If you follow the UK watch market, you’ll have noticed the recent and rather sudden ubiquity of ‘Bucherer’. The name carries some familiarity, but only in a peripheral sense – you know you know it, but you can’t quite think why.
As of now, there are two reasons to plant the name front of mind. First is because the watch company Carl F. Bucherer has just launched in the UK; and the second is because it is being retailed by Bucherer, the Swiss watch retailer now popping up in places like Covent Garden and Selfridges, after it bought out and rebranded The Watch Gallery earlier this year. This is no coincidence – both watch brand and retailer are part of the wider Bucherer Group.
From small acorns… The first Bucherer shop, opened in Lucerne in 1888
Despite the sense of familiarity, for a UK audience the Carl F. Bucherer name remains something of a novelty – and one that piques interest. After all, it’s not every day that a watch brand with almost 130 years of history lands in this country, even if this feels less like a launch and more like an overdue entry into a market hungry for interesting, innovative products, particularly from a brand with a trusted backstory.
In Carl F. Bucherer’s case, that backstory begins in 1888 and in the baroque lakeside town of Lucerne, where Carl Friedrich Bucherer founded a small watch and jewellery shop. His company grew quickly, developing a reputation for quality and integrity that it’s never lost. Much of that is due to the fact that throughout its history, it’s remained family-owned and run – the current chairman is Jörg G. Bucherer, Carl Friedrich’s grandson.
Looking at the brand today, the first thing that jumps off the page is that Carl F. Bucherer makes some really very good looking watches. Prime among its five families is the Manero, a round-cased, mid-century design finely attuned to the sensibilities of British watch buyers. Tourbillon, perpetual calendar and chronograph models were joined at Baselworld this year by the Manero Powerreserve and three additions to the standout Manero Flyback line.
The Patravi line of tool watches is no less eye-catching. The new Patravi ScubaTec Manta Trust Limited Edition is a worthy addition to the canon of professional diver’s watches, offering 500 metres of water-resistance and an automatic helium escape valve. The charity benefitting from sales of the watch is based in the UK and works to conserve manta rays.
Behind the company’s watches are its in-house capabilities. In 2008, Carl F. Bucherer launched the CFB A1000 calibre, an automatic designed and developed in the company’s own manufacture that featured an innovative peripheral rotor, a concept no other brand had put into series production before. That was followed by last year’s CFB A2000, a chronometer-certified movement, also with a peripheral rotor, that, like its predecessor, features a patented shock absorption system. The peripheral rotor delivers the advantages of thinness and an uninterrupted view into the movement through a sapphire case back.
The Carl F. Bucherer Patravi ScubaTec Manta Trust Limited Edition is limited to 188 pieces and made in support of UK-based organisation, the Manta Trust. £4,500
With such an offering, the question British consumers will be asking is why we’ve had to wait so long. We can’t answer that, but there’s no question that Carl F. Bucherer is a worthy, if not significant addition to the UK market, and that its story and product will capture curious watch buyers. More so than many newcomers, it feels like it belongs already, such are the strength of its designs and in-house calibres. The wait has been long – but it has been worth it.
For more information, visit carl-f-bucherer.com. To view Carl F. Bucherer watches available in the UK, visit bucherer.co.uk.