Bucherer has long been one of the most important high-end watch retailers in Europe. It’s based in Switzerland, of course, and through its 36 locations in Europe has gained a reputation for selling many of the most important watches and brands in the world, collaborating with several of these brands on its successful “Bucherer Blue” series of watches. One need only look to the acquisition of Tourneau a few years ago, a move that saw the retailer enter the United States market in a very major way, to get a sense for just how big a player Bucherer is. A family-owned Swiss company since its founding in 1888, Bucherer also owns and operates the Carl F. Bucherer line of high-end wristwatches, named for its founder and known for classic designs and, more recently, its output of peripherally winding in-house calibers, including a tourbillon. But today, we’ve got something a bit different.
We’re taking a look at a watch collection that I’m sure many of you have seen before here on HODINKEE. It’s Carl F. Bucherer’s vintage-inspired chronograph, the Manero Flyback. The Manero Flyback’s tasteful sector dials with tachymeter scale have made for a compelling design over the last four years, and one that CFB has continuously iterated on since launching the first stainless steel version with black dial on a strap back in 2016. Later, Carl F. Bucherer followed up with several new dial colors and the option to buy the Manero Perpetual in one’s choice of gold as well as steel. Last year, a new stainless steel bracelet joined the collection, though only on a single, blue-dialed reference.
That bracelet took the form of nine rows of links – seven fairly skinny ones flanked by two larger outer ones, closing with a triple folding clasp. When it debuted on a new version of the Manero Flyback with a cool blue dial color, it upped the sport quotient of the Manero Flyback line considerably while, I think, further reinforcing the collection’s vintage-leaning vibe. Today, we’ve got three variations of the Manero Flyback that, while not new per se (they feature dials in black, blue-grey, and silver that already existed in the stainless steel Manero Flyback repertoire), are only now available on that sporty bracelet. In all, there are now 13 Manero Flyback references to choose from, and that’s accounting for case materials, dial variations, straps, and bracelets.
The announcement of the new Manero Flybacks caused me to think about how a bracelet can alter the character of a watch. Most obviously, the addition of a well-designed bracelet can up the sport quotient of any wristwatch, opening it up to wear in all four seasons, and in particular the warmer months, as well as all kinds of weather.
As a watch guy, I know this, of course. And likely so do you. But the effect can sometimes be a bit unexpected, as I learned recently. Grand Seiko’s SBGM221, for example, is a dress watch GMT that I’ve owned and loved for some time. I wore it to my wedding, and I hold it dear to my heart. To date, I’ve only ever worn it on straps, and fairly dressy ones at that, never really stopping to ponder what it might look like on a bracelet. When the HODINKEE Shop and Grand Seiko recently released the SBGM239, taking a case shape shared with the SBGM221, whose every angle I’d committed to memory, and paired it with a bracelet, the effect was, to me, totally unexpected. It felt like something completely new, and it actually made me think about finding a bracelet for my watch
To my eye, the effect achieved by Carl F. Bucherer in placing its Manero Flyback on a nine-row stainless steel bracelet offers a bit less of a visual surprise. Looking at these images, it makes pretty obvious sense, and I actually wonder why we’re seeing the bracelet four years post-launch. It makes for a much more compelling watch. To me, it calls to mind the old-school, old-money manifestations of a classic two-register chronograph with piston pushers on a supple, many linked, beads of rice bracelet, perhaps from the likes of Gay Frères. As far as looks go, this watch is certainly of a type, and one that would not be out of place at all on your wrist while drinking a spritzy orange-hued cocktail at a resort on any number of European Alpine lakes in the summer.
And though this is not your great-grandfather’s vintage, hand-wound chronograph from an august Geneva manufacture – assuming you were were lucky enough to have a great-grandfather disposed to such things – it is a modern and quite serviceable automatic chronograph that uses a modified version of the ETA Valjoux 7750 that includes a column wheel in lieu of the standard cam-and-lever system, as well as, of course, a flyback function.
But it’s the design elements of the watch itself – the domed crystal, the bi-compax chronograph dials, the beveled lugs, and of course the bracelets – that caught my eye. Sure, the 43mm diameter is on the larger side for a vintage-inspired chronograph, but I have a feeling that this pairing with a bracelet as opposed to a strap may mitigate the beefy size and make for a more coherent overall package. I’ve not yet seen any of these watches paired with the bracelet in person, but I’d like to soon.
Brand: Carl F. Bucherer
Model: Manero Flyback
Reference Number: 00.10919.08.13.21, silver dial; 00.10919.08.93.21, stainless steel, blue-gray dial; 00.10919.08.33.21, stainless steel, black dial.
Case Material: Stainless steel
Dial Color: Blue-grey, silver, black, or blue
Water Resistance: 30 meters
Strap/Bracelet: Did you read the article?
Caliber: CFB 1970 (derived from Valjoux 7750, with addition of column wheel and flyback)
Functions: Hours, minutes, small seconds, date, 30-minute chronograph with flyback
Power Reserve: 42 hours
Frequency: 28,800 vph
Pricing & Availability
Price: $ 6,600 on bracelet
For more, visit Carl F. Bucherer.