Carl F. Bucherer: Now at Timeless Luxury Watches
Carl F. Bucherer, or CFB, is a great watch maker that has flown under the radar of North American collectors for too long. This company has long established itself as a major contender in the luxury watch market, bringing with it a 125 year heritage and true manufacture movements.
There are a lot of great things about the CFB watch collection. I like that it brings a consistent, cohesive style to them—you know when a watch looks like a CFB. And that style is very impressive. CFB commonly employs beautiful sunburst dialwork with a particular fondness for big date and chronograph complications. They make anything from extremely understated, Calatrava-esque dress watches all the way up to large, extremely complicated watches and everything in between.
I think their collections look tremendous. But I think my favorite aspect of CFB is their new, and very novel, in house movement line, the A1000.
A growing number of makers are very proud of their new in house calibres, as they ought to be, but CFB was unsatisfied with merely reinventing the wheel.
CFB brought a number of unconventional designs to their A1000, the most obvious of which is that the rotor no longer rests on top of the movement. Instead, it runs the circumference of the movement, which according to CFB, is not only a very efficient winding mechanism, but also enhances the view of the movement. The result is very impressive; an automatic with the view of a handwound.
Among other advancements, CFB added their own version of regulation. This regulator should be less susceptible to shock, and therefore, maintain the original factory accuracy of the watch over a longer period of time.
The A1000 is an overachiever in other ways as well. It has an extended power reserve, 55 hours versus the industry average of 40, and is very accurate. It ought to be, given CFB’s heritage of chronometer production. My own testing of an A1000 produced superior accuracy and consistency.
CFB’s dial work also sets them apart from the competition. These dials are very complex, usually with multiple complications, applied indices and sunburst patterns. And look at the result: it’s perfectly executed. Fans of highly dynamic dial work that change color and shift with lighting will love CFB’s collection.
CFB also offers an unusually wide variety of available complications. From big date complications, to power reserves—even to the rare week display:
So with all that in mind, let me introduce you to the four lines of watches CFB offers and Timeless Luxury Watches carries.
The Patravi lineup is CFB’s largest and sportiest collection. It features a lot of models with the A1000 movement, as well as a lot of chronographs. It combines large, skeletonized sword hands, applied indices, lume and sunburst dials to create an appealing, contemporary watch.
The first parts of Patravi I’ll focus on are the models with the A1000 movement. The first group, featuring round cases, is the Calendar, BigDate and DayDate models. Although they all receive CFB’s in house movement, different complications are added to each.
These Patravi feature either a big date complication or an additional day complication. I really appreciate the asymmetrical design and the unique placement of the complications. Still, the most interesting of these first three is the Calendar model:
This is one of the most complex fully in house watches CFB makes and features a 52 week calendar complication. Also interesting is the use of a rotating subdial for the seconds display.
The next in the lineup is the EvoTec line, which is actually my favorite from CFB. These are very similar to the Patravi models above, but there is more than just a difference in case shape between them. The EvoTec also uses a rubberized bezel and crown. These match the dial and sporty character of the watch very well, and should also be highly resistant to scratches and dings.
While you can order the EvoTec with either just date or a day date version, like the above Patravi, the EvoTec is also available with a very cool power reserve complication. Not only does a small arrow indicate where on the meter you are, it “fills up,” the white line eventually replacing the red when fully wound. The EvoTec is not currently available with the Calendar (week) complication, however.
The next in the Patravi line are the “Travel” models, which are chronographs featuring GMT complications.
The Travel models above can track three time zones simultaneously with the main hands, a GMT hand, and a rotating inner bezel.
The TravelGraph, unlike the first two TravelTecs, can only track two timezones, but it’s a great choice for someone who wants a GMT chronograph that’s less busy than the TravelTec models. I also quite like the bezel.
The Chrono line is easily one of the coolest within CFB. Seen above is the Chronograde, which is the second or third most complicated watch FB offers, behind only their perpetual calendar or arguably the tourbillon. It features a number of unique features that deserve greater detail.
In addition to the flyback chronograph, it features a very unique retrograde hour counter at 8:00. The power reserve is uniquely indicated—most are semicircular in nature (even within other CFB models). To get the round appearance CFB wanted, they used two hands, a long one and a short one, which hit different painted markings on the dial. But perhaps the most interesting complication is the annual calendar. This is one of the most complex watches on the market today.
For those looking for a simpler CFB annual calendar, the Chronodate annual calendar is available. If you want one without the annual calendar, but with the big date, the ChronoDate is available:
For those looking for a nice tonneau case, the “T” models are for you.
There’s the T-Graph, the chronograph option. It’s got a brilliant sunburst blue (available in many other colors too), a chronograph, big date and power reserve, so it’s a very complex watch.
If you’re not looking for a chronograph but like the case, it’s also available in this T-24. It loses the chronograph, but gains a second timezone subdial.
The Patravi line also has a traditional diver, the new ScubaTec:
Or if you’d prefer the opposite, a traditional understated dress watch, there’s the AutoDate:
The Manero line is CFB’s second biggest and features the most complex watches in CFB’s lineup, as well as some simpler and more understated options.
Probably the most impressive watch in CFB’s entire portfolio is their special edition Manero Tourbillon:
This watch couples CFB’s style with a gorgeous tourbillon, as well as a power reserve and second time zone. The power reserve on this watch is an impressive 70 hours, which is especially helpful since this watch is handwound only. Only 188 were made, making these quite rare.
Nearly as impressive is their ChronoPerpetual line, which as the name suggests, amazingly features not only a perpetual calendar and moon phase but a chronograph as well. Like the tourbillon, this one is quite rare, receiving only a 100 piece run. Unlike the tourbillon, however, this watch is an automatic with a 50 hour power reserve, still quite above average.
Now if you liked the Patravi EvoTec with its in house movement and power reserve complication, but wanted something less aggressive, the Manero PowerReserve is a great choice:
It features the same fully in house A1000 but a much more subtle design. I really like those flat dauphine hands with thin strips of lume in the middle. It’s a very versatile design, combining lume and a screw down crown into an otherwise very dressy piece. And unlike the first two Manero models, this one is full production.
CFB does offer a perpetual calendar, sans chronograph, in this yellow gold Perpetual model:
This is a very bold design and available exclusively in yellow gold at the moment. I love the huge 12:00 marker and those avant garde hands. Also of note is that the borders around the day and date subdials are eccentric, a really interesting touch, and it also features an unusual moon phase complication at 6:00.
CFB also makes a very elegant chronograph in the Manero line, the CentralChrono:
This is a very nicely balanced dial, and quite unusually, none of the subdials refer to the chronograph. The one on our left is a second time zone while the one on our right is the main seconds hand.
Actually, all chronograph functions are handled by two central hands, which count off seconds and minutes.
The Manero Retrograde has to be one of their coolest watches. It features hands similar to the Manero Perpetual model, although in steel and with lume, and the dial is extremely avant garde. Of note is that the retrograde date, from which its name is derived, actually counts downward. Another interesting touch is that only the numeral 3 is displayed, as opposed to the more conventional 12. This interests me a bit, since the 3:00 marker is usually the one sacrificed for date windows, so it’s interesting to see it make a comeback in the absence of the more conventional 12-6-9. I wonder if they chose to do this since it uses a retrograde date which avoided the need for the date window.
Moving on to the Manero line’s more understated pieces, we arrive at the aptly named BigDate Power. As you might expect, it has a big date and power reserve:
Likewise, there is a nice moon phase model (as well as day/date/month):
Alacria is CFB’s answer for ladies. This collection is quite bold and uses a variety of contrasting metals, gems and colors. The Alacria lineup is entirely made up of quartz movements, which no doubt allows for thinner and smaller watches.
Some models lie this RoyalRose feature very impressive dialwork.
For the woman looking for a more understated model, they also make the Diva:
Or the not-so-understated:
As you can see, Bucherer has a preference for this novel case shape and does not attempt to fly under the radar with their lady’s lineup. Naturally, there is quite a bit of design variety in this model, so if this appeals to you, check out Timeless’ website for the full panoply of colors and gemstones.
And lastly we reach the Adamavi line, a line composed entirely of one model. That said, this single watch comes in a wide variety of sizes and colors. It makes up the dressiest of all of CFB’s watches, and is probably best compared to something like a Patek Callatrava or Vacheron Patrimony.
I’ve tried to give an overview of every model CFB makes and what makes them great. What we see here is a traditional Swiss watchmaker that places a lot of value on dial work, movements and complications, three areas that I can definitely get behind. They’ve got such a wide variety of watches, yet a very distinct style. Not only do they offer some great modified movements, they are continuing to innovate with the new fully in house A1000 calibre, so Bucherer is doing some great things right now. They’re too often overlooked in my opinion and definitely deserve your consideration, particularly if you’re attracted to having multiple complications—few watch companies in the world offer so many complex watches.
If you're interested in seeing more of Bucherer, check out the Timeless Luxury Watches store or website (remember, most of these watches come in various dial and bracelet options that I didn't show here). To read our other reviews/overviews or receive our weekly newsletter please visit our blog: An Authorized Dealer For Luxury Watches Frisco, TX | SBGR081 & SBGR083 Reviews