Founded in 1919 by Carl Friedrich Bucherer, the eponymous watchmaking brand soon saw its fortunes become entwined with those of the watch and jewellery distribution company set up in Lucerne in 1888 by the same entrepreneur. Having remained in operation from that date, its expansion took a significant turn in 2001 when its identity and collections underwent repositioning to acquire more international visibility. Another highlight of its existence was the post-refurbishment opening at Granges of a 3000 sq.m. workshop designed to keep pace with the serene and consolidated increase in in-house production. The afore-said production went from 6,400 pieces in 2011 to 25,000 watches in 2015, including 40% ladies’ models. An achievement indeed.
History of a birth
Tucked away in Lengnau, in the Berne region of Switzerland, the Carl F. Bucherer watchmaking house became a manufacturing workshop in 2007 following the launch of the in-house development and production of its first caliber. The CFB A 1000 soon became a series-produced item for equipping some of the brand’s high-end creations. In 2016, eight years after this resounding launch, the workshop was keen to extend its range with a new, more powerfully beating heart. Caliber CFB A 2000 is thus the culmination of several years’ work conducted in its research laboratory. Graphically faithful to the spirit of the first movement, the CFB A 2000 lays the foundations for a whole new family of ‘motors’ capable of offering the brand inroads into new watchmaking spheres.
Anatomy of a watchmaking ‘tractor’
In watchmakers’ terms, the word ‘tractor’ designates a high-powered benchmark caliber, designed for combination with a certain number of complications (in-built energy-saving modules or developments). The analogy with farming equipment is not negative in any way, but a fair comment on what watchmakers may rightly expect from such a movement, in other words that it can adapt to even the craziest refinements. Last year, nearly 6,000 pieces of the nigh-on 30,000 references produced and sold by the brand were fitted with calibers designed, developed and manufactured in-house. The prospect of being able to offer a second evolution of the movement, an even more efficient and multi-functional caliber, was evidently all that was required to boost the offering.
At the heart of the mechanics
The CFB A2050, measuring 30.6 mm in diameter and 5.28 mm in depth, like its predecessor, the famously innovative CFB A 1000, boasts a rotor that provides power when turning in either direction and is mounted peripherally of the movement. The extremely efficient rotor arrangement gives the piece the advantage of being able to retain all of the bridge adornments despite the atypical construction.
In order to guarantee a prime-quality gem of sobriety and masterpiece of contemporary design, the engineers at Carl F. Bucherer needed to rework several points, including the barrel torque, to give a universal movement capable of integrating various functions. As a result, the caliber is designed to offer 55 hours’ power reserve, sufficient operating time for it to go from Friday night to Monday morning without the need for further manual winding. The regulation system also required some adjustment. The precision regulation of this caliber represents something of a technical achievement all of its own. For perfect accuracy, the watchmakers at Carl F. Bucherer developed a totally free-sprung mass balance, in other words without the classic regulator, which undergoes no changes along its effective length. The timepiece’s rate can be adjusted by means of screws known as ‘masselottes’. These tiny weights are attached to the four arms of the balance to help vary the inertia of the balance wheel.
The balance beats at a rate of 4 Hertz, or 28,800 vibrations per hour, thereby offering excellent operating accuracy in all conditions of use, a factor that has earned this caliber its chronometer certification and the ability to guarantee ultra-precise daily performance.
Authenticity guaranteed, the innovative laser signature
For two years, the Carl F. Bucherer workshop has been using a laser signature to sign off and authenticate all of its creations. To achieve this, the watchmaking house has devised an innovative technology with the acronym CLR-Liga. Its aim is to effectively combat counterfeiting with a kind of microscopic tattoo developed by the Swiss company, Mimotec SA, in Sion. Having this unique and unfalsifiable marking integrated into the piece means certification is far easier, making it instantly possible to tell the original apart from the counterfeit.
This individual laser treatment provides even the smallest components with a diffractive surface that reflects light in the form of a unique signature. A complex four-stage process is required for producing this unique signature, comprising structural calculation, nanostructuring, photolithography and galvanization. Due to the number of stages and technologies involved in creating the authentification, counterfeiting is impossible. Moreover, this type of ‘secret’ signature is future-proof and indelibly etched into the very heart of the item.
Since 2014, all CFB A 1000 calibers have been sporting this signature and the new generation of workshop-crafted calibers described above likewise carries the certification. It guarantees the quality and innovation that have gone into the making of these products and into the design efforts taken to make them visually attractive.
This unique signature is in keeping with the company’s philosophy according to which quality is essential and the fruit of a long tradition backed by over 125 years’ experience. It also leaves the consumer secure in the knowledge that he has made a safe purchase and one that will continue to be recognised over time. This may seem like a tiny detail, but in a world where so many things are transient or superficial, it makes sense to be able to ensure some continuity and protect one’s assets.