Peripheral winding is not a niche technique at this Lucerne manufacturer.
The massive model of a Carl F. Bucherer CFB A1000 movement, fully fifteen-feet in diameter and complete with a rotating peripheral weight, has been a horological beacon to the technically curious since it first appeared on the company’s booth at Baselworld five years ago. And while the large-scale model continues to fascinate, the original wrist-sized inspiration and its multiple updates increasingly underscore the technical daring of this Lucerne-based watchmaker.
Carl F. Bucherer designed the CFB A1000 – Switzerland’s first modern peripherally wound automatic movement made in a series – in 2008 and has updated the caliber with newer technology and additional functions several times since.
At this year’s Baselworld, those who ventured inside Carl F. Bucherer’s multi-level stand were rewarded with a look at the Manero Tourbillon Double Peripheral and its caliber CFB T3000, the very latest iteration of that groundbreaking caliber. The newest version not only adds a tourbillon to the peripherally wound caliber (hence, the T in its name), but also expands the peripheral theme to now include how the watch displays that tourbillon.
The new CFB T3000 movement features a tourbillon that, like the automatic caliber powering it, is mounted around the edge of its aperture, along the periphery. This means the wearer has an unhindered view of the regulator both from above and below. The device appears to float within the movement, just a bit more freely than, for instance, a flying tourbillon, which is still attached to the mainplate. The secret? Carl F. Bucherer watchmakers have designed the three (unseen) ceramic ball bearings to support the tourbillon cage along its edge. (The company has applied for a patent for this tourbillon design.)
To call attention to its technical innovation, Carl F. Bucherer has placed the whirlwind at the 12 o’clock position within the Manero Tourbillon Double Peripheral’s 43mm rose gold case.
The escapement itself has a pallet and escape wheel made from lube-free, anti-magnetic silicon. This means the watch operates with a longer power reserve than do most with tourbillon calibers. Expect a power reserve of at least 65 hours, according to the brand. These silicon components also help the caliber meet COSC chronometer standards. Since the tourbillon cage rotates around its own axis once every minute, Carl F. Bucherer has wisely added a gold seconds hand to the cage and makes its easy to synchronize the hand with a stop second function, another helpful technical asset.
The new Manero Tourbillon Double Peripheral is a technically advanced dress watch boasting a contemporary automatic caliber design. The dial recalls many mid-20th-century watches, but the view of the back, with its lightning-shaped aperture framing a selection of the gear train, reveals an edgier profile that recalls previous CFB caliber designs.
By doubling down on its own fairly new technical legacy, Carl F. Bucherer continues to attract collectors in search of contemporary Swiss innovation. And while more watchmakers have begun developing their own watches with peripheral rotors, notably Cartier, DeWitt, Bulgari, Audemars Piguet, Piaget, Breguet and most recently Vacheron Constantin, most of those offerings are at the premium end of the price scale.
Expect these generally higher prices to change, eventually, as more watchmakers experiment with peripheral rotor systems (including new companies like Code41), potentially reducing costs and increasing options. Why hide a large portion of a nicely decorated automatic movement under a rotor if it’s not technically required?
For the foreseeable future, however, Carl F. Bucherer’s decade of research and production with peripheral rotors will most likely help it maintain its leading role within this still-niche category.
The company proves its mettle once again this year with a wider range of peripheral rotor offerings, including several moderately priced models. While the gold-cased Manero Tourbillon Double Peripheral described above is priced at a fairly steep $72,300, one of the four new 43mm steel-cased Carl F. Bucherer Manero Peripheral watches with the same technology (minus the tourbillon) can be had for $7,200. A gold-cased Manero Peripheral, also new this year in the larger size, is priced at $18,800. Both these new Manero debuts supplement existing 40.6mm steel and gold Manero Peripheral models that the company debuted in 2016.
Carl F. Bucherer Manero Tourbillon Double Peripheral
Movement: Automatic CFB T3000 manufacture caliber with peripherally winding oscillating weight, COSC-certified chronometer, power reserve of at least 65 hours
Functions: Tourbillon, hour, minute, small seconds, stop-seconds function
Case: 43.1mm rose gold, convex sapphire crystal with anti-reflective coating on both sides, sapphire crystal case back, water-resistant to 30 meters, height 11.57 mm
Dial: Silver-colored with appliquéd rose-gold-plated indices
Strap: Hand-stitched Louisiana alligator leather in dark brown, folding pin buckle in 18-kt. rose gold