While, globally, it is probably fair to say that the Carl F. Bucherer name is more associated with the Bucherer chain of retailers (especially since Bucherer’s strategic 2018 purchase of Tourneau in the United States), the company has been producing its own watches for the majority of its 135-year history.
Founded in Lucerne in 1888 by Carl F. Bucherer Manero Minute Repeater Anniversary, the brand began producing watches for ladies in 1919. Five years later, Bucherer forged an enduring retail partnership with Hans Wilsdorf’s Rolex. That relationship continues to this day and is what many people think of when they first hear the name Bucherer.
But for more than 100 years now, the brand has been making extremely covetable watches, specializing for decades in highly complicated movements, especially those in the chronograph, calendar, and striking categories. Here we have three unique minute repeaters released to mark the company’s 135th anniversary and designed to showcase the very best of what the brand has to offer.
The Carl F. Bucherer Manero Minute Repeater Anniversary watches feature my very favorite technical calling card of the Bucherer brand: the peripheral winding weight. These orbital rotors perform exactly the same function as a traditional, centrally-mounted oscillating mass, or a small, off-set micro-rotor, but they do so without impinging upon the pure aesthetic beauty of the movement.
But as much as I think peripheral rotor weights offer an enhanced aesthetic, there’s more to them than that. Upon its release in 2008, the CFB A1000 movement was heralded as the world’s first “reliably functioning” peripheral-rotor-driven caliber. The theory underpinning the development suggested that having an extremely dense mass rotating around a greater radius would not only facilitate the production of slimmer automatic watches but would also result in more efficient winding. Additional benefit is the unobstructed view of the movement.
Eight years later in 2016, the brand released the CFB A2000, which has an increased operating frequency (up to 4Hz from 3) and a free-sprung balance, improving the movement’s isochronism when subjected to shock.
In 2018, the CFB T3000 appeared, adding a tourbillon to proceedings. With this caliber, Carl F. Bucherer broke new ground. It became a signature movement for the brand. Today, the CFB T3000 and its close relatives such as the CFB T3001 (with an additional power reserve gauge, date, and 24-hour indicator) and the CFB MR3000 (the same watch but with a minute repeater complication) feature in 15 watches in the brand’s catalog.
The latter, the CFB MR3000, is the caliber that powers these three unique anniversary pieces, and it is, without a doubt, a watchmaking tour de force.
This release sees three wildly different colorways hit the market. There is an 18K yellow gold case with an olivine dial and fetching “moss” green nubuck strap (Ref. 00.10925.01.93.01), an 18K white gold model with a serene, light blue Mother of Pearl dial (Ref. 00.10925.02.83.11), and a thoroughly bonkers 18K rose gold model with a deep black gem-set dial and a gem-set bezel decorated with tsavorites, sapphires, and rubies (Ref. 00.10925.03.39.11). Each has a diameter of 43.8mm, a height of 12.47mm (making full use of that peripheral winding weight), and a paltry water resistance of just 1 bar (10 — yes, ten — meters).
As the year began, so it has ended: in early 2023, Carl F. Bucherer Manero Minute Repeater Anniversary launched three unique minute repeaters to kick-start the brand’s 135th birthday celebrations; now, as its anniversary year comes to a close, the Swiss watchmaker reveals an additional collection of three one-of-a-kind minute repeaters that epitomize its embrace of contemporary style and modern materials – Carl F. Bucherer Manero Minute Repeater Anniversary.
This second expression of the Carl F. Bucherer Manero Minute Repeater Anniversary not only represents the pinnacle of Carl F. Bucherer’s technical finesse – with each watch powered by its most intricate movement, featuring three peripherally mounted high complications – but also its progressive spirit as it seeks to remain at the heart of the zeitgeist.