Despite launching as a watch brand some 98 years ago, Carl F Bucherer has been absent from the UK until now. Here we take a closer look at the family-owned manufacture.
by James Buttery
You could probably count the number of family-owned Swiss watch manufactures on the fingers of one hand, certainly those still owned by the family that founded them. But here in the UK few would mention the name of Carl F Bucherer because, until now, the brand has barely had a presence in the UK.
Established in 1888 in Lucerne – the medieval city whose picturesque wooden bridges still zig zag the waterways – when Carl Friedrich Bucherer opened a boutique selling jewellery and watches. It wasn’t until 1919 that the retailer launched its own Art Deco-styled collection of women’s watches, a move which signaled the arrival of a Swiss watchmaking powerhouse.
Carl F Bucherer then spent the middle of the 20th Century producing chronometers and sporty chronographs, at one point even becoming one of Switzerland’s biggest producers. By the end of the 1960s, Carl F Bucherer joined forces with the likes of Patek Philippe and Omega to help develop the BETA 21 quartz movement.
Today the company is owned by Jörg G Bucherer, the third generation family owner, who took over the business in 1976. His tenure has seen considerable investment in R&D and production including a move to larger manufacturing facilities, first in 2002 and then in 2015 as well as the 2007 acquisition of a movement atelier in Saint-Croix. This latter move gave Carl F Bucherer the knowhow to manufacture its own movements and complication modules.
This addition to the business allowed Carl F Bucherer to present the A1000, above, its first manufacture movement in 2008, it was also one of the few automatics with peripheral winding rotors available on the market. A movement with peripheral rotor offers two main benefits over a movement with a standard, stacked rotor; it offers an unobstructed view of the movement itself and allows the movement to be considerably slimmer as well. Shock absorption was also a central focus for Carl F Bucherer, with the peripheral rotor mounted on three sprung assemblies whilst the escapement was mounted using two additional shock-absorbing arms (CDAS) which also served to adjust and lock-in settings to the regulator and hairspring stud.
When the A2000, above, was introduced last year to replace its predecessor, the CDAS mechanism was replaced by a free-sprung balance and a faster 4hz rate for greater precision and the modern ‘circuit board’ decoration of the bridges had become more traditional with sharply bevelled, mirror finished edges.
The A2000 now sits within the brand’s bestselling, classically inclined Manero collection at the heart of the Manero Peripheral, above, a handsome 40mm small seconds automatic with date window introduced in 2016.
The brand’s latest watch is the Manero Flyback, below, a mid-20th Century-styled 43mm chronograph with a CFB 1970 column wheel flyback chronograph movement based on the Valjoux 7750 and exclusive to the brand.
The bicompax dial layout may present a lot of information beneath its deep double-domed sapphire crystal, but neat touches like the open-worked dauphine hands ensure you can see what you need to when you need to. Presented in both stainless steel and 18ct red gold and with a variety of dial colours from a subdued slate blue to a champagne that appears almost patinated, the Manero Flyback offers a surprisingly wide range of looks through just five variations.