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Watch trends 2019: Regulators


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July 2019

Watch trends 2019: Regulators

Well before the atomic clock, the “mother” of all clocks – the reference for time, as a yardstick was for yards – was the regulator.


or a long time the most accurate mechanical instrument in existence, the regulator is characterised by the separation of the hours, minutes and seconds displays. Each dial has its own space, but all work together synchronously to deliver the most accurate reading of time possible.

Regulators vanished from watchmaking workshops and observatories a long time ago, but their precision display lives on in wristwatch form.


Six separate indicators, all in white, offer exemplary clarity against the two-tone silver-grey dial of the Regulator. The minute indicator, with its long central hand, predominates; the small hours dial is at 12 o’clock, and the seconds dial is at 6 o’clock. The day aperture sits at half past ten, the date at half past one and the month at 6 o’clock. Three correctors on the left side of the case let you adjust the day, date and month – an operation that has to be done just once a year, at the end of February, annual calendar (patented by Patek) oblige.

Regulators vanished from watchmaking workshops and observatories a long time ago, but their precision display, readable at first glance (after a couple of minutes of getting used to it), lives on in wristwatch form. With its Annual Calendar Regulator, Patek Philippe is offering a form of quintessence. The visibly technical nature of the regulator display, carefully laid out for accurate reading, is softened by the rose gold and anthracite colours of its exterior and by its meticulous detailing.

Price: USD 51,380

Watch trends 2019: Regulators


This is what’s called getting down to the nitty gritty of the regulator, paring the display down to the absolute essentials: the minutes on a 60/15/30/45 scale marked by fine indices, a small hour subdial immediately recognisable by its XII/III/IX Roman numerals, and a small seconds dial with a railway-track scale.

This is what’s called getting down to the nitty gritty of the regulator.

Watch trends 2019: Regulators

This Excellence Regulator, superbly designed by Eric Giroud, also marks the start of a new strategy for Louis Erard, aimed at moving into the higher end of the market. It is not the brand’s first regulator by any means, because this kind of display is one of its greatest successes. Nevertheless, this one, which aspires to excellence, is produced exclusively in three series limited to 70 pieces each, and heralds a new chapter in the history of this independent brand.

Price: Steel case CHF 2,700 / Black PVD CHF 2,800


Chronoswiss produced its first regulator-type display all of 30 years ago. But this new Regulator Night and Day takes it into the third dimension, with a multi-level dial and the addition of a day/night hemisphere at 9 o’clock (with Super-LumiNova stars) and a three-day date at 3 o’clock.

Here, Chronoswiss is seeking to express less the essential purity of the regulator-type display than its potential expressiveness. Chronometric legibility takes second place to the horological “show”. Winner of a 2019 Reddot Award in the Product Design category.

Watch trends 2019: Regulators

Price: CHF 16,500


The Vintago from Meistersinger is not, strictly speaking, a regulator. It might even be just the opposite: with its singlehand watches, the company based in Münster (Germany) addresses, so it says, “people who don’t need to worry about minor details or seconds, but want to keep track of longer periods of time”. This steel watch with its no-frills, counter-like typography, the dial perforated by a parenthesis-shaped date subdial showing 5 days, does exactly that. It is driven by a Sellita SW200-1 automatic movement, which is visible through the caseback.

Watch trends 2019: Regulators

Price: CHF 2,100