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How Carl F. Bucherer Transformed From Heritage Watchmaker to Modernist Market Mover

You may have noticed people using “CFB” more often than “Carl F. Bucherer” recently. That’s part of the new image strategy of the luxury brand which is going more upmarket, more modern, and more refined—most obvious in the 2023 watches, whose offerings have been scaled down to three main collections: Patravi (adventure companion), Manero (urban lifestyle), and Heritage (inspired by watches in CFB’s archives). One of the main changes is a decided focus on the brand’s own highly technical movements, which are based on peripheral technology and feature automatic and complicated elements. “This focus on peripheral technology is answering the demand of our customers,” says Renato Bonina, chief sales officer at CFB, in part explaining the shift.

Carl F. Bucherer 135th anniversary capsule collection

Carl F. Bucherer 135th anniversary capsule collection Carl F. Bucherer

But the new outlook also includes bold colors and materials new to the CFB palette, ideas very visible in the five all-black Capsule Collection with forged carbon cases ($8,100 to $60,900), vibrant gem setting on the 18-piece limited Manero Tourbillon Double Peripheral Paradise ($158,500), and colorful dials on the Manero Peripheral ($7,900 to $8,400) and the latest Patravi Scubatec verde ($7,200), which officially launches in August 2023.

Carl F Bucherer Manero Tourbillon DP Paradise cropped

Carl F. Bucherer

The soft brand repositioning started early in 2023 with the Capsule Collection and will continue throughout the year, including the limited-edition Heritage Chronometer Celebration ($5,900 to $19,900), which is particularly attractive. The total number of references has been pared back to 120, down from more than 300, to facilitate the focus on the high end, and nearly 40 percent of global points of sale are being closed to ensure customer focus and quality, leaving approx. 260 open, including the 56 of Bucherer’s own retail operations. CFB considers its watches genderless, though some of the sizing might suggest otherwise. However, after trying on most of the 2023 timepieces, this author can appreciate that the case design makes the watches easy to wear on just about any wrist. And it doesn’t hurt that the new designs look and feel fantastic.

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