Introducing another special piece that I’m lucky enough to review for you today; Benzinger Regulator hand-finished by the man behind the brand, Jochen Benzinger.
Jochen, by his own admission, is an old fashioned man and the practices used in the creation of his watches are a nod to that. His watches tell stories from another time of a craft practiced by hand, something that is becoming increasingly rarer in the mainstream watch world. His watches and movements are engraved, skeletonised, and guillochéd by hand and that sets them apart from the generic watches we are so used to seeing nowadays.
But first, a question most people would ask, what is a regulator? Without getting too complex they are characterised by the fact that the display of hour, minute and second hands are divided into three different sectors of the dial which creates an unusual display at first glance and one that takes a bit of time to get used to. But after a short while reading the time becomes easy and doesn’t take a second thought.
The high-grade stainless steel 42mm case is made in Pforzheim and is at the upper limits of a watch I’m comfortable wearing. It is a deep black PVD coated case with a matte finish and vertical brushing only broken by the beautiful black onion crown and a smooth screwed in bezel. The case smoothly transitions into nicely sized lugs that have a polished finish on top and a matte side finish. Rather unusually though the lugs feature screws, screws that keep the strap in place, meaning you are stuck with the factory strap.
The unsigned onion crown is nicely sized and very easy to wind, it’s nicely proportioned in comparison to the case.
I’m struggling to even know where to begin with this, the dial is a true masterpiece. One that Jochen spent hours upon hours perfecting and his expertise is really shown here. The base of the dial is coated with blue Galvano lacquer and features an amazing hand guillochéd pattern that I’m struggling to do justice to with my pictures. The incredible pattern almost looks like a peacock showing off to the crowds at the zoo, spreading her feathers in a show of importance. The guilloché starts in the centre of the seconds display and fans out wonderfully to the edge of the dial uninterrupted by the other parts of the regulator design.
The top layer of the dial is black PVD coated to match the case and finished in a ribbon guilloché style, a more subtle finish than the lower part of the dial but it is every bit as beautiful as it. At the 6 o’clock position you have the seconds dial, featuring a nice Breguet style stainless steel hand that sweeps around effortlessly. About 3/4s of the way up the dial and you have the large minute dial that overlays the hour dial and is complimented by a large stainless steel hand. Finally, just above that at the 12 o’clock position you have the hour dial and for me the star here, there’s just something about the large numerals circling the dial that pleases me greatly, again, complimented with a large stainless steel hand.
It is well known in the watch community that 10:10 is the ideal time to have your watch set to for pictures and this is absolutely true in the case with this watch. When it’s set to that time the 3 sets of hands look perfectly balanced, but there are times when the hands sort of run into each other and the dial looks confused and cluttered.
Turning the watch over reveals another hand-finished masterpiece. It’s a hand-winding ETA-6498 that would be very basic in its original format but Benzinger have produced an in-house regulator redesign on this movement.
They have skeletonised the whole movement and guillochéd parts by hand, featuring rhodium plated screw balance that has a beautifully intricate design and the movement also features the oh so beautiful flame-blued screws.
The skeletonising of the movement allows for incredible depth and allows you to see right into the inner workings of this movement in so many levels. My words can never do this amount of expertise and work justice so I just hope that my photos do.
This is the most disappointing part for me, due to the clasp system and how it sat on my wrist I simply couldn’t wear this watch for longer than 30 minutes at a time.
I was desperate to change the strap to enjoy this watch but I couldn’t do that. The strap is a beautiful supple blue leather that matches the case and dial perfectly and features an excellently manufactured safety clasp that featured on the Carl Suchy watch I recently reviewed.
The clasp is a deep dark black and is wonderfully smooth and features the Benzinger logo etched into it but when it was on my wrist and closed over it dug into the sides on my wrist so I couldn’t enjoy it like I wanted to.
The work, passion and love that has gone into producing this watch is something to admire. A true masterpiece, and an absolute joy to look at and photograph but the clasp left a sour taste in my mouth and meant I couldn’t fully enjoy this watch. But I’m just one person, it may well be different for you and your wrists.
For more information and to have a look at all the models offered by Benzinger visit their official website here.