Same, same, same. For 30 years Italian watchmaker Carlo Ferrara worked in his father’s watch repair shop and each day he was presented with watches which, while offering some design variations, looked and performed basically the same. He longed to do something about it; he wanted to create a watch according to his own creative vision that move away from a centrally located set of hands smoothly ticking the hours away. And in 1991 he decided to do just that.
It’s fair to say that if you are looking for a watchmaker with a broad diversity of designs that roll off the production line with G-Shock rapidity, and with production runs in the millions, Carlo Ferrara may not be your man. Quite unlike any other high quality watches being produced in Italy, or anywhere else for that matter, his pieces essentially conform to one clever idea, that of the Dancing Regulator, and the watches come slowly but surely, carefully and lovingly hand finished in Italy in very limited production runs.
In his workshop Carlo Ferrara makes modifications to fine Swiss mechanical movements. The “Dancing” Regulator got its name thanks to the unusual movement of the hands. When you watch them in action plying their preset course on vertical grooves cut into the dial, it’s almost as if the hour and minute hands are performing a slow dance as they go about their business of telling the time. The hands move up and down in slots in the dial, When they reach the top or the bottom of the dial they turn 180 degrees at the bottom and top of their travel. The action is almost as if the hands are dancing a jig.
The watch featured here is from the website of Mr. Derek Dier called WatchestoBuy.com. Derek knows a thing or two about vintage watches, and if your eyes are jaded by post-SIHH and pre-Baselworld horological magnificence, it’s always extremely refreshing and enlightening to visit his site and gaze upon some of the beautiful watches of yesteryear. Followers of smash hit AMC show Mad Men will know that Derek is the man who supplies the show with all the 60s and 70s timepieces, and how incredibly cool they are.
This Dancing Regulator is a sporty model in a round case. So sporty in fact that in a lightbulb moment Mr. Ferrara called it the Carlo Ferrara sport model. Like other Regulators from Carlo Ferrara, the hands literally dance in opposite directions from one another. The eggshell toned black dial provides plenty of vintage appeal to the watch with its chunky blue steeled hands.
The watch runs on a reliable ETA 2892A2 movement, otherwise known as a CF 120 by the time Carlo has modified it. This movement will no doubt become increasingly hard to get hold of as ETA continues to decrease its supply of movements to any manufacturer save those within the Swatch Group. But hopefully Mr. Ferrara will find a movement that will keep the regulator dancing. For the meantime, it can be viewed and enjoyed through the sapphire case back. Like other Regulator watches from Carlo Ferrara, the sport model features the date at 6 0’clock.
The 39.5mm watch is splash proof, with a water resistance of 50 metres. The watch’s highly polished stainless steel bracelet has a luxurious heft to the brick links and features a hidden deployment clasp bracelet.
Carlo Ferrara watches tend to sell from between $3500 to $10,000 depending on rarity. It’s hard to know the exact status of Mr. Ferrara because his website address leads to a page that says the site does not exist. If anyone knows of his whereabouts, please do let us know.