Carl F. Bucherer is a watchmaker that’s a subsidiary of the well-known, third-generation European retailer Bucherer. The brand offers a wide range of watches from affordable daily-drivers to high-end timepieces that count complications like minute repeater, thanks to its acquisition of Techniques Horlogères Appliquées (THA), a specialist maker established with the help of notable watchmakers such as Francois-Paul Journe.
Amongst its offerings the automatic chronographs are arguably the most interesting, because they combine the stopwatch with unusual functions like an annual calendar for under US$8,000. But the watches are dressy in style, until now – the brand has recently unveiled the Manero Central Counter in green and black, along with a sporty integrated rubber strap. All together this makes for an extremely practical watch with a central elapsed minute indicator and a 24-hour indicator as well.
With only two counters and minimal printing on the dial, the Manero Central Counter is simple at a glance, but it offers a lot. Catered to travellers and explorers, the Central Counter conveniently combines a chronograph with a GMT, as well as an unusual central minute indicator that’s greatly improves legibility over a typical sub-dial display.
Few watches offer a central chronograph minutes. Examples in a similar price point include the Sinn EZM 1.1, but most others are far more expensive watches that utilize the ingenious Agenhor movement.
And the Manero Central Counter also has a 24-hour indicator at nine o’clock as well as a date at six o’clock, making it one of the more useful chronographs at this price.
Interestingly, the chronograph minute track has a “15 MINUTES EXTRA TIME” segment, which is clearly catered to counting the overtime of a football watch, making it a timely announcement given that the FIFA World Cup that has just started.
Though clearly designed with an outdoor flavour, the Central Counter has elegant details inspired by vintage Bucherer chronographs of the mid-20th century. That include the dauphine hands and baton indices, albeit now in black to match the dial and bezel. While large at 42.5 mm, the case has polished bevel on the lugs that gives it a classier appearance. These details will help extend its appeal to a variety of enthusiasts.
But styling isn’t the biggest highlight and instead it is the practicality. Here the minutes counter has been enlarged to fill up the dial; the green hand at the center as well as the green track along the dial are the elapsed minute display. Add to that the typical central elapsed seconds hand and the result is a chronograph that’s effortlessly legible.
That said, the newest chronograph does not have an in-house movement, as is the case for the flyback and annual calendar chronographs. Instead, it relies on the SW-300 and with a chronograph module on the dial side. While this is a higher price point for that calibre, it doesn’t take away from the fact that it’s an unusual, practical package.
In terms of practicality, my only nitpick would be the water resistance, which is rated at 30 m and is essentially splash resistance. It’s good enough for most daily activities except for swimming, but activating a stopwatch under water is typically a no-no, so that’s not too big of a drawback for a chronograph wristwatch like this.
Carl F. Bucherer Manero Central Counter
Movement: CFB 1967; automatic; 40-44 hours power reserve
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, date, chronograph, and 24-hour indicator
Case: 42.5 x 14.43 mm; stainless steel; water resistant to 30 m
Strap: Hybrid green and black rubber strap with folding clasp
Availability: Limited to 188 pieces