You see, this picture of the city that Lucerne was in 1888 reveals the importance and value it had. This period also
gave rise to a number of its landmark architectural developments, some of them hotels, which stand firm to this day.
In fact, it was in this season, in this city, that a certain César Ritz established the Grand Hôtel National in
Lucerne as the most elegant hotel in Europe.
We understand, therefore, that Lucerne’s residents and those who chose to visit the city, must’ve been people who
loved life and knew how to enjoy the finer things it offered. And when they opened the doors to their boutique on
the first day, Carl Friedrich and Luise Bucherer were more than cognizant of the world they were about to welcome
in. They knew that their customers would be of a certain means and education, which meant that they had to offer
objects of luxury and the extraordinary. But most importantly, they had to cater to this crowd in a way that would
inspire trust and, therefore, ensure patronage.
Clearly the Bucherers had this formula dialled in and, of course, they had earned the trust of their customers.
Because the story goes that just a few years on, the boutique had become so successful that there was enough
confidence for the couple to open further locations. The business at this point continued to offer watches and fine
jewellery, but Carl Friedrich himself saw that there was immense potential in the realm of wristwatches and greatly
shifted his focus towards retailing some of Swiss watchmaking’s crowning brands to great effect.
Perhaps, and ultimately, what garnered Carl Friedrich’s success was not so much a case of his astute business acumen
— which he certainly possessed — but of his passion for what he did. It is possibly the only way to explain the
trust he won from his customers in such a short time. But the greatest evidence of his passion is how his work
inspired his sons, Ernst and Carl Eduard Bucherer, to become a watchmaker and a goldsmith respectively.
The entire Bucherer family was now engaged in the business and in 1913, after a tour of various cities, it was the
brothers who first managed to establish the family name outside of Switzerland at 47 Unter den Linden, Berlin. Alas,
their presence in Berlin was short-lived when, in 1918, they had to leave the premises with the rise of the
revolution. But we go back to that quality of their father’s passion. It’s evident that this quality had rubbed off
on the brothers not just because of the professions they pursued, but also in Berlin, when in a brief five years,
they had managed to garner a superb base of customers, who were known then to travel to Lucerne to make their
purchases from the Bucherer family.
Passion for and confidence in their work is what formed the potent cocktail for the family’s next great venture:
their first wristwatch, which was produced in 1919. This joint effort by the brothers bore the name of the
collection, La Grande Dame. This was an intricate, highly faceted, rectangular timepiece, which was set on a
bracelet and targeted towards women. It is difficult to explain completely how courageous this endeavour was
because, let’s not forget, the family had chosen to invest in making their own wristwatches at a time when pocket
watches were the de facto choice for timepieces.
The Bucherers’ foresight was clearly spot on, because it was in the following decade that the Swiss watch industry
saw a huge surge in demand, exporting some 6 million timepieces in the swinging 1920s, a large portion of which was
attributed to the rise in the desire for wristwatches. Now compelled by the confidence that the family’s foresight
had brought, Ernst, Carl Eduard and his wife Wilhelmina Bucherer-Heeb ventured far across the Atlantic to progress
the business in Santiago, Chile in South America.
Wilhelmina was a gifted businesswoman herself. A story told about her recounts that while in South America, she
proved to be such a source of charm and confidence that she inspired a brand-new breed of Chilean watch lovers. It
is with deep sadness that we learn, therefore, that in 1927 the talented Wilhelmina met her end when she was on the
steamship Principessa Mafalda, bound for Buenos Aires, which sank and took her life and the lives of 314
In sadness, the Bucherer brothers returned to Lucerne to be with the family. But there would come another blow in
1934, when Carl Friedrich Bucherer breathed his last breath. Ernst and Carl Eduard were, of course, devastated but
they recognised fully well that the responsibility was on them now to build their father’s legacy into an
institution. With their combined technical knowhow, the brothers set the Bucherer’s watchmaking abilities on an
By the 1940s, Bucherer was producing ever more complicated timepieces. All of them, in catering to the calibre of
clientele they had amassed, were encased in solid or plated yellow gold. With the Second World War, there was a
further realignment of what the wristwatch represented to human beings. This led to the creation of the BiCompax
chronograph with central sweep seconds in the late 1940s, which became highly sought after by their customers, in
line with an increased interest among the elite for motor cars and gentlemanly motor racing. The watch had a
salmon-coloured dial which was set in a gold case.
The Bucherer family would lose Carl Eduard in 1951. But there was little time to mourn because as the decade marched
on, thanks in part to the world becoming a smaller place with travel becoming more accessible, Bucherer was visited
by customers who flew in from far and wide to Lucerne, making the brand a truly cosmopolitan one. And in order to
cater to the tastes of these jetsetters, the company produced its first world timer in gold, with two crowns with
the alternate one at 9 o’clock that allowed for adjustment of the internal city ring. A heightened standard of
chronometry was also introduced to Bucherer watches: they had antimagnetic protection and shock resistance,
perfectly suited to withstand the perils of frequent travel.
Present day Carl F. Bucherer also records that in the 1950s, while automatic mechanical watches were becoming the
choice of all watch lovers, the brand seized the opportunity to pursue a greater level of creativity with Bucherer’s
artisans showing off their flair for aesthetics with unusual watches mounted on brooches, necklaces and rings.
In the 1960s, it was thanks to the standard for greater chronometry set in the 1950s that allowed Bucherer to
specialize in chronometers and watches that could be marked on their dials with this point of differentiation. The
company was also poised to acquire Credos SA, which allowed for an expansion of watchmaking capabilities that saw
Bucherer become one of the top three chronometer manufacturers in Switzerland at the time.
A New Generation
In the same way that Carl Friedrich Bucherer had the foresight in the beginning to build his endeavour based on his
own passion and the confidence of his customers, the company at the time knew that by embracing new technology and
keeping true to the spirit of their watchmaking was the only way to navigate this season of uncertainty.
Challenging times often also require fresh eyes to bring new ideas and fresh insight into unprecedented situations.
Accordingly, it was decided in 1977 that Jörg G. Bucherer, son of Carl Eduard, would start his tenure as the leader
at the helm of the family company. He decreed that the best way to keep true to the company’s values while embracing
this new era was to independently manufacture both mechanical and quartz watches to equally exacting standards.
It was under Jörg G.’s leadership that the Bucherer Archimedes Perpetual Calendar was presented, a watch that
required that the date be set once every 400 years. But there weren’t just complications; there was also a gold
rectangular Bucherer Archimedes wristwatch with finely worked and extended sides, which was produced with style and
elegance in mind. This particular timepiece had a seconds subdial towards the lower half of the rectangle, the
minute dial towards the top, and at 12 o’clock, a jumping digital hour window.
At the turn of the 21st century, 2001 to be precise, Jörg G. Bucherer, in recognition of how deeply rooted the
company remained in his grandfather’s passion and spirit, decided that the brand should now bear its founder’s name.
And here’s proof positive of this fact: in 2008, with an understanding of the reality that people no longer wore
their wristwatches for utility but rather out of a pure emotional desire, Carl F. Bucherer, the company, developed
and manufactured the CFB A1000 movement, featuring the world’s first serially-produced peripheral rotor whose
oscillating weight orbits the movement. This patented peripheral rotor, of course, enabled the convenience of an
automatic movement and left an unencumbered view of the movement through a transparent sapphire caseback for the
watch lover’s enjoyment.
The idea behind the CFB A1000 was fine-tuned with the launch of the COSC-certified CFB A2000. This rapid progress
with the peripheral rotor mechanism gave the Manufacture Carl F. Bucherer the confidence to demonstrate its
now-established expertise. This it did by unveiling the Manero Tourbillon Double Peripheral in 2018, powered by the
in-house developed and manufactured CFB T3000 calibre, which boasts a floating tourbillon and an automatic winding
system that are both mounted peripherally. The innovative timepiece and movement’s pièce de resistance is that here
is a watch which keeps its juice using Carl F. Bucherer’s peripheral rotor knowhow and is regulated by a tourbillon
with a carriage driven at its periphery, making it look like a floating, beating heart. On top of all this, the
watch is a COSC-certified chronometer and features a stop seconds mechanism.
Innovation, while great, cannot be done at the expense of the past. And in this matter, while the Heritage Tourbillon
Double Peripheral Limited Edition is an absolutely contemporary creation, its 18-karat white gold bridge, visible
through the sapphire crystal back, is decorated with an elaborate engraving of a city view of Lucerne, an ode to
Carl F. Bucherer’s hometown. On the depiction of Lake Lucerne, the artisans at Carl F. Bucherer have included a
swan, whose position differs on each of the 88-piece limited edition timepieces, a fine nuance that further
underscores the unique character of each of these watches.
A quick side note on the Heritage collection of watches at this point. You see, the Carl F. Bucherer Heritage
collection resides under the universe of “Maison & Heritage”, which as the brand has chosen to reflect the
company’s dedication to contemporary craftsmanship and the art of traditional watchmaking that has defined Carl F.
Bucherer since its early days. The word Maison indicates that the timepiece is one which is equipped with one of the
brand’s in-house movements with the peripheral technology, unique to the company. Thereafter, the word Heritage
distinguishes the watches that are created to tangibly reflect and honour the history of Carl F. Bucherer and its
over 130 years of watchmaking. In summary, the Maison & Heritage timepieces embody the brand’s “Made of Lucerne”
mantra, meaning that each of these is an expression of the brand’s values and a loving tribute to its hometown.