Towards the end of Baselworld 2018, Bert and I visited Carl F. Bucherer for a meeting. I have to say it was not only pleasant and relaxing but also very entertaining and interesting in terms of what we saw. It was my first encounter with the brand and while I know of them, I’ve not had the pleasure of handling their timepieces. Needless to say, both Bert and I were quite impressed by the overall quality and design of the watches. The 2018 novelties from Carl F. Bucherer, at least the ones we saw, are not small pieces with 39mm and up. Today we will talk about their chronograph; the Manero Flyback.
Carl F. Bucherer vs. Bucherer
First, I’d like to give you a bit of a run-down on the company. I’m sure many of you are already familiar with the Swiss luxury watch retailer giant, Bucherer. They have stores in Switzerland, Germany, England, France, Austria, and Denmark. Bucherer also acquired the American retailer Tourneau in 2018 stepping into the US market. Today, Bucherer is one of the few Swiss retailers still in the hands of the founding family. They have a signature blue collection which they create in collaboration with brands they carry. You could read about previous models here (Tudor), here (Blancpain) and here (Vacheron Constantin). Carl F. Bucherer (owned by Bucherer, the name comes from the founding father who in 1888 established the Bucherer retail company) is a relatively young brand having been established in 2001 after the repositioning of the company. Their first model line was the Patravi collection which is still among the best sellers of CFB.
Carl F. Bucherer has 5 collections; Patravi, Manero, Adamavi, Pathos, and Alacria. While the Patravi represents the sportier lane with its Patravi Traveltec and Patravi Scubatec, the Manero is a rather elegant line. Still, the Manero timepiece, as you will soon see, don’t lack complications. Their overall design is more elegant and classic. Manero watches often come in precious metal cases, with complications such as power reserve indication, perpetual calendar, chronograph, tourbillon or a combination of the aforementioned features. From this fairly exquisite collection, I chose to talk about this chronograph. The Manero Flyback (CFB’s 2018 novelty with the black dial) has no fancy moon phase indicator or big-date window. Yet, it has charm and charisma. That has a lot to do with the Manero’s design. While the timepiece looks modern it still has many subtle elements of a bygone era.
As I mentioned above the Manero like most Carl F. Bucherer watches has a large case. By large I mean 43mm in diameter, not including the crown. The thickness is 14.4mm which is not too thick especially if you consider that it has an automatic movement inside. Out of the 7 different Manero Flyback models, 3 come in 18K gold cases, the other 4 are in stainless steel. Overall, the finish on the case is just spectacular. For a dressier watch like the Manero Flyback, the bezel is quite thick adding a bit of chunkiness to the look. The lugs have brushed tops and polished sides broken by a polished bevel. One of my favourite details are the pump-pushers on the side for the chronograph. Both pushers and the crown are large and easy to operate. They do not look disproportioned compared to the case. Bucherer’s logo found its place on the crown.
A watch like this has to have a display back. Luckily, this is what the designers at Carl F. Bucherer also agreed upon. The result is a sapphire crystal display case back that lets us admire the beautiful in-house movement. Often, brands put all sorts of (sometimes unimportant) information on the back. Well, Carl F. Bucherer is not such a brand. The case back of the Manero Flyback is really simple. Reference number, water resistance (30m) model name. That’s it. You can find minimal decoration on the back, but the most important part is obviously the movement. Interesting to see that not only the top but the bottom of the lugs are brushed too. This matte finish, especially on the top with the shiny bezel, works very well together. Pair it with a dark dial and the watch looks significantly smaller on the wrist.
Now that we took a look at the watch from the outside let’s move in and inspect the movement. As said before, Carl F. Bucherer has their manufacture movement inside the Manero Flyback. It is the CFB 1970 automatic caliber with 25 jewels and 42 hours of power reserve. The FCB 1970 is oscillating at 28,800 beats per hour. As you’d expect from a movement with a flyback function it is pretty large as well being a bit over 30mm and almost 8mm thick. Beyond the technical details, the caliber is also pleasing for the eye. The rotor as Geneva stripes as well as parts of the movement. The plate has a perlage finish while blued steel screws also emerge from the monotone but shiny silver colure steel case.
The Manero Flyback is not a 2018 novelty by Carl F. Bucherer. This version (steel case and black dial) is a new combination though. At first glance, the dial seems somewhat busy. Yet, it is easy to read and once you get used to it, this feeling slips away. You can actually find two concentric circles diving the dial into three parts The tachymeter ring is on the edge of the dial, this is the first circle. In the middle circle, you have the applied, polished steel indexes. Their tips are touching the rim of the third circle which is the inner part of the Manero Flyback’s dial. The chronograph sub-dials (at 3 o’clock and 9 o’clock) and the index aperture (large window at 6 o’clock) are the only details breaking this circle. The name is prominently sitting under the 12 o’clock while the model name is above the date window.
The Carl F. Bucherer Manero Flyback in this execution (steel case, black dial, alligator strap) retails for €5.500 (German retail price). Keep in mind that while Carl F Bucherer is not one of the big brands out there, the watch still has a flyback chronograph movement that has been developed in-house. For the gold versions, the price tag is just below €16,000. For this, you get the Manero on an alligator leather strap (22mm) and folding pin buckle in gold. There is no bracelet option for the Manero Flyback…yet. Undeniably the brand has a huge history not only as a retailer but also as a watch manufacturer.
If you wish to visit Carl F. Bucherer’s website, please do so here.