Last year, Chronoswiss put out a new regulator watch called the Sirius Flying Regulator. The Chronoswiss Sirius Flying Regulator was special in the sense that its sub-dials for the hours and seconds seemed to be floating on the main dial - hence "Flying Regulator." For 2017, the brand is releasing a new skeletonized version called the Chronoswiss Sirius Flying Grand Regulator Skeleton that is going to be a limited edition. Let me talk you through this new watch now.
For anyone unfamiliar, regulator-style watches are those where the hours, minutes, and seconds are read off separate dials, usually with the minutes displayed prominently in the center. They are a bit of an oddity these days and something you don't see too often. But with a cool and technical-sounding name, in recent years more and more brands have been rediscovering this kind of watch as a way to stand out and another style option around which to build designs. Their historical origin adds to the appeal, and that is that this type of clock was used in watch manufactures against which the watchmakers would set the watches as they worked on them.
The Chronoswiss Sirius Flying Grand Regulator Skeleton watch comes in stainless steel and 18K red gold. And compared to the regular Sirius Flying Grand Regulator watch from last year, the case size has been enlarged by 4mm to 44mm. Water-resistant to 30m, it is also ever so slightly thicker at 12mm - as last year’s model was 11.8mm. The case design remains the same, with a polished bezel and knurled sides. There’s also a sizable onion crown. All in all, the case is very classic in its design and gives off a very antique vibe.
The key changes are on the dial. It is skeletonized and this gives its owners a very clear view of the inner workings of the movement within - more on the movement later. At 12 o’clock is the sub-dial for the hours, and at 6 o’clock is the sub-dial for the seconds. The two sub-dials have the same floating effect as last year’s model, which gives the dial a three-dimensional quality.
Both sub-dials have a unique funnel shape, but it is more apparent on the hours sub-dial, with translucent red varnish and white Roman numerals. In red, it stands out on the dial, aiding legibility so you know which dial is more important to read at a glance. Also interesting is the small inverse minute scale under the central minute hand in the very center of the dial, as this allows the minutes to be easily read regardless of any subdial cutting off the minute track. The hour and minute hands are rhodium-plated and diamond cut, while the seconds hand has been given a red lacquer to provide it with some contrast.
The movement within is the Chronoswiss Caliber C. 677, which is based on the Unitas 6498. It has been extensively modified and finished to include a hand-crafted Glucydur balance with hacking function, Swan-neck regulator, polished screws and plates, and skeletonized gear wheels. In fact, looking at the photo above, it doesn't look like a Unitas 6498 at all. With a 40-hour power reserve, the Caliber C. 677 beats at a leisurely 18,000vph, or 2.5Hz.
From the press photos, the Chronoswiss Sirius Flying Grand Regulator Skeleton watch looks pretty handsome, and I quite like the case design, especially the knurled sides and onion crown. But I’ll reserve my final judgment until I see it in person (or at least hands-on photos of the watch). That said, the thing about regulator-style watches is that, for the most part, they are the kind of watch you either love or hate because the way they display time is not to everyone’s liking and certainly takes some getting used to. The Chronoswiss Sirius Flying Grand Regulator Skeleton is limited to 30 pieces in stainless steel and 10 pieces in 18K red gold. It is priced at €8,960 and €19,140, respectively. chronoswiss.com