring an alluring contrast with the highly polished surfaces, positioned adjacent. The case band is adorned with vertical satin brush which tempers the noticeable gleam of the nearby polished surfaces. The Swiss company has an incredible eye for detail, something which is apparent when viewing the watch through a macro lens.
The fitment of an expansive sapphire crystal affords splendid views of the model’s automatic movement.
The Chronoswiss Regulator Classic is endowed with a self-winding movement, the Calibre C.295. Its balance has a frequency of 28,800 VpH (4Hz) and the movement contains 27 jewels. The power reserve is approximately 42 hours.
Both the automatic device bridge and oscillating weight are adorned with Côtes de Genève motif. Perlage appears on the bridges and plates, while some components feature snailing. The barrel cover is embellished with a spiral-shaped motif and blued screws abound. While I would not describe the Calibre C.295 as an exemplar of haute horlogerie, the finishing is acceptable for a watch at this price point (£4200 – RRP as at 6.10.2019).
A regulator watch sidesteps convention, placing the minute hand at the top table. For those readers who have never worn a regulator watch before, there may be an assumption that these watches are confusing to read. Rest assured, this is not the case. It does not take long before the dial of a regulator proves intuitive to use. The dial of the Chronoswiss Regulator Classic is very legible and interpreting the prevailing time proves incredibly user friendly.
One factor which enhances readability on this watch is the flat appearance of the dial. While I adore dials imbued with numerous depths, the comparative simplicity of this model’s dial augments ease of understanding. However, do not misconstrue my remarks, the dial successfully embraces different tones and incorporates exquisite guilloché, making it a fascinating surface to behold.
The case and bracelet brim with quality. The luxury marque has paid close attention to small details, obsessing not only about the appearance of a component but how it feels.
When contrasted with some of Chronoswiss’s livelier models, the Regulator Classic appears comparatively reserved. However, this is not a failing, merely an observation. Its slightly diffident persona confers much versatility. This is a watch that will complement casual attire or a black tie ensemble. Indeed, this is a perfect watch for daily wear.
The Regulator Classic may well attract new clients to the Swiss marque, especially now the brand offers a smaller 37mm case option. However, it also upholds some of the design codes which Chronoswiss first introduced in 1987, that have led to legions of watch fans swearing undying love for the Maison’s models. With the advent of the Regulator Classic, the legend continues.
- Model: Chronoswiss Regulator Classic
- Reference: CH-8773-GRBK
- Case: Stainless steel; diameter 41mm; height 12.7mm; water resistance 10ATM (100 metres) sapphire crystals to the front and back
- Functions: Off-centre hours; central minutes; small seconds
- Movement: Caliber C.295; automatic movement; frequency 28,800 VpH (4Hz); contains 27 jewels; power reserve approximately 42 hours
- Strap: Stainless steel bracelet with folding clasp
- Price: £4200 (RRP as at 6.10.2019)