Chronoswiss is a relatively young company, founded by Gerd R. Lang in 1983. The factory is located in Munich/Germany, but since the watchcomponents are manufactured in Switzerland the company is entitled to use 'Swiss Made' on the dial. Because of the extensive information on Chronoswiss and its history and philosophy on the official Chronoswiss website, I recommend you to visit www.chronoswiss.com.
The Chronoswiss Régulateur (model reviewed : CH1223 from 1992/1993) was introduced by Chronoswiss in 1987. It had a handwound movement and a limited productionrun. These watches are quite hard to find these days, and once in a while you can find one at eBay (I saw two of these watches at the German eBay site). In 1990 Chronoswiss decided to use an automatic movement in their Régulateur watches.
This movement is known as C.122 and uses an Enicar 165 as a basemovement. The picture below (a bit blurry due reflections) shows the automatic movement. It [the rotor] only winds in one direction and has the GRL initials engraved. The movement is nicely finished and performs very well. A deviation of +2 seconds a day was measured on professional measuring equipment. Specifications on the movement (source : Armband Uhren Katalog 2002) are :
Powerreserve of 40 hours
The dial and hands
The dial is silvered and seems to be white from some angles. The logo and hourmarkers are printed on the dial, no metal applied logo's or anything. Quite simple, though very classy and tastefull. The blued hands give a great contrast with the dial, as well as the leather strap. The dial really 'shows'. The blued hands are very nice and the tip of the minute hand reaches exactly the outerline of the minutemarkers. Same goes for the small seconds hand. All information about the watch can be found on the dial, even the calibre number (C.122). Sorry that the pictures aren't detailed enough to show you the marvelous blue hands.
The case of the watch is very nicely crafted and looks (according to some people) like a can of tuna fish. It measures 38mm in diameter and The bezel has been carved which makes it look very stylish. I have read somewhere that it is also easier to get grip on the case to open it at the dial side. The side of the case has a brushed finish which, as well as the sides of the lugs. It uses a a screwed pin to attach a leather strap or stainless steel bracelet.
As you can see, the caseback is screwed. The caseback has a mineral crystal, so it can get some scratches. The newer Régulateur models have saphire crystal. Mine has some small scratches in it, maybe I will replace the crystal with a saphire crystal in the future.
Between the lugs (on both sides of the watch) you will see some engravings. One side contains the reference number of the watch, the other side the production/serial number. I don't have a referencelist for serial numbers, so I can't help you out if you don't know the productiondate of your watch.
The strap and clasp
The Régulateur comes with a croco strap (the copper dial version comes with an ostrich strap) and a normal GRL signed buckle. My watchdealer (and official Chronoswiss dealer) in The Hague had some Chronoswiss deployant clasps in stock, so I bought one. Attaching it to the strap wasn't easy and couldn't be done by myself, you need a special tool for this (officially, there are 'other' ways). A deployant clasp isn't suitable for people with (very) small wrists though!
The strap is very comfortable and suits the watch! It is quite thick and 'filled' which is perfect for the (relatively) big case. Straps are made by Cornelius Kaufmann in Germany. I assume as a special order.
Chronoswiss ships their watches in a nice wooden box with a green interior. The outer carton box is green as well. The warranty papers are signed with the famous green ink by Gerd R. Lang himself. The booklets are a bit 'minimal', however, the green book called 'Zeitzeichen - Das Buch mit dem Tick' (German) or 'Sign of the Times: A Timely Book' (English) tells it all. So make sure you have that book when you order a watch (also when you don't order one, it is free of charge and very much worth the trouble of sending them an e-mail).
Since I got this watch, it got a lot of wristtime. Maybe even more than my holy Omega Speedmaster Professional with cal.321 got. It is definately a dress watch, which can be worn as 'casual' as well. I never got so much comments on a watch before. Also by people who don't know anything about watches. It is probably the dial which stands out, with the regulateur lay-out.
The Chronoswiss annual productionnumbers are just above 5000 (according to WatchTime magazine) and that is less than some limited edition watch-productionnumbers from other brands, so you will be assured of a 'exclusive' watch for a decent price. Prices are, compared to similar other watchbrands, very fair. In my opinion, Chronoswiss certainly is not below Omega, Breitling or IWC in terms of finish and quality. Chronoswiss aims at people who have an eye for details and tradition, rather than aiming on sportsactivities or advertize with famous people. Their advertizements put the founder of the company in the spotlight where he does his short 'rambling' about his watches. Quite an interesting marketing strategy if you ask me, and it seems to work as well.
When I just got this watch, I couldn't imagine why anyone would want to own more than one Chronoswiss watch, because they all look the same. Now, a few months (and thus wristtime) later, I can.
official Chronoswiss website : http://www.chronoswiss.com