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Carl F. Bucherer - The one that got away : the 2008 Carl F. Bucherer Patravi EvoTec

Carl F. Bucherer The one that got away : the 2008 Carl F. Bucherer Patravi EvoTec

« The one that got away » digs up timepieces no longer made, for worse, not better. Our column goes on to explore the Patravi EvoTec, with its suprisingly ergonomic case and awesome movement

2021 : all Carl F. Bucherer watches are round...at least those for men. Yet the brand had started to make a real name for themselves around 2008, thanks to a double introduction : their A1000 calibre and the squarish watch it was fitted in, the Patravi EvoTec.

Let's begin with the latter. On paper, it was hefty : 43.7 by 44.5 mm with a 14-mm thickness to boot. Moreover, a square occupies more space than a circle so this timepiece couldn't sit like one with an equivalent diameter. And yet, it felt awesome on the wrist (and by that I mean my really-small-for-a-guy 17-cm wrist).

Despite its dimensions, it felt just right, didn't bulge or sit outside the wristline, stayed in place on the arm as opposed to so many fat watches from that era : the Patravi EvoTec was all about curves. Its bezel was arched and the flanks were rounded, like a CRT tv-set some of you don't even know about (I'm looking at you, millenials !). Top that with short, vertical lugs and side-pieces around the crown to create even more curvature and there you have it : a watch that shouldn't wear well but very much does.

The one that got away : the 2008 Carl F. Bucherer Patravi EvoTec

Carl F. Bucherer Patravi EvoTec with blue dial © David Chokron/WorldTempus

 I'll admit this collection didn't survive the ancient curse of shape watches, which are notoriously hard to sell except for a handful of brands such as Cartier, Jaeger and Richard Mille. Soon, the Patravi EvoTec were replaced by circular versions of themselves, which had kept the thickness and lost the curves. What remained, though, was the calibre, which was another stroke of genius.

The one that got away : the 2008 Carl F. Bucherer Patravi EvoTec

The caliber CFB A1000 © Carl F. Bucherer

During the 1990's, a man known as François-Paul Journe and a nother named Denis Flageolet had created a movement manufacture-for-hire called THA, in a Jura-perched village called Sainte-Croix. It was later to be acquired by the behemoth of watch retail, Bucherer. A big client of THA, it had decided to start using in-house movements for some of their own-brand watches. In 2008, the manufacture introduced a movement for the ages.

The CFB A1000 had, among other advanced features, a modular structure. Without changing its height or manufacturing process, it could display, or not, day, large date, week number, power reserve and small seconds. Its main edge was its automatic winding system. It was based on a peripheral ring instead of a rotor.

The one that got away : the 2008 Carl F. Bucherer Patravi EvoTec

The Carl F. Bucherer Patravi EvoTec Power Reserve © Carl F. Bucherer

Such a device already existed in much much more sophisticated and expensive timepieces, whereas the Patravi Evotec retailed around 7000 € at the time. Carl F. Bucherer brought the winding ring to a much larger audience (and fellow watchmaking brands). It completely freed the view on the movement through sapphire casebacks. Which means it had worked around the obstacle of a semi-circular rotor and the shortcomings of a micro-rotor.

The one that got away : the 2008 Carl F. Bucherer Patravi EvoTec

The multi-curved case of the Patravi EvoTec © Carl F. Bucherer

On top of that, said back was finished with a modern edge to it, including geometrical bridges that felt completely out of the ordinary. The Patravi EvoTec even had a couple more aces up its sleeve : an asymmetrical layout and blue dials well before the frenzy. It was a trailblazer of a watch, comfortable, baroque. It had managed to transcend impressions and the old guard's rules. Have you seen so daring a timepiece lately ?

 

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Watches of technical perfection and beauty, through tradition and the force of innovation. Carl F. Bucherer is an independent Swiss watchmaker with expertise in the production of precious contemporary watches in the premium market.

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