In the early 2000s, one of the most interesting watch companies to keep your eye on is one that’s fallen somewhat out of sight in recent years. Chronoswiss was an early leader in the post-quartz mechanical renaissance – the company was founded in 1983 by Gerd-Rüdiger Lang, who began as a watchmaker at Heuer, and who left before the company was purchased by Techniques d’Avant-Garde and became TAG Heuer. Chronoswiss, which was originally headquartered in Munich, had as its stock in trade the use of new-old-stock movements from Marvin, and also Enicar, both once very well-known makers of midrange watches. Enicar produced the famous “Sherpa” series of timepieces as well, but both companies are long gone, victims of the Quartz Crisis, and successive rounds of consolidation of the Swiss watchmaking industry. Enicar SA, like Marvin, was also a movement maker, and the Chronoswiss caliber 122 is derived from the Enicar 165 automatic movement.
The company was a big hit among enthusiasts in its time, but as the watch industry continued to grow, and to be dominated by conglomerates like LVMH, the Richemont Group, and the Swatch Group, Chronoswiss struggled to be heard, and in 2012, the company was purchased by the Swiss couple, Oliver and Eva Ebstein, who moved the company’s headquarters to Switzerland, and who hope in some measure to return the company to its glory days, by reviving old favorites as well as creating new, more modern designs.
One of the most historically resonant of all the current Chronoswiss watches is the Regulator Manufacture. In addition to his fascination with chronographs – Lang’s personal collection of chronographs number close to a thousand, and he’s the author, along with Reinhard Meis (also author Das Tourbillon) of the must-have Chronograph Wristwatches: To Stop Time – Lang was also interested in the regulator-style display of the time, in which a large central minute hand dominates the dial, with the hours and running seconds in smaller sub-registers. In 1988, Chronoswiss introduced their Régulateur, with a modified Enicar 165 movement dubbed the caliber 122, and it was when it launched the very first wristwatch with a regulator style dial to be produced in series . Since then, hundreds of watches with such dials have been introduced by brands, but if you were there in the late ’90s when …read more