Introducing the Carl F. Bucherer Manero Minute Repeater Anniversary
This special edition of the Carl F. Bucherer Manero Minute Repeater is a chromatically creative take on the complicated design.
While, globally, it is probably fair to say that the Carl F. Bucherer name is more associated with the Bucherer chain of retailers (especially since Bucherer’s strategic 2018 purchase of Tourneau in the United States), the company has been producing its own watches for the majority of its 135-year history.
Founded in Lucerne in 1888 by Carl-Friedrich Bucherer, the brand began producing watches for ladies in 1919. Five years later, Bucherer forged an enduring retail partnership with Hans Wilsdorf’s Rolex. That relationship continues to this day and is what many people think of when they first hear the name Bucherer.
But for more than 100 years now, the brand has been making extremely covetable watches, specializing for decades in highly complicated movements, especially those in the chronograph, calendar, and striking categories. Here we have three unique minute repeaters released to mark the company’s 135th anniversary and designed to showcase the very best of what the brand has to offer.
The Carl F. Bucherer Minute Repeater Anniversary watches feature my very favorite technical calling card of the Bucherer brand: the peripheral winding weight. These orbital rotors perform exactly the same function as a traditional, centrally-mounted oscillating mass, or a small, off-set micro-rotor, but they do so without impinging upon the pure aesthetic beauty of the movement.
But as much as I think peripheral rotor weights offer an enhanced aesthetic, there’s more to them than that. Upon its release in 2008, the CFB A1000 movement was heralded as the world’s first “reliably functioning” peripheral-rotor-driven caliber. The theory underpinning the development suggested that having an extremely dense mass rotating around a greater radius would not only facilitate the production of slimmer automatic watches but would also result in more efficient winding. Additional benefit is the unobstructed view of the movement.
Eight years later in 2016, the brand released the CFB A2000, which has an increased operating frequency (up to 4Hz from 3) and a free-sprung balance, improving the movement’s isochronism when subjected to shock.
In 2018, the CFB T3000 appeared, adding a tourbillon to proceedings. With this caliber, Carl F. Bucherer broke new ground. It became a signature movement for the brand. Today, the CFB T3000 and its close relatives such as the CFB T3001 (with an additional power reserve gauge, date, and 24-hour indicator) and the CFB MR3000 (the same watch but with a minute repeater complication) feature in 15 watches in the brand’s catalog.
The latter, the CFB MR3000, is the caliber that powers these three unique anniversary pieces, and it is, without a doubt, a watchmaking tour de force.
This release sees three wildly different colorways hit the market. There is an 18K yellow gold case with an olivine dial and fetching “moss” green nubuck strap (Ref. 00.10925.01.93.01), an 18K white gold model with a serene, light blue Mother of Pearl dial (Ref. 00.10925.02.83.11), and a thoroughly bonkers 18K rose gold model with a deep black gem-set dial and a gem-set bezel decorated with tsavorites, sapphires, and rubies (Ref. 00.10925.03.39.11). Each has a diameter of 43.8mm, a height of 12.47mm (making full use of that peripheral winding weight), and a paltry water resistance of just 1 bar (10 — yes, ten — meters).
But is the movement what most Carl F. Bucherer customers come to the brand for? As much as I, as a watchmaker, obsess over these things and adore the peripheral rotor weight (which is now a function available in other brands also), CFB has always seemed a brand that trades on its style rather than its substance.
Bucherer is not a brand with a huge amount of “street cred”, but it is a highly esteemed family name known to those “in the know”. As such, it is something of watch-insider’s watch brand. It has heritage. It has the requisite technical chops. The watches themselves are stunning. But it flies under the radar. From across a room, it could be many other things. Is that a good thing or a bad thing, you might ask? Well, that depends if you want anyone to know how much your wristwatch costs, or whether you want to be spotted wearing a hype piece rather than a quiet classic. That’s an entirely personal choice.
Funnily enough, Bucherer might be about to get its day in the sun. Of course, it has been around for a long, long time, but it hasn’t really been near the top of the watchmaking tree since the late 1960s (at which point, it was, for a while, the third largest producer of Swiss-made chronometers, with 15,000 pieces rolling off the production line annually). Why? Because the age of stealth luxury is upon us. The spate of high-profile watch thefts in recent months is having a tangible effect on the mainstream market. Can Bucherer capitalize on that shift in focus? With exquisitely made rare pieces like the Carl F. Bucherer Manero Minute Repeater Anniversary, I don’t see why not.
Carl F. Bucherer Manero Minute Repeater Anniversary
Movement: Automatic, manufacture caliber CFB MR3000, chronometer COSC
Functions: Time, tourbillon, and minute repeater striking mechanism
Case: 18K yellow (Ref. 00.10925.01.93.01), 18K sapphire-set white gold (Ref. 00.10925.02.83.11), or 18K diamond-set rose gold (Ref. 00.10925.03.39.11)
Dial: 18K yellow gold with moss green hand-made Guilloché pattern, 18K gold marks (Ref. 00.10925.01.93.01), 18K white gold with light ice blue mother-of-pearl, 18K gold index marks (Ref. 00.10925.02.83.11), 18K rose gold with black sunray finish, 8 baguette cut 0.3 ct. tsavorites, rubies, and sapphires in rainbow colors (Ref. 00.10925.03.39.11)
Strap: Moss green nubuck leather (Ref. 00.10925.01.93.01), Blue hybrid rubber strap with “textile” texture and quick release system (Ref. 00.10925.02.83.11), Black hybrid rubber strap with ‘textile’ texture and quick release system (Ref. 00.10925.03.39.11), all with matching 18K gold pin-lock folding clasp.
Availability: Three unique pieces
Price: On request
|Movement||Self-winding caliber A-500; 60 hours power reserve|
|Functions||Hours, minutes, small seconds, chronograph and date|
|Case||42.5mm; titanium; water resistant to 30m|
|Dial||Salmon (6N gold plated) with gené or frosted area; Super-LumiNova filled Arabic numerals|
|Strap||Ballistic gray rubber; titanium folding clasp|