Inside Carl F. Bucherer’s New and More Refined Approach to Watchmaking
With a pared-down catalogue, CFB is laser-focused on blending its 135-year heritage with modern technologies, from materials to movements.
This past year marked the monumental 135th anniversary of Carl F. Bucherer. At the beginning of 2023, the brand kicked off the celebration with a capsule collection that reimagined five of CFB’s most popular models with contemporary style and all new materials. This launch signaled a new era for the brand, one that would slowly unveil over the course of the celebratory year and culminate in CFB’s launch of its “exploring time” concept and refined catalogue distilled to three product families: Manero, Patravi, and Heritage.
“Contained in the concept of ‘exploring time’ is the idea of seeing adventure and exploration in the everyday—embracing that ethos, that fascination with the world, of learning more, of self-discovery,” clarifies Samir Merdanovic, Chief Technology Officer of CFB. “Collectively, this is a tagline that draws together our artisanship, our attitude, and our ongoing pursuit of new horizons.”
This guiding principle has informed the latest products we’ve seen from CFB this year, with an emphasis on both form and function. From an aesthetic perspective, colour (and lack thereof) has been an important part of the brand’s new design language, and this has gone hand in hand with the use of new materials and new technologies. “This past year has seen us go all-black with the capsule collection and also embrace increasingly vibrant colours, deployed in unexpected ways and even on our highest complication watches,” asserts Merdanovic. Some prime examples debuted last month: more subtly with CFB’s new Manero Peripheral Perpetual Calendar and more boldly with the brand’s exclusive debuts at Dubai Watch Week, the Manero Tourbillon DoublePeripheral “Green Paradise” and Manero Minute Repeater in Titanium.
The Manero Peripheral Perpetual Calendar launched in November, introducing the brand’s A2055 movement with its signature peripheral automatic winding system combined, for the first time, with a perpetual calendar and a moon-phase display. With accuracy until the year 2100, even taking leap years into account, the Manero Peripheral Perpetual Calendar undoubtedly boasts CFB’s technical prowess but also highlights the brand’s new (and colourful) design codes. The layout of the model features bold colour blocking with a sunray-brushed dial center and opaline index zone as well as four contrasting registers. Each of the four colourways—green, taupe, rose, and classic black—is then colour matched to calfskin straps that feature a gradient “Milky Way” texture.
CFB further pushes the bounds of colourplay with the Manero Tourbillon DoublePeripheral “Green Paradise.” Here, we have a somewhat simpler base for the dial, rendered in an opulent green with a sunray finish. However, it’s highlighted by the addition of rainbow hour markers and a rainbow bezel with tsavorites, sapphires and rubies. The model is complete with a deep green strap in alligator leather, which provides a final touch of colour and texture to the watch. While less bold in colour, the companion piece unveiled at Dubai Watch Week, the Manero Minute Repeater in Titanium, further emphasises CFB’s implementation deft work with materials, texture, and depth even with a more neutral colour palette. Here we have the brand’s Manero Minute Repeater with a titanium case for the first time paired with an 18-karat white gold dial finished in a grain pattern that gives interest to the monochromatic colour scheme. In contrast, the hands and hour markers are made of rose gold while the floating tourbillon at 12 o’clock gives further depth to the timepiece.
Bolstering the new direction for the popular Manero line has seemed to be at the core of this year’s initial phase of refinement for the brand. However, certain models are emblematic of what we can expect to see from the Patravi family and Heritage line in the years to come. For Merdanovic, two particular watches stand out as representative of these product collections. The first is a special model also launched this year: the Patravi ScubaTec Verde. “This a watch we created in partnership with the Manta Trust—a British charity we`ve been supporting for over a decade that’s dedicated to protecting the oceans and the rare manta rays,” shares Merdanovic. “From a practical point of view, it’s a great diving watch, with excellent water resistance and Super LumiNova in all the right places, so it’s easy to read even at great depths. Aesthetically I think it moves beyond the idea of being ‘just’ a sports watch: it’s edgy and stylish—inside and outside the water. Its strap is made of sustainable materials, and reminds me of denim. I love its contradictions.”
For the Heritage collection, the name speaks for itself: it offers modern interpretations of the brand’s most iconic timepieces, designs, and technologies from the last 135 years. This year, we saw the debut of four new Heritage Chronometers inspired by watches from the 1960s. However, according to Merdanovic, the Hometown Edition of the Heritage Bicompax Annual range exemplifies the type of model we can look forward to seeing more of in the lineup. “The Hometown Editions pay homage to 15 of our adopted hometowns in nine different countries, and each watch has a 3D engraving of its respective city on the case back,” explains Merdanovic. “So, they tell a story of craftsmanship, refined over many years, and pay tribute to how the brand has been embraced around the world.”
It’s clear that CFB has only brushed the surface of the company’s new vision with its current catalogue. Next year, it will be exciting to see how a brand so deeply rooted in history continues to evolve with the creative use of contemporary materials and the technical achievements possible when iterating on its signature Peripheral Technology thanks to new, cutting edge materials. This blend of past and present—honouring Swiss watchmaking traditions while adapting to new trends and technologies—is the mark of a the company’s new frontier in watchmaking.
Subscribe to the Newsletter
Recommended for you
Seven celebs flaunted stylish wrist candy on the streets this week.
February 15, 2024
The new model debuts alongside a new line of integrated rubber straps—win-win