The History of Carl F. Bucherer

The history and development of the Lucerne-based watch brand is closely linked to the person of Carl Friedrich Bucherer. A visionary who created timepieces that moved with the times, in the truest sense, always combining extravagance and aesthetic appeal in extraordinary ways. Today, the watches created by Carl F. Bucherer remain exclusive statements of the time.

In 1888, Carl Friedrich Bucherer opened a jewelry and watch shop in Lucerne, and his name rapidly became a synonym for quality and originality. His two sons were destined from the cradle to follow him into the profession: one learned to become a watchmaker while the other trained as a goldsmith. Today, the combination of these two artistic skills is still reflected in the perfect form of watches, which are truly pieces of jewelry.


Launched in 1919, the Art-Deco-inspired ladies’ watch collection from Bucherer was a revolutionary development. Carl Friedrich Bucherer was one of the first to focus on the wristwatch, still very much an innovation at the time. Whether set with jewels or presented in an octagonal case, these Art Deco watches were soon to conquer the world of ladies’ wristwatches. Dazzling ladies’ watches were also a dominant feature of the 1920s. One masterpiece was a platinum watch with a case and bracelet set with 170 diamonds. During the 1930s, watches in unusual shapes became increasingly fashionable. The silver brooch watch in the form of a horse-drawn carriage was set with marcasite. The door of the carriage opened to reveal the watch, which had its numeral 12 set at the bottom so that the time could be more easily read. Delicate ladies’ watches with leather straps also became legendary. The often slender case was made of gold, and the dial was mostly decorated in typical contemporary style. The case too often had ornaments based very much on the Art Deco style. Where men’s watches were concerned, sophisticated functions were much in demand in the 1930s: with its jumping hours display, which, unusually, is indicated via a disk, the “Rolex Prince C. Bucherer’s” wrote history. Yet even the classic pocket-watch was still contemporary: with a small-seconds display and a champagne-colored dial, Bucherer showed that innovation and elegance were by no means mutually exclusive.


The 1950s and 1960s were very much dominated by confidently stylish men’s watches. Elegance and functionality were combined in the sophisticated design of these timepieces. With their symmetrically arranged counters, Bucherer chronographs were truly eye-catching. Often the dial was perfected with practical indications such as a tachymeter scale. Watches did more than simply show the time; they became a reflection of the personality of the wearer. For ladies, watches were created that were simultaneously items of jewelry, with dials hidden behind covers in the shape of blooming flowers. Splendid watches were created from fine materials and decorated with filigree elements. A technological highlight of the 1970s was the “Archimedes”: combined with a world time mechanism, this diver’s watch was very much ahead of its time. Bucherer was also investing a great deal of energy and know how in the development of the legendary Beta 21 quartz movement. In 1970, the first ever Swiss quartz watch bore the Bucherer name on its dial. Made of stainless steel, its glowing orange index marks were very much in the fashion of the time. The gold watches that were typical of that decade also formed part of the Bucherer collections. For the ladies’ watches, the dials were set into white gold bracelets and decorated with diamonds. For the 100-year jubilee in 1988, the watchmakers at Bucherer designed a pocket-watch, very much in the style of the year in which the company was founded. And in doing so they demonstrated that mechanical skills still play a dominant role in the manufacture of watches, right up to the present day.


Over the course of time, watches from Carl F. Bucherer have become increasingly complex: multiple time zones and the complication of the perpetual calendar have been added to the chronographs and the moon phase indication. With perfect timing, to coincide with the jubilee, the Lucerne-based watch brand is launching four special models that skillfully combine tradition with contemporary design and the highest achievements of technology. In the Manero Power Reserve, the precise CFB A1011 Manufacture movement is for the first time integrated into a Manero, which has a power reserve indication to show the wearer at all times how much energy remains in the watch. As a tribute to Carl Friedrich Bucherer, the founding father who gave the company its name, limited editions of the Manero MoonPhase and the Patravi TravelTec FourX have been created. For the ladies, a model named the Alacria RoyalRose has been created, with a twining floral dial that seems to bring time itself into bloom.