30 years have passed since the founding of Chronoswiss. 25 years have passed since the first Chronoswiss Régulateur was unveiled and 16 months have passed since Chronoswiss was sold, leaving its creator in the role of "Consultant". For 2013 a new celebratory piece, the Régulateur 30 was presented to the industry, but first allow me to acquaint you with Gerd-R Lang, founding father of Chronoswiss and vanguard of the industry.
Gerd-R Lang founded his watchmaking workshop in 1981, concentrating firstly on his preferred genre at that time - the development of chronograph movements. This was a familiar starting point for this particular watchmaker's new independent enterprise because on serving his apprenticeship he had found employment with the Heuer watch company where he served from 1964 working on the famous Heuer sports chronographs and stopwatches. This position had a few perks too, as in 1970 he found himself involved on behalf of Heuer with Steve McQueen in the classic ‘Le Mans’ movie – the iconic actor having a long-standing affair with the company’s Monaco chronograph watch, Gerd also shared McQueen’s passion for motor racing and his passion for all things mechanical would was to become his company slogan: “Faszination der Mechanik”.
Following the death of its Patron, the Heuer brand had struggled for some years, and it was this period of instability (ultimately culminating in the takeover by Technologies d’Avant-Garde later in 1984) which triggered G-R Langs’ departure, taking with him in lieu of severance a stock of Heuer chronograph movements.
To embark on such a project at a time when the industry was engulfed by quartz technology required commitment and ingenuity. Mr. Lang had both, and within a few years his unique hand assembled timepieces had caught the eye of enthusiasts and collectors alike.
His portfolio featured a broad selection of styles and functions ranging from Chronographs and Rattrapante, the Chronoscope, the Delphis (featuring retrograde minutes and digital hour display), through to remarkable pieces like the Digiteur (above), which combines the analogue movement with a non-analogue display, the stunning Régulateur Tourbillon and Répétition á quarts timepieces, and the fabulous Chronoswiss Sauterelle (Grasshopper!) models, complete with that famous quartz movement signature – jumping seconds – even though the movement is wholly mechanical.
Having moved into a new purpose-built facility in Karlsfeld, Munich in 2006 the long term future for Chronoswiss appeared to be extremely positive, but it was with great sadness that we reported the news in January 2012 that the company had been sold. New CEO Oliver Ebstein is described as a "passionate connoisseur" of watches, and as a man who is respectful of Mr. Lang's achievements - but, perhaps most reassuring is the fact that this unique watchmaking company will continue trading as an independent family-owned business and not one which is part of a luxury goods conglomerate.
The unveiling of a new Régulateur in celebration of the company's anniversary is entirely appropriate because when it was unveiled in 1987, it showcased the design direction which would become the company signature. Here for the first time was the milled bezel, the oversize ‘onion’ crown, the exhibition caseback and soldered lugs which would become synonymous with the brand. The piece had the distinction of being another ‘world’s first’ in that it was the first presentation of such a timepiece, with hours and minutes displayed separately, in wristwatch form - and it was quite simply stunning.
The highly decorative face of the new Régulateur 30 features a duo of guilloché techniques, the symmetry of "chess board" finishing on the inner subdials and the more diminutive intricacy of a barleycorn pattern on the surrounding area. These contrast with the plainness of the subdial rims and that superb digital jumping hours aperture at 12 o'clock. The milled bezel and the outsize crown conform to the elaborateness and provide their own contrast to those proud outstretched lugs.
Two editions of the Chronoswiss Régulateur 30 will be available - rose gold case limited to 130 pieces, and stainless steel case limited to 200 pieces, each 40mm across and each powered by the Chronoswiss automatic C283 Calibre.
More details can be found at Chronoswiss here.