Exploring the Three Key Pillars of Carl F. Bucherer
As Carl F. Bucherer marks its 135th anniversary this year, we embark on an exploration of the three distinctive realms of watches at the brand: Manero, Patravi and Heritage.
The story of Carl F. Bucherer begins 135 years ago. Back in 1888, Carl Friedrich Bucherer opened his first boutique for watches and jewelry in Lucerne, laying the foundation for the brand and its rich history. In recognition of his grandfather´s legacy, the Carl F. Bucherer brand was founded at the turn of the 21st century as a continuation of the Bucherer family’s watchmaking tradition that began in 1919 when the distinguished retailer first ventured into producing its own wristwatches. In recognition of his grandfather’s legacy which ran deep within the company, Jörg G. Bucherer opted for the watches to embrace the name of its visionary founder.
In 2007, Carl F. Bucherer acquired Téchniques Horlogères Appliquées (THA) in Sainte- Croix, which allowed the company to design and develop its own movements, giving rise, most notably, to the brand’s peripheral winding system. Presently, Carl F. Bucherer’s main production facility sits in Lengnau, a short drive from its origin city of Lucerne. This facility aims to consolidate the majority of the company’s manufacturing operations and expand its capabilities. The manufacture effectively integrates modern technologies with skilled hands. While automation aids in parts fabrication, many tasks both intricate and incidental still rely on skilled artisans. This pertains to movement decoration from the largest bridges to the tiniest pinions as well as watch assembly, ensuring quality standards, and more.
While Carl F. Bucherer’s manufacturing prowess rivals that of other esteemed Swiss watchmakers, its distinction lies in its deep-rooted association with its birthplace, Lucerne. It is presently the only prominent watchmaking company that proudly identifies Lucerne as its home, which drives its technical development, creative expression and quality standards.
While it is focused on producing more watches with in-house movements, it currently employs a two-tier approach that encompasses timepieces equipped with modified supplied movements to reach a wider audience, alongside in-house movements that incorporates its hallmark peripheral system, which has remained central to the mechanical identity of the brand since 2008. For a better grasp of its watches, the brand has divided them into three distinct lines by design — Manero, Patravi and Heritage — centered on the theme of Exploring Time where each line speaks to a different approach to exploration.
Manero: Urban Discovery
The Manero collection sits astride the domains of dress and sports watches, envisioned for the urban explorer. It is home to a wide variety of watches that vary in their level of complexity spanning from time-and-date and big date to chronographs, perpetual calendars, tourbillons and minute repeaters. This collection showcases Carl F. Bucherer’s expertise in complications as well as its advancements in peripheral technology, which encompasses more than just the incorporation of a peripheral winding mass; it extends to a peripherally mounted and driven tourbillon, alongside a peripherally mounted centrifugal governor in its minute repeaters.
Apart from the chronographs, all movements were developed internally. The movements in the Manero Peripheral, Manero Peripheral BigDate and Manero Peripheral Perpetual Calendar are all based on the superb CFB A2000, a successor to the CFB A1000 launched in 2008, which was the first movement with a peripheral winding system to be produced on a meaningful scale.
The benefits of having peripheral winding mass are twofold: it allows the suppression of thickness as the oscillating weight is located on the same plane as the top plate rather than above it and, compared to a micro-rotor system, it offers more freedom in bridge design, essentially offering more room for more complex shapes as well as a clear view of the movement from the caseback. However, it is inherently more challenging to design due to the engineering solutions necessary to ensure stability and efficiency. In the A2000, the peripheral winding mass is made of tungsten, which is denser and heavier than steel and is supported on three DLC-coated ceramic ball bearings to reduce friction. The ball bearing races themselves are attached to an anti-shock system, as is the first wheel in the automatic gear train. It has a free-sprung balance with a beat rate of 28,800vph and offers a power reserve of 55 hours.
At the pinnacle of the collection are the Manero Tourbillon Double Peripheral and the Manero Minute Repeater Symphony. These models have in recent years come to be the most emblematic of Carl F. Bucherer as they take the brand’s peripheral system up a notch or two. The Manero Tourbillon Double Peripheral uses the in-house CFB T3000 which, on top of having a peripheral winding system, also has a peripherally driven tourbillon, meaning it is driven by a wheel on the periphery rather than a pinion beneath the cage. These are height- saving measures that result in a movement that is just 4.6mm thin. Additionally, the cage is supported by rollers on its periphery which rotate in their own bearings, eliminating the need for an upper and even a lower bridge. These solutions result in an unusually airy tourbillon from both the front and back perspectives.
The Manero Minute Repeater Symphony is equipped with the MR3000, which in addition to having a peripheral winding system and a peripherally mounted tourbillon also incorporates a minute repeater mechanism with a peripherally mounted centrifugal governor. The governor, hammers and gongs are built on the dial side rather than the bridge side of the movement, which along with the triple peripheral system, makes it one of the most distinctive and unusual tourbillon minute repeaters around.
Be it the utterly glamourous Manero Tourbillon Double Peripheral Paradise bedecked with rainbow-colored gemstones or the Manero Peripheral on a steel bracelet, the collection encapsulates a diverse range of lifestyles and experiences within a vibrant cityscape.
Patravi: Adventure Quest
In contrast, Patravi embodies the pursuit of more dynamic experiences, encompassing the depths of aquatic exploration and the dynamic lifestyles of adventurous travelers. Specifically, it consists of robust, high-spec’d dive watches, such as the Patravi ScubaTec, as well as multi time zone chronographs, such as the Patravi TravelTec. Both models have been a mainstay in the collection since 2013 and 2006 respectively and have become modern classics of the brand.
The Patravi ScubaTec is a 44.6mm diver with a ceramic bezel insert, 500-meter water resistance, and aesthetics that strike a balance between rugged and refined. There is also a helium escape valve for saturation divers and the bezel features two patterns of knurling for enhanced traction, along with a double-knurled crown. The case work, bezel, dial furniture are of an outstanding quality. The outsized raised numerals on the bezel are polished while the satin-brushed top surfaces of the case and flanks are divided by a polished bevel. The dial’s indexes boast a distinct shape, while the minute hand features a solid design, facilitating easy differentiation from the hour hand. The movement inside is the COSC- certified CFB 1950.1 which is based on the workhorse ETA 2824-2. The watch is in steel and is available with numerous different dial colors, and there’s also a Black Manta Special Edition in DLC-coated titanium with a dial printed with a pair of manta rays. This edition is made to support the work of the UK-based Manta Trust, dedicated to protecting the oceans an saving the rare Manta Rays. Carl F. Bucherer has been working with the Manta Trust for over a decade, funding multiple projects. On top of that, parts of the proceeds from the annual ScubaTec model supporting the partnership are donated to the Manta Trust. The most recent model is the Patravi ScubaTec Verde.
The Patravi TravelTec is an oversized 46.6mm watch that combines a triple time zone function with a chronograph. It has two internal 24-hour rings surrounding the main dial that can be used in conjunction with a red GMT hand — one stationary and the other adjustable by one-hour increments through a pusher at 10 o’clock. This patented pusher incorporates a rotating collar marked with an “E” for east and a “W” for west. Rotating the collar switches the direction of rotation of the 24-hour ring, enabling it to be adjusted forwards and backwards. The movement is the caliber CFB 1901.1, which is a modified ETA 2894 automatic modular chronograph with a vertical clutch. The GMT mechanism for this movement was developed internally. The watch is available in various guises including the TravelTec Color Edition Four Seasons with blistering dial colors, as well as the TravelTec Paradise in DLC-coated steel with a rainbow-colored, gem-set bezel.
Even after many years since their debut, these watches remain unusual and distinctive propositions within their respective fields.
Heritage: Timeless Voyage
The Heritage range comprise modern interpretations of heritage models, offering the best of vintage aesthetics and modern, reliable build quality and mechanics. The ever-growing collection includes several pieces including the Heritage BiCompax Annual and the Heritage Chronometer Celebration.
The Heritage BiCompax Annual was inspired by a Bucherer bicompax chronograph all the way back in 1956. An annual calendar with a big date was added into the mix in the Heritage BiCompax Annual. Its design is clean and pleasing, featuring syringe hands, an outsized date display at 12 o’clock, along with the month display located discreetly at 4:30. The inclusion of the tachymeter scale pays homage to tradition and the iconic design elements of mid- century classics. The 41mm case size is modern without being overly large, and the lugs are elegantly tapered, accentuated by a polished bevel. It is powered by the CFB 1972, which is based on the ETA 2894 with a Dubois-Dépraz module.
The Heritage Chronometer Celebration was introduced in four limited edition models this year as part of the brand’s 135th anniversary. It takes inspiration from a braided-bracelet gold chronometer watch from Bucherer in the 1960s. It has a case diameter of 39mm and is paired with a fine mesh bracelet. The dial is a faithful reproduction of the original, with blocky applied hour markers and hands filled with black lacquer as well as a red arrow-tipped seconds hand. Powering it is the CFB 1965.1, which is based on the reliable Sellita SW300 automatic movement.
Regardless of individual preferences for travel and exploration, each of the three collections holds its own trove of hidden treasures to be explored. Discover more about Carl F. Bucherer here.
MORE STORIES ABOUT CARL F. BUCHERER
FROM THE SHOP
|Manual winding Sellita caliber AMT5100, with rose gold plating and custom bridge for Furlan Marri; 58-hour power reserve; heated blued steel screws
|Hours, minutes, small seconds and flyback chronograph
|38mm (46mm from lug to lug); stainless steel with olive-shaped pushers for Honey Blue flyback, Taupe flyback and Tasti Tondi pushers for Salmon flyback; water resistant to 50m
|Taupe, blue, or two-tone salmon and black (Revolution edition); double printed text with pulsations scale, polished applied indexes
|Italian leather with quick release system
|270 pieces per reference + 30 collector boxes (including one of each references) in addition.