Swiss watch retail giant Bucherer 1888 has revealed last week the latest in its ever-successful line of exclusive special edition collaborations, the Bucherer Blue Editions. Working together with Roger Dubuis, it has created two new watches and a custom-designed Lamborghini Aventador S, in honour of the carmaker’s partnership with Roger Dubuis.
The Lucerne-based watch and jewellery retailer launched the watches at a retail-ready pop-up in Zurich Airport, showcasing all of the sought-after models within Bucherer Blue Editions to date. It showed just how far the Blue Editions concept has come in just under three years, and serves to display how the Blue Editions programme can expand beyond watches to include special bespoke vehicles, such as a custom, diamond-set Harley Davidson motorcycle, which sold for over £1m when it went on sale earlier this year.
QP visited the retail-ready pop-up, which runs from December 7th to January 6th, to discover the new watches and find out more about the brand’s future plans for Bucherer Blue Editions.
“We started in 2016 with nine brands and 14 watches,” explains Bucherer’s Chief Commercial Officer, Patrick Graf. “We launched all of those at the same time in Switzerland and it was a huge success. The initial idea came because we were looking for something to help us differentiate ourselves from other retailers and, because of our size, we needed it to be something bigger than one or two exclusive watches, which we’d already done in the past.”
Bucherer Blue Editions experienced one of its biggest successes the following year with the release of the Tudor Heritage Black Bay Bronze Blue Edition, which Graf describes as “still one of the best-selling within the Tudor assortment”. Bucherer, which took over the UK’s Watch Gallery in 2017, and has since expanded its retail operations further with the acquisition of US chain Tourneau and Hawaii-based Baron and Leeds, has embarked on a mission to develop the Bucherer Blue collection. Next year will see the brand aim to launch a new Blue Edition piece at least every other month, and Graf explained that not all of them will be watches.
Today, Bucherer’s own ‘sub brand’ includes some 26 watches, all featuring the retailer’s signature blue colour. Graf sees exclusive watches remaining at the core of the collection, but is already exploring the introduction of some of the retailer’s own fine jewellery to complement it.
“It’s become such a success that we want to focus and invest a lot of money over the next couple of years to build up the brand awareness for Bucherer Blue Editions,” reveals Graf. “There’s a lot more to come in terms of products, but it will also become about moments and experiences. Blue doesn’t only have to be about product: we could even invite guests to a one-of-a-kind dinner or special occasion.”
For now, however, we are hardly shortchanged in the Blue Editions department. Against a wider industry backdrop that is showing enormous appetite for limited edition watches at every budget and style, the Bucherer Blue Editions have emerged as the strongest and most recognisable set of limited editions out there. The latest watches – a Roger Dubuis Excalibur Aventador S and a Roger Dubuis Excalibur 42 Automatic – are the 30th and 31st additions to a collection that spans from TAG Heuer to Tudor, IWC to Audemars Piguet and beyond.
The Excalibur Aventador S becomes one of the most expensive Blue Editions yet launched (second only to the Vacheron Constantin Traditionelle Tourbillon, at £238,000) and without a doubt one of the most distinctive. The openworked design, which is limited to eight pieces and retails for £201,000, incorporates the Bucherer blue on its rubber strap, on the bezel detailing, around the minute track at the periphery of the dial, and on the “engine cover”-style main bridge that covers the mainspring barrel (itself openworked in homage to the world of motoring).
The incredible construction of the Aventador S’s movement is intended to directly reference that of its four-wheeled namesake: the twin balance wheels are inclined at 45 degrees, like the V12 engine of the 750 horsepower supercar, and connected with a differential in a further nod to the automotive world. The watch was launched alongside a specially-customised version of the car, which will be on display in Zurich airport until January 6th 2019.
The car – worth £472,000 – has been given a matt blue paint job in a shade developed exclusively for Bucherer, called “Blu Kairos”, and is kitted out with “Silver Dianthus” wheel rims borrowed from the range-topping Aventador SVJ. Inside, the Alcantara seats (also blue, of course) are upholstered in a pattern that references Bucherer’s year of founding, 1888. Between the backrests is a hand-stitched decoration that depicts the Roger Dubuis Aventador S watch (so you really do need to buy both together…). Last but not least, the traditional Lamborghini ignition switch has been given an haute joaillerie makeover with 207 sapphires set in white gold.
Alongside the Excalibur Aventador S, Bucherer also launched the Excalibur 42 Automatic, a dressier take on Roger Dubuis’ signature model, which is limited to 30 pieces (a reference to its status as the 30th watch produced under the Blue Editions banner). Cased in stainless steel, it features the brand’s familiar sunburst dial – now in Bucherer Blue – and oversized Roman numerals. Contrast comes in the form of the grey small-seconds dial at six o’clock, which also houses a discreet date window. Priced at £11,400, it sits firmly in the middle of the Blue Editions range.
Other recent additions to the Bucherer Blue catalogue include two models by H. Moser & Cie, which (in typical Moser fashion) bucked the trend by keeping the blue elements of the design a mystery. Not until you turn the watches over do you notice the influence of the Blue Edition design: both the Endeavour Diamonds and the Heritage model use the rotor, balance wheel and escapement bridge to showcase the eponymous blue.
Whether you’re passing through Zurich airport this December or are just dreaming of a blue-dialled Christmas, if you are looking for a watch that marries individual character with big-brand prestige and quality, it’s well worth considering the Blue Editions collection. Find out more at Bucherer.com