The Carlo Ferrara Regulator

By Michael Disher



I’ve spent some time recently with Italian watchmaker Carlo Ferrara’s Regulator. This Swiss-made timepiece is of interest due to its unusual display. This watch lists at $2900 in steel and $6900 in gold.

The Time Display

The “Dancing” Regulator, as it is sometimes called, got this name from the movement of the hands. The hour and minute hands appear to do a slow dance as they mark the time. These two hands move up and down in slots in the dial, spinning 180 degrees at the bottom and top of their travel. In the image above, the watch shows 2:52:33.

The Dial and Hands

The Regulator’s hour and minute hand registers are sunk very slightly and smooth, as is the outer seconds register. The remainder of the dial has a waffle-style texture. All dial printing is crisply stenciled, and the dial has a matte finish. Neither the dial nor the hands contain any luminescent material, so nighttime reading is not possible.

The skeletonized hands are blued steel, and mounted near the center so they may spin as they journey around their separate paths.

The date display is at 6, and it is recessed about 2 mm behind the dial. The date remains legible, however, except in poor light.

The Case and Crystal

The model reviewed has a polished stainless steel case measuring 39 mm in diameter not including the crown, and 11 mm thick. The case is well finished, with the exception of some minor evidence of milling remaining on the bottoms of the lugs.

The crystal and display back are flat sapphire with no anti-reflective coating. I feel the crown could be a bit larger, given the amount of resistance encountered when hand winding. The crown bears the Carlo Ferrara logo.

The Movement

The Regulator movement is a modified ETA 2892-A2. The rotor is decorated with perlage and has gilded engraving. The visible surfaces of the plates are decorated with perlage and collimacconage. The movement incorporates an Etachron fine regulation mechanism, three-spoke Glucydur balance wheel, Nivarox 1 balance spring and Incabloc shock protection. The seconds hack, and the date is quick setting. Under the microscope, the movement appears to be finished as well as other watches I have seen with this base movement in this price range.

During a 3 day test, the Regulator proved an accurate timekeeper, losing 2 seconds per day.

The Strap and Buckle

The model reviewed here came with a signed glossy black croco strap and a stainless steel tang buckle. The 20 mm strap is held in place with a functional screw-down bar, rather than the standard spring bar.


The Regulator comes in an attractive leather-lined wood box.

Other Versions

The Regulator is available in steel or 18k yellow gold. Dials come in white, black, grey or solid silver, with arabic or roman numerals. The strap choices are brown or black crocodile.


© 2000 Michael J. Disher