A Closer Look at the New Charles Zuber Perfos “Founder’s Edition”
Meet the intriguing steel sports watch from a new Geneva brand that pays tribute to a behind-the-scenes master jeweler from yesteryear.
You’d be forgiven if you’ve never heard of Charles Zuber. This Swiss master jeweler, born in 1932, worked under the radar for brands like Piaget from the 1960s onwards, after he relocated to Geneva from Lucerne and changed his name from Karl to Charles.
Though not a household name, Zuber’s design and gem-setting prowess earned him the respect of the industry. Meanwhile, his sunny disposition left his mark on those that met him including Vincent Perego, who first encountered Zuber at a jewelry trade fair in 2006.
Now, Perego – who has done gem-setting work for Patek Philippe, Rolex, and Audemars Piguet – has teamed up with jeweler Aram Garabetian and luxury goods entrepreneur Mohamed Hilal to launch a new brand that honors Zuber, who passed away a decade ago. And, in keeping with the man whose legacy inspires this new company, the Charles Zuber atelier in Geneva will create high-end jewelry with the “Pomander” being its first line.
What’s more is that Charles Zuber will also offer its own range of luxury timepieces, starting with the Perfos “Founder’s Edition,” a steel sports watch with an integrated chocolate-bar-link bracelet and proprietary automatic movement. And its 1970s aesthetic is the brainchild of acclaimed watch designer Eric Giroud.
Octagonal Case with Chocolate-Bar Bracelet
According to the brand, it took Giroud a year to perfect his design for the Perfos, and it shows in the manifold details of the case and dial. In fact, though the three-piece, stainless-steel case may seem square at first glance, it’s actually octagonal, with each side curving slightly.
While the bezel’s upper surface is flat and vertically brushed, its edges are chamfered and polished, catching both the light and the eye. The all-polished caseback features similar chamfering, while the caseband’s vertical brushing helps the polished and fluted crown, with faceted cabochon, to visually pop on the side of the watch.
Integrating seamlessly with the case is a steel bracelet bearing a three-link, grid-like design reminiscent of a bar of chocolate. Leather strap options are available, but this eye-catching bracelet with a folding clasp is one of the elements that make the Perfos stand out from the steel sports watch crowd.
Double-Plate Dial and Proprietary Movement
Giroud’s design touch is also evident in the Perfos’ harmonious dial, which features a double plate construction with triangular openings laser-cut into the upper plate to allow the polished minute indices of the lower plate to push through. To contrast with this busy periphery, the center of the dial – encircled by a ring for the hour indices – is clean and sober, with nothing but the Charles Zuber logo and a minimalist small seconds indication. Moreover, the fact that the hour and minute hands marry up with their corresponding indices exactly is another detail to admire.
Powering those indications is the Calibre 01, a proprietary automatic movement on display through the transparent caseback and evidently designed to fit the octagonal case. The linear feel of the bridges and even the gearing (signaled by five ruby jewels in a row) is offset by a sunray decoration that fans out from the micro-rotor. The latter bidirectionally winds the barrel to generate up to 38 hours of power reserve.
The Perfos with black galvanized dial and steel bracelet pictured on this page is the 39mm edition, priced at CHF 22,800, excluding taxes. Other 39mm case materials (including titanium, rose gold and yellow gold, white gold, and gem-set white gold) are also available, with prices adapted accordingly. What’s more, there is a white-dialed 42mm steel version.
On top of all that, Charles Zuber is offering a range of smaller, 36mm iterations featuring quartz movements and fancy dials, such as those pictured here with malachite and aventurine dial centers. Prices start at CHF 7,900, taxes excluded.
Watch fans will be able to check out the new Charles Zuber collection in the metal at Watches & Wonders 2023, where it will be one of the participating brands. For more details, please visit the Charles Zuber website.
(Photography by Pierre Vogel)