I won’t lie. One major reason I wanted to review this Chronoswiss Flying Regulator Open Gear watch is that it is entirely purple. Chronoswiss watches were not always this colorful, though, arguably, the DNA for vivid designs like this has been part of the Chronoswiss spirit for a while now. These colored cases began to appear around 2019 with the Chronoswiss Flying Grand Regulator Open Gear RecSec “Blue Note” watch that combined an all-blue dial with a blue PVD-coated case. It was a risky move, but it did allow the company to create yet another version of a model that had existing tooling. That goes a long way in the decision-making process at pretty much any watchmaker, big or small. The Chronoswiss Blue Note was a success, and more limited-edition blue watches came after it. It was more or less inevitable that purple would be the color focus, eventually.
I’ve been writing about purple for a while, arguing that it’s the next underdog color for men’s watches. Not all men will be into wearing purple, and there are very few colors that work for all people. I think what is important to mention about purple is that it can be quite masculine, but it is still less common for men to wear a lot of purple today, and for that reason, making a purple men’s watch is not exactly the obvious choice at many brands. For a few years, purple has been a truly niche color, but I believe it will grow in popularity. One interesting question that result from this: What solid/durable materials can be made purple? Ceramic? Probably, although I’ve not seen it yet. You could tint synthetic sapphire crystal (as Hublot had one), but that would be extremely expensive for all but high-luxury products. You might be able to get a deep purple when mixing pigment with carbon, so that is an option. You could anodize aluminum, and you could also coat steel. Purple is on the spectrum of colors you can electroplate to steel, which includes blues, golds, steel tones, and purples. A purple color can also be achieved through heat treatment just like flame blueing. When you heat metals such as titanium or steel, they turn purple prior to turning blue. So, if you time it correctly, you can flame purple steel, though the risk is some blotchiness.
Look closely at the case of the Chronoswiss Flying Regulator Open Gear Purple Haze, and you’ll see that it is not easy to get a uniform purple color, even using this relatively evenly-applied CVD (chemical vapor deposition) process. The 41mm wide steel case is made purple by being put into a chamber and undergoing a process similar to PVD, but using a different method to attach material and change the surface of the base steel material. Suppliers have come a bit further with blue, but I think they will catch up when it comes to purple. I just think this discussion is interesting because it is not simply a matter of a brand deciding they want to produce a watch in a new color. If you want to make a watch with a purple case, then you first need to study what industrial options there are out there, and what the pluses and minuses are for those options when it comes to watch cases. Chronoswiss is one of the few brands to take early risks and come out with an all-purple watch with a CVD case. Even Hublot’s most recent (and more expensive) purple watch was produced from mainly anodized aluminum.
Aside from being CVD-coated purple in color, the Flying Regulator Open Gear steel watch case is 41mm wide, 13.85mm thick, and has a 50mm long lug-to-lug distance. There is a slightly domed sapphire crystal over the dial as well as a sapphire crystal on the caseback with a view of the movement. The case is also water resistant to 100 meters and uses slightly odd-sized 21mm wide straps. In fact, the odd size of the strap may be why this limited-edition watch’s only non-purple part is the black leather and textile strap. That said, at this price point, I almost expect Chronoswiss to have been able to get some purple straps custom-made.
The name of the watch comes from the dial design, which is all based on Chronoswiss’ emphasis on the regulator-style dial display. These watch faces have separate subdials for the hours and seconds, with the main dial typically being used for the minutes. Chronoswiss varies this theme considerably across its various product lines. The Flying Regulator OpenGear is about creating more visual depth to the dial along with a small view of the gearwork through the subsidiary seconds dial. The hour hand is moved via some exposed gearwork. You can tell that the time display system is part of a module. It is built on top of a base Swiss Made ETA 2985 automatic movement (which is the ideal base, as it already has a subsidiary second dial), which Chronoswiss calls its Caliber C.299 automatic. It operates at 4Hz and has 42 hours of power reserve. The movement is one of the higher grades sold by ETA, which includes the blued screws and polishing decoration on the plates and bridges.
The base dial has a guilloché-engraved pattern and is given a rich purple tone thanks to more CVD coating. Unlike some of the blue watches Chronoswiss has done, you can see that with the Purple Haze, there is still a lot of hesitation to go full, full purple. More of the dial could be made purple, with purple luminant, and other markers (just using different shades of purple). But this is pretty good for a still purple-shy world. Note that Chronoswiss paired the strap with a CVD-coated purple steel deployant clasp, which is a fun detail.
There is a lot of novelty in wearing this classic style of enthusiast timepiece in the bold royal purple hue. I think with the right conservative or otherwise not-showy design, purple as a case material has a lot of merit. A watch like the Chronoswiss brand’s Purple Haze is evidence for this claim. Limited to 50 pieces (the limited-edition number of the watch is actually printed on the dial), the Chronoswiss Flying Regulator Open Gear Purple Haze reference CH-8758.1-PUBK watch is 12,000 Swiss Francs. Learn more at the Chronoswiss watches website.
>Model: Flying Regulator Open Gear Purple Haze reference CH-8758.1-PUBK
>Price: 12,000 Swiss Francs
>Size: 41mm wide, 50mm lug-to-lug distance, 13.85mm thick
>When reviewer would personally wear it: When a bit of personality (and purple hue) are in order in social or formal occasions.
>Friend we’d recommend it to first: Someone who likes classic aviator-style watches, some mechanical flair, and the color purple.
>Best characteristic of watch: Wonderfully bold purple wearing experience that isn’t flamboyant due to the overall personality of the Flying Regulator Open Gear. Comfortable to wear. Legible dial.
>Worst characteristic of watch: Purple can be a bit blotchy in some areas as a natural effect of the application process (though that isn’t a deal breaker, in my opinion). Possibly not purple enough, as the strap and other dial elements could have also been purple. Limited-edition number is not necessary to indicate on the dial. A bit expensive.