Carl F. Bucherer Patravi Review by Timeless Luxury Watches
Today I have the pleasure of reviewing an amazing watch, the Carl F. Bucherer (hereby CFB) Patravi. This watch is as beautiful as it is fascinating. Not only does it have an in house movement, itís a fascinating movement that lacks a conventional rotor. Itís got a beautiful big date complication, an extremely well finished dial and it wraps it up in a classy, yet sporty, package.
Hereís the beautiful in house A1000óand believe it or not, this is an automatic.
Iíll admit, I had little awareness of CFB before this review, and Iím not sure why. This company has been making great watches for quite some time and this is only one of a compelling lineup. But whatever money they may have saved in marketing they obviously put into designing and making this watch, and boy does it show.
The dial is mesmerizing. At first glance, you are confronted with a solid black backdrop to its many subdials. First glances can be deceiving.
In fact, the dial features a beautiful, although very subtle, sunburst pattern. The light breaks into brown or gray halos depending on the color of the illumination.
Of course, thereís more than just a good sunburst finish to see here. Most notable is the massive big date complication at 11:00. This does use a double date window with two date rings underneath the dial (a ones and tens). This is a far more complex complication than the conventional single date window you find on most watches.
The big date complication is one of the rare innovations that actually make the watch a little more useful. Itís far easier to see on your wrist than a conventional date. The side benefit of the double date window is that the designer has much more flexibility to move it around the dial. They took advantage of that property on this watch and used a very unconventional location. Iím a huge fan of big dates and it was well executed here.
The watch also features a day complication. The Patravi is available without the day complication as well for those who like a cleaner dial. At first it can seem unbalanced, with all of the complications on the left side. This is actually the byproduct of the A1000ís design. CFB makes this movement with a third complication, a power reserve, which takes up much of the right side of the dial. Thus, this layout was quite likely more an engineering decision than an aesthetic one. I actually prefer the layoutóitís something novel. Symmetry is vastly overrated.
The Patravi also features a prominent seconds subdial. Interestingly, CFB chose to go with a non-circular shape here. I think it looks good, but mostly because it matches the border of the double date window. It has almost an art deco feel to me for some reason. The A1000 is actually a low frequency movement, so normally thatíd introduce stutter into the sweep hand, but due to the small seconds hand on the subdial, itís still very smooth.
The hands are surprisingly sporty for this watch. They use a sword shape and are partially skeletonized. The tip holds a generous amount of green lume. The skeletonization helps see through to the day and date when the hands are over them.
Wisely choosing to avoid numerals, the Patravi uses simple hour markers instead. Numbers would have confused things given the huge date display at 11:00 so this was a good call. There are small, but visible, luminous tips after each hour marker.
This all combines to create an exceptionally well finished and complex look. Itís beautiful, but not overpowering.
The case features a nice two-leveled bezel: a highly polished inner ring and a brushed outer ring.
The Patravi features a prominent crown flanked by crownguards.
The crown screws down to give this watch 50 meters of water resistance. This isn't particularly impressive at first, but many similarly priced dress watches are only rated for 10 meters.
The case is also a little reminiscent of the ďflying saucerĒ design. Itís an attractive fully polished design that flows nicely into subtle, quite short, lugs.
The caseback is, in a word, gorgeous. It almost comes off as a diver back, but the real show is in that amazing in house movement.
The Patravi featureís CFBís fascinating A1000 movement. This movement is designed and manufactured virtually entirely in house.
A lot of companies in the Patraviís price range produce in house movements, however. So CFB took it upon themselves to make something special.
The movement is very finely finished. The design almost reminds me of circuit boards. You can see CFBís logo subtly placed on the barrel.
It features a lot of sharp diagonal angles with a brushed finish. The recessed areas appear to be bead blasted. Itís a neat contrast, but more importantly, itís very unique.
But most interesting is the fact that the A1000 is not a handwound movement, as it first appears (although it can be handwound). Itís an automatic. The oscillating weight is now wrapped around the movement. You can see it in motion from the photo above to those below:
As you can see, the black weight is swinging around the movement without a large rotor impeding the view. CFB claims it makes the movement thinner (it looks that way to me, and it does come out to be slightly thinner than the industry standard, the ETA 2824) and that itís an efficient alternative to the conventional system. They've even developed a sophisticated system of shock absorbers for it, so it may even be tougher than a conventional rotor.
A lot of manufacturers would have stopped there, but CFB wanted to create a more shock resistant form of regulator and here is their achievement. It looks quite strange, quite a departure from the common Etachron variations seen in almost every company that uses a smooth balance. Essentially, the problem CFB is addressing is that movements that use this basic design are prone to ďderegulationĒ due to frequent shocks over a number of months or years. This approach is supposed to make the movement much more resilient and thus maintain its factory accuracy longer. I have no idea how well that works, but I can tell you that itís easily among the most accurate movements I've ever tested.
In general, I donít talk about my observed accuracy in these reviews because accuracy off the wrist, measured over a short period of time, and when the watch is brand new, is usually weak data. Conversely, when I write articles on my own watches, that data is measured dozens of times over a period of weeks. With that disclaimer said, this watch had a 0 second difference against a reference over a 4 day period. Dial up or crown up made no observable difference. Would it be that accurate on the wrist or in two months? Beats me, but I was very impressed. This movement isn't just for show.
As if all that weren't good enough, CFB went above and beyond and gave the A1000 a 55 hour power reserve, which is about 15 hours greater than the industry average of 40. Now this may be related to the fact that they went with a low frequency movement, but regardless, itís a good number that exceeds a lot of similarly priced watches like the Jaeger Master Control or Rolex Day-Date.
All in all, CFB has put something really special together here. It performs very well, it looks great and itís interestingówhat more could you want?
The Patravi is available with strap or bracelet. I have the strap model, but I did get to see some of their bracelets in person and the craftsmanship seemed superb. Today, however, weíll focus on the leather.
CFB uses a great unconventional clasp that doesn't use the conventional hole punches in the leather. Instead, you just slide the leather through a buckle and lock it in, where it stays until you want to change it.
The beauty of this mechanism is that itís infinitely variable. Personally, Iím always finding myself in between links or holes on all my watches. Not so with the Patravi. Iím sure people are going to have mixed feelings on this system, but I really liked it.
The leather used is great as well. This is one of the most compliant straps Iíve seen yet, despite it being quite thick. The white exposed stitching gives it a bit of flair without going over the top. It matches the watchís versatile character.
Itís interesting that CFB chose to let the stitching stay more close to the center of the strap. Iím always happy to see watchmakers experimenting, although I think I personally would like it in the more conventional location, at the very edge.
The inside of the strap is bright red, which is an interesting choice of palette.
The buckle is of course signed.
While my particular test Patravi didnít come on the bracelet, it didnít stop me from taking a few quick photos of some CFBs that did have the bracelet. They looked terrific, so maybe the next CFB I get to spend time with will have it.
As you can see, theyíre visually stunning. But I was really pleased with the leather strapóand I think Iíd probably stick with it if I were buying a Patravi for myself. But from the looks of it, you canít go wrong either way.
That beautiful sunburst dial, a big date and day complication (the latter optional), those skeleton handsóthis is an extremely versatile watch with terrific attention to detail.
And then youíve got this amazing and unique calibre, developed in house by CFB. This thing not only has cool gizmos and impressive looks, it performs very well too.
I love this watch. Itís got everything I personally look for. Itís got such broad appeal I donít know who to recommend this to in particularóit seems to just do everything well. If you get a chance to check one of these out in person, you've got to take advantage of it.
If you're interested in seeing more of Carl F. Bucherer, check out the Timeless Luxury Watches store or website. To read our other reviews or receive our weekly newsletter please visit our blog: An Authorized Dealer For Luxury Watches Frisco, TX | SBGR081 & SBGR083 Reviews