March 3, 2019
by Rob Nudds
Chronoswiss has a definite aesthetic. This is not a brand afraid of trying new things to catch your attention. Bright colors, interesting dial layouts, and extensive skeletonization draw the eye. A somewhat bombastic character is certainly on display in the Chronoswiss Flying Grand Regulator Skeleton watch, which recently debuted.
For the last few years, I have found it difficult to give Chronoswiss the respect it perhaps deserves. The aesthetics are bold, and the willingness to flash the movement at every opportunity can sometimes come off a little overeager. Whether or not that is to your liking will likely dictate how you feel about the brand.
And it must be said, if you’re a fan of the kind of titillation Chronoswiss is selling, then there aren’t many better examples of it at this price-point.
There are a couple of things I really do like about this dial. The hour sub-dial at 12 o’clock is a really unusual color. I have an odd obsession with yellow things (good for my potassium levels and little else). The red lacquered hands really pop against the sub-dial, the number 35, and the partially visible gear train. In fact, I’m really digging the German vibes that may or may not have been intentional.
The minute hand takes center stage and is the only hand mounted on the central axis. The seconds sub-dial gives the dial a pleasing visual balance.
The fact that the limitation is explicitly stated on the dial, with each dial being, therefore, unique, is an interesting move. I find it a little crass, but like it for its novelty. The fact that it is also hand-painted earns a ton of kudos.
A highly complicated 44mm, 21-piece stainless-steel case features detachable lugs and knurled halos, edging the bezel and caseback. The alternating finishes create a fantastic light show and draw the wearer into the piece. The blend of high-polished and satinated surfaces give what initially appears to be a very traditional case form, a kind of sculptural character. The large onion crown rounds off the brand’s bread-and-butter look. Ultimately, despite its complexity, talking points, and nuances, I am left a little cold by a case that I respect more than I like.
The movement in the Chronoswiss Flying Grand Regulator Skeleton watch is dubbed the C. 677S, which is a modified ETA 6498. It is manual-winding, has 17 jewels, an 18,000vph (2.5Hz) operating speed, and 46 hours of power reserve. Chronoswiss has added a swan-neck regulator and skeletonized a bunch of components, including gear train wheels and bridges. As a result, the C. 677S looks decidedly different from its parent movement. Through the skeletonized baseplate, I can see a screw balance wheel that suggests the top grade of 6498 was used, to begin with, which is pleasing to see.
Wisely, the Chronoswiss Flying Grand Regulator Skeleton watch is only being made 30 times. This means that, should you buy it, you’re unlikely to run into anyone else with the same watch on their wrist. That kind of exclusivity is a huge lure for any divisive piece of this nature. Although the the brand doesn’t speak to me personally, I do see what they are doing and have to admit that they are doing it well. The Chronoswiss Flying Grand Regulator Skeleton watch is my favorite piece I’ve seen from the brand, and with a price of CHF 8,700/€8,560, I am sure all 30 pieces will find homes soon enough. Visit chronoswiss.com to learn more.