Chronoswiss has built much of its reputation on its ability to conceive and execute numerous clever variations on the classical regulator dial — this year’s ReSec models being possibly the most prominent recent additions to the collection — and one of the most eye-catching spins on this classical arrangement can be found in the Flying Regulator Night and Day model, which adds an attractive and quite practical day-night indicator to the regulator ensemble, which already included the distinctive funneled subdials as well as a curved triple-date aperture at 3 o’clock. I had a chance to spend some time with the most elegant version of the model, which matches a black dial with a 18k rose-gold case.
One would expect such an arrangement to be somewhat busy — especially considering the dial’s other standout elements, such as the four “anchors” with their visible screws, and the open aperture inside the seconds subdial that peers into the movement — and one would be right. Those who already confess to having trouble reading the time on a regulator dial are going to have an even more difficult time here. If you are like me, however, who admires the style and has long since become accustomed to intuitively reading regulators, this watch makes a very attractive and elegant companion. (Incidentally, the judging committee for Germany’s prestigious Red Dot Design Awards agreed, naming the model among its winners in the timepieces category for 2019.)
The 41-mm case is composed of 16 separate parts and made of rose gold, with polished finishing on the bezel and the upper surface of the pointedly curving lugs. The heads of the screws that anchor those lugs to the leather strap are also polished. The case middle and the caseback, which frames a sapphire window, are satin-brushed. A hallmark of Chronoswiss models past can be found on the edges of the front and back bezel, which have a coin-edge, knurled texture that is both a distinctive visual element and a tactile delight. Another typical Chronoswiss touch is the large, onion crown, which protrudes from the side and is easy to grasp and turn. At a reasonable 13.85 mm in height, the case maintains a relatively svelte (if not ultra-thin) profile.
Rose gold with black is always a very elegant look, and the galvanic black dial features gilded elements that echo the gleaming case nicely. The central minutes hand and the hours hand on the 12 o’clock subdial, both feuille-shaped, are gold-plated with Super-LumiNova inlays in their center. The tip of the minutes hand sweeps precisely over the white-printed scale on the dial’s periphery. The seconds hand, on the partially skeletonized 6 o’clock subdial, is also gold, though not luminous. This small hand can, of course, get lost amidst the gears of the seconds wheel that we glimpse through the subdial. So while it is easy to read the current time in the dark (provided you’re one of those folks for whom reading the time on a regulator is easy), it is not so simple to discern at a glance if the watch is running.
The subdials are all funnel-shaped, a modern hallmark of Chronoswiss’s regulator dials which adds to their impressivem multi-level 3D look. The other golden elements are the screwed anchor pieces positioned at the corners of the central figure-eight design, which presumably serve to stabilize the dial’s layers. They don’t add much to the legibility but they do serve as a visual reminder of the complexity that is built into every major element of the Flying Regulator, from case to dial to movement. At 9 o’clock is the standout feature that gives the model its name: a day-night indicator represented by an orb-shaped, blued titanium disk that rotates in sync with the hands and the date display. During daylight hours the disk will display a blue field; as nighttime hours approach, a black field with golden stars begins to fill the semicircular aperture above the indication “Night & Day” in a lilting, cursive font. At first glance, this indicator appears to be a moon-phase display but it is arguably more useful from an everyday standpoint, especially when setting the watch, as the wearer can determine AM from PM at a glance. The stars in the night sky are laser-cut and treated with luminous material, further demonstrating this Lucerne-based watchmaker’s commitment to the finest of details.
The satin-finished caseback, attached by screws, offers a view of the Flying Regulator’s inner workings through a sapphire window. The movement inside, Chronoswiss’s self-winding Caliber C. 296, is powered by a large central rotor on ball bearings, made of rose gold and skeletonized in Chronoswiss’s distinctive style. The movement uses an ETA 2895 as its base, but incorporates an in-house-developed module that governs the regulator displays as well as the day-night indicator. Behind the rotor we can see the perlage-decorated mainplate and bridges and a glimpse of the balance wheel, oscillating at 28,800 vph. The pallet lever, escape wheel, and screws are all polished. For those interested more in the tech details than the aesthetics, the caliber features 27 jewels, a three-legged Glucydur balance, a Nivarox balance spring, and Incabloc shock protection. Fully wound by the bulbous, fluted crown, it stores a power reserve of 42 hours, aka almost two full rotations of the day-night disk.
Gold-colored contrast stitching enlivens the shiny black Louisiana alligator strap, continuing the gilded-black color scheme. The closure is a simple and elegant pin buckle in rose gold, with a polished surface and an engraved Chronoswiss emblem. The Flying Grand Regulator Night and Day is not what most would call a casual-wear watch, especially in this gold iteration; it is definitely more at home with a dressier ensemble, especially one that incorporates a lot of black. That said, the watch is quite comfortable on the wrist and not overly heavy despite the gold case, and its unusual and complicated design is sure to make it a conversation piece at any social event where it worn — either day or night. The 18k rose-gold version of the watch reviewed here is priced at $16,500.