The Carl F. Bucherer Heritage Chronometer Celebration, understated excellence

Sometimes, it’s about keeping it simple. As the gaze of the masses turns toward Monaco and the eye-popping carnival of color that is Only Watch 2023, Carl F. Bucherer sneaks in a classy and understated release in the form of the Heritage Chronometer Celebration watches.

Anyone taking their first steps in the world of watchmaking is effectively a blank canvas. Yes, each individual will arrive at the threshold of our universe with a different level of exposure and forethought, but, frankly, most are empty vessels, just waiting to be filled with the wonder of our world.

And then that happens: complications appear on the radar, artisanal handcrafts, long-forgotten techniques brought back to life, ever-wilder and more exotic materials, collaborations that make perfect or perfectly no sense at all start to fill the mind of the young enthusiast and one’s cup runneth over…

Years down the line, the nonsense is stripped away by experience. We revert to a timeless median. There is a reason many men chose to buy their first gold watch at 40 years old. It isn’t just a milestone in life; it’s a milestone in this game. It, roughly, represents a point of maturity in attitudes to life but also collecting. It’s at this point — let’s call it the “Golden line” — that the truth is illuminated clearly: what we were searching for all along was class. What we were searching for, was something like the Carl F. Bucherer Heritage Chronometer Celebration watches.

Carl F. Bucherer Heritage Chronometer Celebration
Carl F. Bucherer Heritage Chronometer Celebration

The Low-Down

These four references, two in 18-karat rose gold and two in stainless steel, are directly inspired by a popular model from the CFB lineup in the 1960s. The parallels are clear. This is one of the most period-correct re-editions one could hope for, and it must be said that Carl F. Bucherer’s execution here looks to be top-notch.

Carl F. Bucherer Heritage Chronometer Celebration

For those who prefer the rose gold case and mesh bracelet (limited to 88 units per reference), there is either a silver dial (reference 00.10804.08.13.21) or a tobacco fumé dial (reference 00.10804.03.93.21) to choose from. When it comes to stainless steel (limited to 188 pieces per reference), the options are again silver (00.10804.08.13.21) or black (00.10804.08.33.21). With a diameter of 39mm and a thickness of just 8.45mm, these watches, with their incredibly fine mesh bracelets, look to be some of the most comfortable and discreet on the market.

Furthermore, all four references are powered by the same movement — the CFB 1965.1. This certified chronometer measures just 26.2mm wide and 3.6mm thick. It has 25 jewels and a power reserve of 42 hours. The caliber is automatic (impressive at that thickness) and shows the hours, minutes, seconds, and date (through an aperture at 3 o’clock). A black-on-white date disc is used on all models, which works best on the black dial, followed by the silver dials, and is least effective on the tobacco dial, in my opinion. For me, it might have been worth investing in a white-on-black wheel that could have been shared by the black and tobacco dials, simply because of how the tobacco dial bleeds to almost black at the edges. It is a small gripe in an otherwise divine drop, and the selected date discs do at least offer faultless legibility.

Carl F. Bucherer Heritage Chronometer Celebration
Carl F. Bucherer Heritage Chronometer Celebration

The movement is hidden behind a deeply engraved closed case back, showing the old Bucherer family crest, which features a swan motif. The closed case back guarantees a 30m water resistance, which is what one would expect from a model of this style and these dimensions.

IMHO

I must say, this release is an unexpected treat. The star of the show, however, is hiding in plain sight, and it might not be the model you expect…

While the rose gold models will no doubt steal the headlines, their USD 19,900 retail prices may result in a fair few puffed-out cheeks. Is this kind of refinement worth that kind of cash? Indeed it is, but in the five-figure bracket, there is a huge amount of competition that needs to be warded off.

Carl F. Bucherer Heritage Chronometer Celebration
Carl F. Bucherer Heritage Chronometer Celebration
Carl F. Bucherer Heritage Chronometer Celebration
Carl F. Bucherer Heritage Chronometer Celebration

The steel models offer an entirely different proposition. At just USD 5,900, they are not just well priced, but almost preposterously good value. There is a clear USD 14,000 gulf between the references based solely on case material. And while the rose gold mesh bracelet no doubt accounts for a lot of that, the value to watch lovers must surely be apparent. The black dial in the steel case (the model that most naturally handles the bright red tip on the very retro seconds hand) is the winner. In my opinion, it is the winner by a country mile. I would go as far as to say that this is one of the most impressive vintage-style modern dress watches I have seen in a long time. And the fact it comes in at under USD 6,000 is refreshing.

Carl F. Bucherer Heritage Chronometer Celebration
Carl F. Bucherer Heritage Chronometer Celebration
Carl F. Bucherer Heritage Chronometer Celebration
Carl F. Bucherer Heritage Chronometer Celebration

Yes, it isn’t exactly cheap and one could easily point to a brand like Junghans for similarly styled watches at a much lower price point still, but in an era of ever-ballooning tickets, this is good news. Carl F. Bucherer is a fine maker and one of the most underrated brands out there. For me, these steel models are an exceptionally strong addition to the catalog, and the first pieces from a brand that while I have admired for many years, have never seriously considered buying into, might tempt me to reach for my wallet.

Carl F. Bucherer Heritage Chronometer Celebration
Carl F. Bucherer Heritage Chronometer Celebration

Tech Specs

Carl F. Bucherer Heritage Chronometer Celebration

Movement: CFB 1965.1 Automatic
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, and date
Case: 39mm diameter, 8.45mm thick, either 19-karat rose gold or stainless steel, water-resistant to 30m
Dial: Silver or tobacco brown (rose gold), and silver or black (stainless steel)
Strap: Fine mesh bracelet
Availability: Available now. References 00.10804.08.13.21 and 00.10804.03.93.21 limited to 88 pieces each; references 00.10804.08.13.21 and 00.10804.08.33.21 limited to 188 pieces each.
Price: Gold USD 19,000; Steel USD 5,900

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1 comment

  1. Julian says:
    Excellent Article

    I haven’t noticed your by line before Rob. This is excellent writing. I hope you are given many more assignments and best wishes.

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