Gentlemen, start your engines! This phrase rang out numerous times in various European countries and cities this summer. And when you heard it, you could be sure that a classic car race was taking place. This phrase, which has already become a classic itself, also announced the beginning of the Kitzbüheler Alpenrallye.
This is one of the most spectacular classic car events in the Alps that draws in classic car enthusiasts from around the world every year. The breath-taking Alpine scenery is a feast for the eyes but also a true challenge for the participants and their cars, but most of them manage to handle it just fine. The route takes three days and covers 500 kilometres of stunning mountain roads in Tyrol and Salzburg. The rally begins and ends in Kitzbühel, which is also where the colourful rally car parade and the victory ceremony for the two categories take place.
The “Sport-Trophy”, for more ambitious rallye enthusiasts, the second one being the “Classic-Trophy” for drivers that like to go at a slower pace. In order to be allowed to participate, your car must have been built before 1972. More than 200 cars participated in this year’s rally – Lamborghinis, Bentleys, Ferraris, Rolls-Royces, Porsches, Jaguars and many other legendary marques, as well as some very rare car brands that only enthusiasts are familiar with, such as Facel Vega, Arnolt and Iso Rivolta.
Without a doubt, the Kitzbüheler Alpenrallye is one of the most wonderful classic car events in Europe – a rally with style and elegance and a true experience for all enthusiasts. And it is not only the beautiful surroundings that create this environment and mood – the sponsors contribute as well. Chronoswiss has been among the rally sponsors for three years now. Even though this brand is quite a bit younger than the rally cars there, the Swiss watch manufacturer based in Lucerne is dedicated to continuing and nurturing the traditions of classic horology. Just as the rally participants foster old values with their cars, Chronoswiss is also one of the few watch brands that has traditionally used exclusively mechanical movements in its watches from the very beginning.
Especially for the Alpenrallye, Chronoswiss designed the Flying Regulator Night and Day Kitzbühel Edition, a watch with non-coaxial hour and minute hands. Timepieces with hour and minute hands on separate axes are called “regulators”, and are a true horology classic that are a rare find these days. In this age of electronic devices and mass production, regulator watches may seem like a real anachronism, but they do stand out for their unique style. Another feature of these watches is that the minute hand is dominant, usually placed on the central axis. This shows that to the owner of the watch, minutes are more important than hours. In addition, their dials may be asymmetrical.
According to historical sources, the term “regulator” was used for the first time in the mid-18th century. It was this principle of timekeeping that John Harrison, inventor of the marine chronometer, used for his first marine chronometer, the H1, in 1735. Others followed his example. The marine chronometer was one of the key navigational devices. For example, John Shelton manufactured a regulator clock that would be used during Captain Cook’s second and third voyages aboard the Discovery. During his third voyage, the captain also used Larcum Kendall’s regulator marine chronometer.
These days, when designers and engineers are taking ergonomics to unseen heights in modelling new products and making use of the latest technology, we are more and more riveted by design classics. From the perspective of the present-day driver, a lot of classic cars are terribly impractical and inconvenient. But that is the secret to their magic – that is precisely where the bulk of their charm lies. The same can be said of regulator watches. If we look critically, they really aren’t that practical, but their design is very original. And they look downright amazing.
Flying Regulator Night and Day – Kitzbühel Edition
Stainless steel, dial in British Racing Green. Off-centre hours at 12:00, central minutes, small seconds at 6:00, date window at 3:00, 3-D day/night display at 9:00. Solid 16-piece, stainless steel case, non-reflecting sapphire crystal, onion crown, water resistance up to 10 bar. Individual number of limitation engraved on side of case. Ø 41 mm, Chronoswiss caliber C. 296, automatic, with stop seconds. Frequency 4 Hz., 28‘800 A/h (semi-oscillations). Power reserve approx. 42 hours. Rally-strap, leather with green stitchings, hand-sewn.