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125 Years‘ Swiss History of Time by Carl F. Bucherer July 2013

Project management and editorial team Bucherer Montres S.A., Lucerne Convensis Group, Stuttgart Art direction Kerstin Vorwalter, Ulm English translation: LocaSoft GmbH / Kevin White

Copyright by Carl F. Bucherer a brand of Bucherer Montres S.A. Langensandstrasse 27 CH-6002 Lucerne Tel. +41 41 369 70 70 Fax +41 41 369 70 72


125 Years’ Swiss History of Time

Contents Foreword Page 5

How it all began Page 7

1888 A vision becomes reality Page 11

1889 – 1920 Times of learning and travel Page 17

1920 – 1930 Eventful times Page 25

A dynamic life – Wilhelmina Bucherer-Heeb Page 32

1930 – 1950 An era of upheaval and transformation Page 35

1950 – 1960 The economic miracle and a time of renewal Page 43

1960 – 1970 The decade of icons Page 50

1970 – 1980 Flower power – a prosperous decade Page 59

The collection of a genius Page 66

1980 – 1990 The decade of freedom Page 69

1990 – 2000 Technical advancement and global integration Page 75

2000 – 2012 Millennium Page 81

2013 A vision of time Page 87

Credits Page 91

125 Years’ Swiss History of Time



125 Years’ Swiss History of Time

Dear reader, dear friend of the Carl F. Bucherer brand, 125 years have passed since my great-grandfather Carl Friedrich Bucherer made the dream of having his own business in Lucerne come true. This anniversary presents us with the wonderful opportunity to tell some of the exciting stories from that time and take a look at the fascinating history of our family-run business. The years since the company’s founding have not only shaped my hometown of Lucerne and Switzerland itself, but have also contributed to significant milestones in the history of timepieces. The company’s ability to uniquely combine its skills in the arts of jewelry and watchmaking was apparent in the very first watch collection that came from Bucherer in 1919. What my great-grandfather exemplified as the founder – his visions, his values and his love of detail – all live on in the company and through the people who manage it today. The things that are particularly close to my heart are the sustainability, the long-term direction, the authenticity and sensibility that all make the Carl F. Bucherer brand what it is. Seen in its entirety, the 125 years since Carl F. Bucherer opened his first store tell a unique company history that in many ways is connected to Switzerland, Europe and the whole world. This book not only merges the history of the Bucherer enterprise with the history of the watch and the world. It also embodies a proud legacy that is at once an inspiration – this story wants to be continued. Come with me on an evocative journey through time, from the beginnings of our small family-run operation in Lucerne to a renowned international brand that can look proudly into the future.

Jörg G. Bucherer President of the Supervisory Board of Bucherer Montres S.A.

125 Years’ Swiss History of Time



125 Years’ Swiss History of Time

How it all began‌

A few years before the actual founding of the company in 1888, Carl Friedrich Bucherer, father of the company founder of the same name, opens his first company in Basel. All sorts of goods are on sale at this toy and hardware store. The selection ranges from knives and buttons to binoculars and watch chains. Nobody expects at the time that a globally renowned and respected company will eventually emerge from this small family-run enterprise. Son Carl Friedrich is born in 1865, not long after the company first opens its doors. With the abilities endowed to him at birth, the support of his family and his unerring ambition, it is the beginning of a special chapter in contemporary Swiss history.

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Sensual luxury

This exclusive watch for women is set with 170 diamonds on the bezel, among them two brilliant-cut stones that are nearly 6 mm in diameter each. The case and bracelet are made of platinum.

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1888 A vision becomes reality The year 1888 is an extraordinary one. It is a year of change, upheaval and transformation. It is also the beginning of a new era in Swiss watch history: in Lucerne’s Falkenplatz, Carl Friedrich Bucherer and his wife, Luise, open the first store under the name Bucherer. Bucherer gets his financial stability and unique sense of aesthetics from his father, who had already opened his own toy store in Basel. It is not yet clear where the new enterprise will lead, what story it will tell and what milestones will be achieved, but the artistic talents of Carl Friedrich Bucherer and the bold entrepreneurial spirit of his wife, Luise, give them reason to look optimistically into the future.

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1888 Carl Bucherer announces the opening of his son’s business in the Lucerne daily newspaper.

A look at the Bucherer cash ledger from the first few months after its opening.

Carl Friedrich Bucherer opens the first Bucherer shop on Falkenplatz.

Impressions of Lucerne A view of the lake of Lucerne from the train station.

Richard Wagner Weg is a street named after the German composer who lived for six years in the Tribschener Landhaus (right) on the lake of Lucerne.

The Chapel Bridge is the city’s most recognizable icon. Over 200 meters in length, it is the oldest and longest covered wooden bridge in Europe.

The year 1888 is part of a decade that promises upheaval and paves the way for the “fin de siècle”. The period between 1885 and 1914 is considered by many to be the end of the “world of yesterday” and the beginning of the modern era. Grandiose ambitions and gilded decadence define the mindset of the times while technical accomplishments, designs and inventions are the driving forces of a dynamic epoch. Examples of this spirit include the Eiffel Tower (1887-1889), a structure that was meant to be torn down 20 years after its completion but which established itself in 1900 at the World’s Fair as a permanent icon of the French capital. Automobile history is written by Bertha Benz as she takes the first overland journey in a car with her two children. On August 5, 1888, she drives with her husband Carl’s motorcar from Mannheim to Pforzheim - without him knowing. One other journey is etched into the collective memory as well: On August 17, 1888, the Pilatus railway successfully makes its first run up to Lucerne’s Mount Pilatus - the incline is 48 per cent, making it the steepest cog railway in the world. In the political arena, 1888 goes down in German history as the “Year of the Three Emperors”. Within just three months, three generations of monarchs reign over the German Empire.

The political landscape in Switzerland is also in a state of flux. On October 21, 1888, the Swiss Labor Convention founds the Social Democratic Party of Switzerland. On the other side of the Atlantic, Benjamin Harrison becomes the 23rd president of the United States. Sporting history is written by Scotsman William McGregor in England when he founds the world’s first professional soccer league: “The Football League”. Literature and art flourish in the 1880s like never before. Vincent van Gogh’s famous Sunflowers first grace the canvas in August of 1888. After opening its doors in 1881, the Moulin Rouge intoxicates Paris with its opulent decadence. Extravagance has also returned to the world of fashion. The Polonaise style is rediscovered, this time featuring a wavy folded overskirt and playful details such as ribbons, bows and ruffles.

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The era of the pocket watch

The first pocket watches emerged at the end of the 15th century as a result of the development of the tensioned steel spring. Unlike weight-driven clock mechanisms, these springs provide energy in any position and even while in motion. Still, pocket watches suffer from reliability and precision issues, a fact that frustrates many owners. All of that changes in 1674 with an invention by Dutch mathematician Christiaan Huygens. He develops his own oscillating system based on the interplay between balance and spiral springs. The principle proves to be precise and efficient enough to gain wide acceptance in the watchmaking world - indeed, it is still used in modern mechanical watches. One hundred years later, Abraham-Louis Perrelet, member of a wellknown family of watchmakers in Le Locle, has an idea that comes very close to the concept of perpetual motion. He designs a move-

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ment whose mainspring is wound up by the motion of the timepiece. In reality, however, watches kept in pockets are not in motion often enough to guarantee the spring will be wound. Numerous attempts in subsequent years fail to improve operating reliability of the automatic winder. As a result, the idea is shelved and the hand-wound movement remains the standard until well into the 20th century. In 1888, as Carl Friedrich Bucherer is opening his shop in Lucerne, pocket watches are becoming a must-have accessory for men. Since the middle of the century, watches can be easily wound by the crown - before that a special key had been required to wind a timepiece. The first small batches of wristwatches are already in the development stage, but demand does not increase to viable levels until the end of the 19th century. The commercial success of the wristwatch comes a generation later.

The pocket watches of the 1930s are based on designs from the 1880s.

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Ornamental style

Art deco watches adorn the wrists of ladies everywhere.

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1889–1920 An era of learning and travel The first few years of Bucherer’s business in Lucerne are filled with momentum and growth. The store on Falkenplatz quickly becomes too small; new premises are found in the Kapellgasse and then on Kapellplatz. With clever foresight, Carl Friedrich Bucherer decides to provide his sons with good educations. Ernst Bucherer spends three years at the watchmaking school in St. Imier while Carl Eduard Bucherer goes to London to learn goldsmithing. In 1913, after completing their studies, both brothers get into the family business. Ernst and Carl Eduard are very close and make a perfect team with regard to the craftsmanship of watchmaking. It comes as no surprise, then, when they decide to open a goldsmith studio in

Berlin together. The shop at 47 Unter den Linden quickly becomes an establishment with a good reputation, which results in strong growth in their customer base and even a bit of attention from the emperor: The Bucherer brothers soon become suppliers to the royal court. These successful times are marked by the launch of their first collection of ladies’ watches in 1919. The new models become available at the Bucherer stores under the name C. Bucherer. The watch design emulates the earlier art deco style and perfectly fits the spirit of the times, while also skillfully combining the outstanding craftsmanship of the two brothers.

La Grande Dame

This ladies’ watch is one of Bucherer’s first timepieces.

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Enthusiastic fans cheer on the FC Luzern soccer team.

La Belle Époque


The pioneers of FC Luzern.

Street scenes from the era The lakeshore promenade covered in snow.

Schwanenplatz at the turn of the 20th century.

Over the rooftops of Kapellgasse.

Colorful commerce on the marketplace.

The National Quay attracts visitors for a stroll.

After the Franco-Prussian War, 1871 marks the beginning of an era of peace in Europe that lasts 43 years, until World War I breaks out in 1914. The period after 1890 is considered one of the most fascinating epochs in European history and though the exact dates are not agreed upon, it is associated with a particular emphasis on cultural advancement. Virtually no other era boasts the quantum leaps of discovery made by noteworthy artists, scientists and contemporaries, many of which take place in Europe’s most influential countries: England, France, Austria-Hungary and Germany. Many new discoveries are made in physics in particular. Röntgen discovers gamma rays in 1895 and the Curies discover radium in 1898. Max Planck’s quantum theory is released just in time for the turn of the century, and in 1905 Einstein brings us the theory of relativity. Sigmund Freud, who had founded the study of psychoanalysis in 1890, enriches the world of medicine with a scientific approach to the human soul. The emergence of La Belle Époque can most effectively be explained by the second wave of industrialization that sweeps the globe at that point in time. For the population, it means immense gains for society and increased prosperity. The positive developments help transform social consciousness and inspire a gradual sense of dissatisfaction with tradition and established institutions. Attitudes toward work also change as a result. In industry, manufacturing processes are rational-

ized by the division of labor; workers begin organizing themselves into unions and political parties. A desire is awakened among all strata of society to live and experience the extraordinary. The spirit of the times is characterized by a sense of exuberance and freedom that can be most palpably felt in the cafés and cabaret establishments of Paris’ Montmartre district, in the artist galleries and studios, and on the boulevards of the capital. Recreational travel becomes increasingly popular due to the already greatly expanded transport system and rising incomes. Attractive destinations include the 1889 World’s Fair in Paris and the first modern Olympic Games in 1896 in Athens. The ability to cross borders is also felt in the arts, which manage to become a part of everyday life. After the worldwide public showing in Berlin in 1895, Jules Chéret and Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec make advances in Paris in color lithography. Their efforts enable the cost-effective printing of stylized posters that become “street art” and awaken a “passion for collecting among the masses”. Significant figures in this artistic wave, from impressionism to art nouveau and cubism, include Paul Cézanne, Franz von Stuck, Pablo Picasso and Gustav Klimt. In the musical world, Gustav Mahler’s unfinished symphony goes into the history books after his death in 1911.

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From the pocket to the wrist The era around the turn of the 20th century is filled with massive change in the watchmaking world. The process is slow initially, but the momentum for wristwatches grows rapidly among the population, and the pocket watch is gradually pushed out of its top spot. Wristwatches are already being sporadically manufactured in the 19th century. Meanwhile, pocket watches are being fitted with leather straps or steel clasps so they can be worn on your wrist. Telling the time is sometimes secondary for timepieces as more opulent, ornamental bands take priority over hidden time displays. Still, the wristwatch remains an exotic creature until the end of the 19th century. There are technical reasons for this as well. Carried on your wrist, timepieces are more exposed to damaging motions and impacts, all of which affect timekeeping precision. In addition, a wristwatch requires a movement whose design is very complex for the state of technology at the time. But mechanical advancements help to overcome these issues. At the start of the 20th century, women’s wristwatches in Lucerne become very popular, particularly among travelers and tourists. Yet it is not the ladies of society who promote wristwatches; it is a new class of working women who push the trend. Increasing numbers of women begin appearing in public and professional circles. Wristwatches establish themselves as a practical accessory at the time. Compared to the classic women’s watch, the risk of losing it is minimized, and the time is easier to read. Wristwatches also satisfy the desire to wear jewelry.

Playful watches as a lipstickholder were trendy in the 1920s.

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But it is the dark times that contribute most tellingly to the growing popularity of the wristwatch. During World War I, soldiers quickly recognize that pocket watches are a burden in combat conditions. Wristwatches on the other hand are quick and easy to read in hectic situations. They thus enjoy a rapid rise in popularity over a short period of time amongst military personnel. At the same time, demand among the civilian population increases dramatically. By the end of the war, wristwatches are being worn all over the world. The timepieces of the age resemble contemporary models but possess their own peculiarities. In particular, many models around the turn of the century have differing dial designs. The “twelve” points to your hand, where the winder crown is located, and, together with the “six” forms a perpendicular axis on the watch, which follows the direction of the wristband. Wristwatches are also outfitted with an extra protective grill or a hinged cover to protect the glass over the dial. This is particularly true among the military watches from the war and the various offshoots of those models. Their hands and index marks are often coated with radioactive luminous material. Compared to pocket watches, which are carried on the body, the wristwatch moves around much more during the course of a day, which means that the previously dismissed concept of an automatic winder becomes increasingly relevant in the following years.

La Belle Époque

The practical rectangular shape was often more popular than the round watches of the era.

In 1900, fashion begins to free itself from the constraints of the corset. In architecture, the initial trends toward the Bauhaus style emerge. The motto “form follows function” by American architect Louis Sullivan becomes the guiding principle; it dictates a reduction or complete omission of all forms of ornamentation. This reform movement also makes an arrival in the arts and crafts. Furniture and living spaces are freed of swank and splendor while

true functionality comes to the fore. The credo developed by art professor Alfred Lichtwark in 1896 becomes the modus operandi: “Don’t have anything in your house that you do not deem functional or that you simply see as beautiful.” A prime example of the perhaps overly boisterous Belle Époque is the sinking of the Titanic on April 15, 1912: with that ship went the optimism and naiveté people had newly embraced with regard to technology.

The long-lasting power reserve makes this pocket watch a real rarity. Fully wound, it would tick along for eight days.

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Seduction in turquoise

The case on this ladies’ watch has an enamel finish typical of the art deco style.

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1920–1930 Eventful times It is primarily the political unrest in Berlin in 1922 that leads Carl Eduard and Ernst Bucherer to give up their business in the capital and leave Germany all together. Ernst, for his part, also has a strong desire to travel. He becomes particularly enchanted by South America on his journeys around the globe. The watchmaker travels a total of 26 times between Europe and South America, fascinated again and again by Buenos Aires, Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo. In the 1920s, Ernst Bucherer establishes wholesale operations in Argentina and Chile with his brother Carl Eduard and Carl’s wife Wilhelmina. These successful years are unfortunately interrupted by a fateful blow: Wilhelmina Bucherer-Heeb dies in a shipwreck while traveling between the continents after procuring watches and jewelry in Europe intended for the South American markets. Her passage in the fall of 1927 ends with the sinking of the ship and Wilhelmina and the other 313 passengers on board perishing.

Tormented by this fate, Carl Eduard and Ernst return to their parent’s shop in Switzerland. The first premises near what would later be the Bucherer’s main location on Schwanenplatz 4 have been in use for three years at this point. The family company continues to grow in the years that follow, due in no small part to the experience and open-mindedness of the two brothers: In 1927, they open their first shop in Interlaken, and in 1928 the Bucherer Boutique is opened in Lugano. At this point the company is skillfully combining the arts of goldsmithing and watchmaking. The manufacture and sale of jewelry and watches go hand-in-hand with watch repair services. Still, the imminent global economic crisis leaves nothing untouched, not even the Bucherer business…

A noble duo

Two of the most precious materials in the world are combined in this exclusive watch for ladies: platinum and diamonds.

Distinctive shapes

This piece is densely set with brilliant-cut diamonds on the bezel while the detailed shapes of the strap rings and clasp give it a unique character.

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Carl Eduard Bucherer proposes to his beloved Wilhelmina. They go on to build a successful business together in Santiago, Chile.

The Golden Twenties


Wilhelmina Bucherer-Heeb is one of 314 people who go down in the tragic shipwreck of the “Principessa Mafalda”.

Impressions of Lucerne Snowmelt and heavy rains cause the lake of Lucerne to spill over its banks. Parts of Lucerne are flooded.

Panorama view over the rooftops of the city.

The lively promenade is a meeting point for traders and folks out for a stroll.

The boat “Swan” (left) is driven by a gas motor.

The boom in the world economy, political stabilization and a blossoming of the arts, culture and science make the 1920s into a “golden age”. It remains in the collective memory as a time of progress and exhilaration. Women are wearing feather boas and knee-length shirt dresses and getting bob haircuts while men don sport coats and slick their hair back. The charleston vibrant attitude to life and the cabarets of that time are evidence of fiery sense of romanticism and extravagant luxury. This lightness of everyday life contrasts with the political realities of the Weimar Republic in Germany. Thanks to these new freedoms, the flowering arts and culture scene experience a rapid revival that represents a splendid contradiction to Weimar. New forms of mass culture emerge based on the American model, and the avant-garde establishes itself as the epitome of the Weimar culture. Societal portraits like Otto Dix’s “Metropolis” triptych become an important genre. Many artists like George Grosz, disillusioned by World War I, hit back with provocative paintings against figures within Wilhelminian society who have begun staking claims within the young republic. Others like Käthe Kollwitz are investing their innovative spirit and work into the cause of revolutionary proletariat art, as seen in her pacifist images.

Architecture and design inspire and characterize a new sense of cool sobriety. The Weimar-based Bauhaus movement becomes the icon of the modern aesthetic. In 1930, theater works like Carl Zuckmayer’s “Captain of Köpenick” become a massive success in the New Objectivity movement. In Berlin, Bertolt Brecht’s “Threepenny Opera” provides socially critical entertainment in a modern disguise. In the mid-1920s, literature also experiences a heyday with classics like Thomas Mann’s “The Magic Mountain” in 1924 and Hermann Hesse’s “Steppenwolf” in 1927. Cafés and theaters magically draw almost unmanageable hordes of artists, directors, literary figures, actors, art dealers and painters. This new sense of anonymity in the big city makes it easier for women to distance themselves from society’s traditionally assigned roles. Female authors like Vicki Baum paint a picture of the “new woman” as critical and self-confident protagonists who deliver the same results in their professional lives as male colleagues. Print media and cinemas also experience astounding growth during the period.

The Lion Monument in the Glacier Garden commemorates members of the Swiss Guard who were massacred in the attack on Tuileries Palace in Paris in 1792.

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On the path to perpetual motion The Golden Twenties are also a golden era for the watchmaking industry. Having made their breakthrough during World War I, wristwatches experience an enormous boost in popularity. In 1920, Switzerland exports 2.5 million wristwatches. By the end of the decade that figure is up to 6 million. It is primarily women’s watches that drive this rapid growth. The elegant models in art deco style have small cases made of gold, silver, platinum or enamel and it is not uncommon to see the letters “C. Bucherer” on the dial. But the decade is also a time of major innovations, in particular in automatic watches. In 1923, English watchmaker John Harwood registers a patent in Switzerland for a watch with an automatic winder; the following year his patent is granted. The principle is genius: The natural movement of the watch on your wrist also moves the oscillating weight, which in turn winds the spring. This is the first viable alternative to the common hand-wound models. Still, Harwood’s automatic wristwatch doesn’t manage a breakthrough, due in part to its high price tag in this time of looming economic crisis. All the same, Harwood goes down in watchmaking history as a pioneer in industrially manufactured “automatics”.


Wrist Watch 1920 front

Golden style

This rose gold watch is equipped with a nickelfinished hand-winding movement. The elegant display features Arabic numerals and blued hands.

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Protecting the filigree mechanics inside these watches from damaging external substances becomes an additional technical challenge in the 1920s. Harwood pays particular attention in his design to dustproof cases. In 1926, the Rolex Oyster becomes the first waterproof watch in the world. The well-publicized test run of the Oyster comes a year later when English swimmer Mercedes Gleitze wears one during her crossing of the Channel between France and England. After more than 10 hours both she and the watch arrive intact on the other side. These technical innovations also influence the watch case design. In the 1920s, barrel-shaped watch cases dominate the trends, but round cases become increasingly important for wristwatches as well. The design has advantages for hermetically sealing the watches while also providing the ideal use of space for the oscillating weight of the automatic winders.

Flourishing ornamentation

Roses in enamel adorn this elegant ladies’ watch in art deco style.

Detailed refinement

The dial on this classic pocket watch features a sophisticated guilloche.

The Golden Twenties

After Hollywood, Universum Film AG (UFA) in Potsdam-Babelsberg becomes the second-largest film empire in the world. It is there in 1930 that Marlene Dietrich makes her big breakthrough as a global phenomenon in the first major German film with sound, “The Blue Angel”. In addition to cinema, the masses also get interested in sports, especially soccer, boxing, cycling and auto racing. With the invention of the radio in 1923, Max Schmeling’s fights are followed by millions from their living rooms, and singer Claire Waldoff becomes the voice of the airwaves with her distinctive style. A scantily

clad Josephine Baker makes waves in 1927 as she tours Berlin with her Charleston Jazz Band and impresses audiences with her wild dancing styles. The prudishness of the Wilhelminian era is pushed aside by a seemingly uncontrollable thirst for pleasure, especially in the big cities. Jazz in particular infects the pleasure-seekers, working the population of the era into a frenzy, most notably in the European cultural centers. The extravagant parties of the Golden Twenties come to an abrupt close in 1929 with the collapse of the world economy.

The set for ladies

This understated purse incorporates a built-in watch as a surprise. Two additional and hidden compartments include a powder box and a mirror.

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Slim elegance

This ladies’ gold watch has strikingly slim lines.

Edges and angles

This model with a small seconds counter has an angular case that was very popular in the 1930s.

Harmonious presence

Made of yellow gold, this model has a small seconds counter and champagne-colored dial with blued hands.

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“If only I had known, I should have become a watchmaker.” Albert Einstein

A unique centerpiece

This classic pocket watch is equipped with a Lépine movement, and the case is made of yellow gold.

Separate indicators

This two-tone watch has two indicators, one showing the hours and minutes and the other showing the seconds.

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A dynamic life – Wilhelmina Bucherer-Heeb

In 1899, Wilhelmina sees the light of day for the first time. As the daughter of the Heeb embroidery manufacturing family in Appenzell, she grows up amidst the finest fabrics and lace and develops an early fascination for luxurious materials. The Heeb family’s embroidery is in demand in many countries and is also made to order for Paris’ haute couture set. Wilhelmina develops into a very worldly woman who can quickly win people over with her charming ways. Carl Eduard Bucherer grows fond of the young woman and soon asks her for her hand in marriage. The wedding takes place in 1921. Soon after, the young couple moves to Santiago de Chile and builds a watch and jewelry business in this heavily immigrantinfluenced city. The success of Bucherer’s South American business is very much a result of Wilhelmina’s efforts as well: Every summer she makes the long trip back to Switzerland to purchase new watches and jewelry for the Chilean market. She of course uses those summer months to visit the family in Switzerland. She stands by her father at the embroidery factory and helps her father-in-law Carl Friedrich Bucherer in the Lucerne store. As she embarks in fall 1927 from

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Genoa to Buenos Aires, her bags are filled with Swiss watches and jewelry pieces, as always. But the journey aboard the “Principessa Mafalda” takes a tragic turn: A propeller shaft on the ship breaks, water infiltrates the machine room and a boiler explodes. Panic breaks out on board the ship. Though the sea is calm and a number of ships are already en route to save the damaged vessel, the ship sinks four hours after the panic breaks out and 314 people go down with it. One of them is Wilhelmina. It is the worst maritime tragedy in Brazilian coastal history. Wilhelmina Bucherer-Heeb is never found. Even the wreck of the “Principessa Mafalda” has never been discovered. On the ocean floor, with the ship’s remains, are also the remains of Wilhelmina’s procurements for the shop in Santiago. Among the valuable watches and jewelry pieces from Switzerland that were in the ship’s safe is Wilhelmina’s own watch, one of the first Bucherer wristwatches for women in the world: a diamondstudded masterpiece in art deco style. In memory of Wilhelmina in 2005, Carl F. Bucherer produces 70 limited-edition women’s watches with a modern art deco interpretation. The pioneering woman lives on.

Around 1910

Wilhelmina’s first communion.

The Heeb family had an embroidery factory where they produced fine fabrics for various markets including the Parisian haute couture set.

Carl Eduard Bucherer asks for Wilhelmina’s hand in marriage.

Tribute to Mimi

In 2005, in Wilhelmina‘s memory, Carl F. Bucherer created a special edition ladies‘ watch limited to 70 pieces. It is a modern interpretation of art deco styles that commemorates the life of this pioneering woman.

Carl Eduard and Wilhelmina enjoy life as newly-weds.

The elegant interior of the “Principessa Mafalda”.

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Beautifully decorated

This brooch timepiece is in the shape of a horse and carriage. The case is made completely of silver and set with marcasite stones.

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1930–1950 Times of upheaval and transformation In the 1930s, the main store in Lucerne becomes increasingly popular among both local and foreign customers. The popularity of timepieces combined with economic recovery encourages the Bucherers to move into the store located at Schwanenplatz 5, where it still stands today. The stores at Kapellplatz 10 and Schwanenplatz 4 are kept as is for the time being. Meanwhile, new shops are opened in St.-Moritz and Zurich. In addition to prominent athletes and tourists, politicians and bankers are also part of the Bucherer customer base. The successful years, however, are overshadowed by the death of company founder Carl Friedrich Bucherer. Brothers Carl Eduard and Ernst now take over the reins of the company. They complement each other superbly and work hand-in-hand in the daily business. Their schedule includes a daily one-hour stroll along the riverbank during which the brothers confer on both business and private matters. The importance of the company and its employees to the brothers can be seen during the 50th anniversary celebration of the company in 1938: They invite the entire staff on a trip to Bern where they enjoy festivities of all kinds.


This elegant chronometer in yellow gold comes with an anti-magnetic and shock-protected movement.

Glimmering gem

The case and strap attachments of this exquisite ladies’ watch are set with numerous diamonds. The crown is also beautifully decorated.

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Bucherer’s platinum, diamond-studded art deco ladies’ watches enjoy an especially successful period until the end of the 1930s and soon become rare collectibles. Despite economic crises and war, the brothers maintain their father’s original vision. Ernst Bucherer’s strategic mind and economic savvy helps solidify structures within the company. Carl Eduard is responsible for managing personnel and the branch stores. With high levels of quality consciousness and a demand for individuality in the jewelry and watches they carry, the duo manages to establish a firm position in the market. In the 1940s, Bucherer solidifies itself in equal measures in the gold and silver goods trade and in the watch business. At the end of the decade, the company increases its line of sporty chronographs and adds a large, practical date display that uses two independently rotating disks to indicate the current date on a generously sized dial.

Images of Lucerne The old Kursaal was built in 1882 and later became the Lucerne Grand Casino.

Times of upheaval and transformation

View of Schwanenplatz and the Pilatus, the local mountain.

House built in one of the traditional styles of Central Switzerland.

A flourishing arts and culture scene.

The Schwanenplatz and the neighboring streets are popular for shopping.

The Fritschi Fountain on Kapellplatz was built in 1919. The Lucerne Carnival starts here every year.

On October 24, 1929, also known as Black Thursday, New York City and the world is hit with the most disastrous stock market crash in history, bringing with it a global wave of unemployment accompanied by dark clouds on the political horizon. At the beginning of the 1930s, a dramatic political shift to the right occurs in Germany, paving the way for Adolf Hitler’s power grab. As fascism sweeps Germany, a new folk ideology also emerges in Switzerland. World War II officially begins with the invasion of Poland in 1939 and doesn’t end until Germany’s capitulation in 1945. On the other side of the world, Mahatma Gandhi’s “Dandi March” goes down as a major triumph in the fight for Indian independence from Great Britain. Max Schmeling also hits the global headlines as he wins his world championship bout against Jack Sharkey in New York. At the same time, Marlene Dietrich kicks off her worldwide acting career with a bang in the film “The Blue Angel”. Walt Disney puts a new face on cinema screens and wins an Oscar with his animated film version of “Snow White and the Seven Dwarves” (1939). Dramatist Bertolt Brecht, living in exile at the time, makes the news in 1941 with his play “Mother Courage and her Children”, which premiers at the Zurich Schauspielhaus theater and shows the ravages of war on a live stage. The political situation in the summer of 1942 also inspires sibling activists Hans and Sophie Scholl to start the “White Rose”, a resistance group based in Munich.

Science and technology is changed forever as Otto Hahn discovers nuclear fission of the uranium atom in 1938. Based in New York at the time, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry publishes “The Little Prince” (1943) and conquers hearts around the world. Society’s new image of the ideal “happy housewife at the stove” brings to an abrupt end the emancipation movement for women that began it in the 1920s. This change is also seen in fashion, which moves away from sporty, boyish styles to more feminine dresses, outfits and blazers with prominent padding in the shoulders. European men’s fashion in 1940s is inspired by cool leisure styles from the USA and oversize “zoot suits” originally popularized by Mexican men. Pop music of the time is “swing”, primarily bolstered by Glenn Miller and his orchestra.

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The new face of time The watch market goes through massive changes during these times of upheaval. For the first time, Switzerland exports more wristwatches than pocket watches at the beginning of the 1930s. This trend will accelerate in the years to come and quickly lead to the pocket watch becoming a thing of the past. At the same time, a number of technical innovations are made for wristwatches, and the range of models is larger than ever before. In 1933, Swiss national Reinhard Straumann develops a nickel steel alloy he refers to as Nivarox. The material is used to coat the spiral springs in movements. It is highly elastic, rust-free, anti-magnetic and extremely temperature-resistant. It makes watch gears function more consistently and is virtually unaffected by temperature. Compared to the formerly widespread composition Elinvar, it is a major step forward, which is why Nivarox finds immediate appeal among watchmakers. The invention contributes greatly to the improvement of wristwatches. At the same time, the Incabloc shock protection system is invented in La Chaux-de-Fonds, a stronghold of Swiss watchmaking. Due to the fact that they are worn on your arm and therefore subjected to more movement, wristwatches require additional protection when compared to pocket watches.

Decline of time

There is only one hand working in the rectangular case, thus allowing only an approximate reading of time.

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With the invention of the Incabloc shock protection system in 1934 and subsequent improvements in 1938, this problem is now alleviated. The development also paves the way for sportier, more robust timepieces. Manufacturers now advertise their watches with attributes like “unbreakable”, “waterproof” and “anti-magnetic”. These new wristwatch characteristics are well received among consumers. Despite the fact that airliners have instrument panels, robust and precise timepieces become increasingly popular among pilots in the growing aviation industry. In 1927, Charles A. Lindbergh becomes the first person to fly solo over the Atlantic and assists in the development of the hour-angle wristwatch, released in 1932. The model with adjustable dials is specially designed for the demands of flight navigation. Soldiers in World War II wear military watches that have basically the same construction as the aviator watches. These types of models soon become vogue among the civilian population as well. For women, the baguette wristwatch makes a big splash during this era. Overall technical advancements lead to increased diversification in the watch market. Whether it’s a practical chronograph, a robust sporting watch or an elegant model with a calendar for professional schedules, the options on the market satisfy just about any possible wish.

Times of upheaval and transformation

Time for what’s important

The display on this pocket watch is sober and reduced to the essentials. The champagne-colored dial features a small seconds counter at six o’clock.

Along with the Citroën 2CV - also known as the “Duck” - Ferdinand Porsche’s peppy sports car, named after its creator, is among the design icons of the automobile industry in the 1930s. After years of war, world history speeds along as 1946 marks the beginning of an era of global turmoil. While the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia gets a new constitution, Hungary becomes the People’s Republic. At the same time, British statesman Winston Churchill predicts the rise of the Soviet Union in Europe and the term

“Iron Curtain” is used for the first time. The Cold War begins and Berlin is divided into four zones. As acting American foreign secretary, George C. Marshall initiates the Marshall Plan, an economic recovery program for Western Europe that renders the concept of a reunited Germany even less likely. With the founding of the Federal Republic of Germany on May 23, 1949, and the German Democratic Republic on October 7, 1949, two separate nations now reside on what was once German territory.

Elegantly wrapped

This square watch is built into a leather case.

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“A good design for us is one based on the functional and technical demands of a product that fulfills its stated purpose and looks beautiful all at the same time.”

Max Bill

Numerous functions

The dial on this chronograph has an unusual pink color. The telemeter and tachymeter scales enhance the functionality of the piece.

Geometric shapes

The design of this yellow gold watch highlights its angles and edges. The crown is adorned with a blue sapphire.

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Sporty watch for men

This model has a chronograph and a 30-minute counter.

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Jumping hour

The window at the top of the dial has a rotating disk with the hours on it. When the hour changes, the dial jumps to the next number, hence the function’s name.

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1950–1960 The economic miracle and a time of renewal The 1950s begin with a heavy blow to the family and the company: Carl Eduard Bucherer dies on February 2, 1951. From now on, Ernst Bucherer takes over the entire business, which at this point is an incorporated company. Still, he retains his father’s vision and works with steely determination to continue the Bucherer expansion - the prosperity of the 1950s and his tireless efforts do the rest. Jörg G. Bucherer, son of Carl Eduard, attends business schools in Lucerne, Trogen and Lausanne. During these years, the original Lucerne location at Schwanenplatz becomes increasingly important as a central administrative and organizational hub for all of the Bucherer operations. The decade is positively influenced by the long-term partnership between Bucherer AG and watchmaker Rolex. As early as the 1920s, Carl Friedrich Bucherer and Hans Wilsdorf, founder of Rolex, had already begun fighting the strict regulations on watch produc-

tion and export defined by the Swiss watchmaking industry federation. The partnership is now revived because both brands have the highest quality demands and share similar corporate objectives. A private partnership is also made: Ernst Bucherer marries Monica Hersche. The two are friends from Ernst’s years in Berlin and decide after many years to finally join in marriage. The wedding takes place on August 18, 1956. The Bucherer store in Interlaken opens that same year. The former building is replaced by two pavilions in a perfect location in front of the elegant Victoria-Jungfrau Hotel, a magnet for domestic and international buyers. Tourists, who are traveling the world in increasing numbers thanks to stabilization and improvement in the world economy, become an important customer base for the Bucherer business in the 1950s.

Durable elegance

This yellow gold watch radiates classic beauty. Its Incabloc shock protection and anti-magnetic movement are also timeless.

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Impressions from the Bucherer sales department Wristwatches lined up in a catalog from the era.

The economic miracle and a time of renewal The Bucherer shop on Schwanenplatz.

A best-selling model in the 1960s: the Bucherer ladies’ watch is set with exchangeable bezel, straps and an additional necklace.

Window display at a Bucherer shop.

Contemporary scenes

Contemporary impressions of the Technikum in Le Locle, a famous Swiss watchmaking school that has produced numerous masters over the years.

History seems to be passing at top speed in the 1950s. Over the course of the decade, West Germany, as part of a divided nation, becomes the leading economy in Europe. Korea, which is still a divided country, is also faced with two dramatically opposed political fronts at the beginning of the 1950s. The headlines in other European countries are mostly peaceful. On June 2, 1952, Elizabeth II is crowned Queen of the United Kingdom with great fanfare. Prince Rainier III and American actress Grace Kelly are wed in 1956 in the Principality of Monaco while the Viennese get their dancing shoes on at the first Opera Ball since World War II. Against the backdrop of the Cold War, the desire for a bit of private good fortune gradually grows amid increasing economic prosperity, the nuclear arms race and the division of Germany. At the same time, the economic miracle awakens a longing for luxury goods and a penchant for an excessive lifestyle. Kidney-shaped coffee tables, milk bars, Hawaii toast, juke boxes, the VW Beetle and Coca-Cola become the icons of the era. A rebellious youth culture emerges in opposition to the snobbishness and new provincial conservatism of the older generation. Mediterranean lifestyles are brought to Switzerland starting in 1956 as guest workers from Italy begin arriving.

To accompany the new mentality of the time, fashion in the 1950s is full of contradictions. Skintight pencil skirts mix with bell-bottomed petticoats, until Christian Dior’s “new look” brings it all together with wide skirts and tight blouses. Coco Chanel’s outfit becomes an instant classic, trousers disappear almost entirely from women’s wardrobes and are only worn as Capri pants à la Audrey Hepburn. Actor icon Marlon Brando gives men’s fashion a breath of fresh air with tight blue jeans, white muscle shirts, leather jackets and flat caps. Sporting feats also make the decade something special. In 1952, Alberto Ascari celebrates the first world championship double in the history of Formula one.

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The heyday of automatic watches The 1950s in Western Europe are defined by an unforeseen economic revival that sweeps the watchmaking industry along with it. Demand is rising steadily for timepieces with all kinds of designs and functions. Technical advancements in wristwatches also help dismiss once and for all any remaining doubts about their suitability for daily use. They become more precise and more robust while also becoming flatter and lighter. Design improvements make manufacturing more efficient, which in turn has a positive effect on maintenance and life cycle. During this period, the automatic winder becomes standard in men’s watches, and the Bucherer collection of timepieces is evidence of that development. Women’s watches, on the other hand, develop somewhat more slowly due to the narrow cases, which offer too little space for the larger oscillating weights required by the automatic system. With time, however, the mechanics are adjusted to fit the smaller housings. Watchmakers address any remaining skepticism with regard to the operational reliability of self-winding

Radiant solar corona A ring of diamonds surrounds the dial of this glamorous ladies’ watch.

Time for understatement The small dial of this luxurious ladies’ watch is nestled among countless diamonds.

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movements by outfitting many models with power reserve indicators. These are intended to allay fears of the watch failing by showing the carrier how much energy is still stored in the movement. Major improvements are made in clock drift precision during this era. This is seen not least in efforts made by watchmakers to design bracelet chronometers that are ready for mass production. Chronometers are particularly precise timepieces whose quality is approved in an officially issued certificate of accuracy. The pieces are required to undergo standardized tests in an independent, official testing facility. If a timepiece carries this prestigious chronometer rating it is ultimately an extraordinary selling point. The first electric wristwatches were also developed in the 1950s. They are powered by batteries. This is partly indirect as well, when the electrical energy is transformed into mechanical winding energy. The emergence of electronic watches provides the first indictions of profound changes that are about to take place in the watch industry.

“Diamonds are a girl's best friend.”

The economic miracle and a phase of renewal

Marylin Monroe

Relief bezel

The hour indexes on this ladies’ watch are on the bezel. The dial’s distinctive color is also striking.

On Jule 4, 1954, the German national soccer team wins its first World Cup as hero Helmut Rahn fires them to victory against Hungary in what is later called the “The Miracle in Bern” in Switzerland. In the same year, the Federal Republic of Germany joins NATO as part of the Paris Peace Agreement and its associated rearmament clauses. In 1955 in the United States, the Montgomery Bus Boycott represents a turning point in the history of racial discrimination and segragation, a cause that is further pursued by Martin Luther King in his “I have a dream” speech and in his passionate commitment to racial equality. American music history is “rocked” by Bill Haley and Elvis Presley who become cult figures of rock n’ roll for the entire world. In 1957, the Soviets not only launch the “sputnik”, the first satellite to orbit the earth, but also the first intercontinental rocket, marking the beginning of a race for dominance

over the United States in science and technology. NASA, the national space agency, is founded on July 29, 1958, as the United States’ answer to the sputnik crisis. At the same time, as the result of growing waves of emigration, East Germany makes it illegal to leave the country without authorization. The term “Desertion of the republic” is born. Events in Cuba are all over the headlines in 1959. The success of Fidel Castro’s revolutionary troops, among them Ernesto “Che” Guevara, puts Castro in power. At the American Toy Fair in New York, one doll in particular becomes a triumphant success among children around the world: Barbie. In the same year, author Günter Grass publishes “The Tin Drum”, one of the most important literary works of the postwar era. The decade ends with a glimmer of hope on the world political scene. Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev and United States vice president Richard Nixon visit each other to ease tensions in an already strained Cold War relationship.

Practical pendant

This blue timepiece is actually a pendant that not only embellishes a woman’s ensemble but also informs her about the time.

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“Dream as if you will live forever. Live as if you will die today.”

James Dean

Alarm in gold

This model with a pillow-shaped case is made completely of gold. Its automatic movement has an alarm function.

Cosmopolitan in gold

The flange on this worldtimer watch features numerous city names that represent the various time zones.

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Spotlight on function

The clever tachymeter scale makes this chronograph a real eye-catcher.

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Private luxury

Yellow gold and 52 diamonds give this ladies’ watch a noble feel. Its dial has a closable protective cover.

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1960–1970 The decade of icons The Bucherer company is in for a decade of prosperity in every way. New stores are opening all over in Switzerland: In 1960 a shop is built in Lugano with 10 display windows and 140 square meters of space - it is a sensation at the time. The store in Zurich is expanded in the same year. In 1966, Bucherer is drawn to the city of the founding fathers: A store is opened in Basel. Two years later, two stores are opened at once in Geneva. Business is flourishing. The original location in Lucerne is also developing magnificently. The building on Schwanenplatz is now home to a large warehouse as well as the central repair department for all of the company’s branch stores. At this point, 400 people are working for Bucherer, 280 of them in Lucerne. Manufacturing in the Bucherer studio is fully dedicated to chronometers. These high-precision certified watches become icons of the era. About 150,000 pieces have left the facility by 1968. That puts


The strap and case of this electronic watch emphasize the round shapes. The blue elements on the dial provide colorful accents.

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Bucherer among the top three Swiss chronometer manufacturers. The company continues to build on this position: Credos SA in Nidau, Bienne, becomes a Bucherer company. Credos specializes in the assembly of precision chronometers. Thanks to highly modern work tables and equipment, the 20 watchmakers there put together roughly 30,000 watches per year. In 1963, a large part of the staff comes to the Hotel Schweizerhof for the 75th anniversary of the company’s founding. The amount of employees taking part in the festivities and the announcement from Ernst Bucherer that he is giving everyone a pay raise make it obvious how good the relationship is between the employees and the manager. Bucherer is and will remain a family-run enterprise. Ernst Bucherer even has some help at this point: His son, Erich Bucherer, and Carl Eduard Bucherer’s son, Jörg G. Bucherer, are meant to carry on the tradition of the business.

1960 Erich Bucherer with Richard Nixon and his wife in a Bucherer store in the 1960s.

The decade of icons

A look into the Bucherer company photo album.

The Bucherer workshop is one of the top three chronometer manufacturers in Switzerland.

International customers in Lucerne.

Customers admiring the opulent Bucherer window display.

Life in the 1960s is defined by the civil rights and student movements, sexual liberation, hippies and the race to the moon. Society is creating a new freedom of thought that results in the development of a distinct spirit of the times in terms of culture, politics and fashion. The swinging 60s are epitomized by London’s Carnaby Street, referred to as Western Europe’s “trend mile” because of its countless clothing and music stores. The soundtrack for this decade of change comes from rock n’ roll and pop culture embodied by legendary bands like the Beatles and the Rolling Stones. Their contemporaries rally massive crowds and inspire waves of euphoria at festivals like Woodstock in 1969. The new fashion is expressive, striking and cool all at once. The skirts get shorter, suits more fitted, blouses knotted above the belly and colors brighter than ever before. Materials like corduroy and jeans make their way into wardrobes. British model Twiggy becomes the face of a generation and makes the mini-skirt famous. At home, bean bags, plastic chairs, orange floor lamps and radiograms are featured furnishings. Even the table soccer game “Tip Kick” is rediscovered as a pastime in this new living room setting. Karl May’s cinematic hero Winnetou gallops across the big screen into the hearts of millions of viewers. Leonard Bernstein’s powerful musical “West Side Story” is made into a film in 1961. The political arena is dynamic as well. For Africa, the year 1960 is sometimes referred to as the “Year of Africa” due to the many major events that take place on the continent.

A total of 17 African nations shed the yoke of white colonial hegemony and begin an era of independence. The United States’ involvement in the Vietnam War in the 1960s transforms that country into a very visible stage for the Cold War. The world holds its breath for a moment during the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962. Brasília, a concrete utopia and the largest complete work by architect Oscar Niemeyer, becomes the capital of Brazil.

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A storm brews The 1960s mark a temporary peak in terms of mechanical wristwatch production. The models are more or less mature from the perspective of technology and quality. Among the most important quality improvements for timepieces in all price classes is the introduction of new machine and manufacturing tools. Hundredths of millimeters become standard scale for the manufacture of movement components. In an ideal world, individual parts can be assembled later by watchmakers without readjustments. Automation progresses in the watchmaking industry as well. And yet the heyday of mechanical wristwatches is also the beginning - at least temporarily - of its demise. Efforts made in the 1950s to develop the electronic wristwatch are intensified in the 1960s. This type of timepiece is driven by electric motors or solenoids, which provide a range of advantages. Even mechanical watches with chronometer status typically deviate from perfection by a

Legendary core

Gold is the appropriate material for the case of this men’s watch. It ticks with the Beta 21, a renowned electronic movement.

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few seconds a day. That has to do with the various tensions of the winder springs. Electronic watches, on the other hand, can show the time over long periods precisely to the second because the power transmission is always the same. And they don’t need external resources to do so. From a business perspective, this allows manufacturers to produce wristwatches at a greatly reduced cost. In the 1960s, the majority of wristwatches sold are in fact in the lower price segments. The breakthrough of electronic watches in Europe takes place at the end of the era. After years of development work with Beta 21, a Swiss consortium that includes the Bucherer company presents the first mass-produced electronic quartz wristwatch caliber - made in Switzerland. Despite initially being the highest level of development in electronic watches, the quartz technology will soon shake the watchmaking industry to its very foundations.

Golden precision

The mechanical core of this model in yellow gold is an officially certified chronometer movement. It guarantees superb precision.

The decade of icons

In another capital city, Copenhagen, royal wedding bells ring in 1967. Queen Margrethe II weds French diplomat Count Henri de Laborde de Monpezat after the couple experience love at first sight when they meet in London. The art world also becomes experiential. The goal of “happening” artists, among them Allan Kaprow, who coined the phrase, and Joseph Beuys, was to expand on traditional art terms and form a connection between everyday life and art itself. “The Great Train Robbery”

of 1963 goes into the international crime history books when a band of 15 masked bandits steal 2.6 million pounds from a train in Buckinghamshire. During this decade, the sports world is rocked by the emergence of the skateboard, or “asphalt surfer”, and ends with a striking shot: On November 19, 1969, Brazilian soccer legend Pelé scores his one thousandth goal at Maracanã Stadium in Rio de Janeiro.

Maritime leanings

The look of this automatic watch recalls the wheel of a ship. The model also has a worldtimer function.

Luminous strength

The yellow dial is a real eye-catcher on this model from the Archimedes collection. The robust diving watch is water-resistant up to 20 bar.

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Fascinating colors

This chronograph features multicolored hands and indicators on a silver dial.

Futuristic designs

The design of this watch with the LCD display was state-of-the-art in the 1970s. The same goes for the electronic inner workings, which make the numerous functions possible.

“When, if not now? Where, if not here? Who, if not me?�

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John F. Kennedy

The hybrid

Although this avant-garde model features an automatic movement, it does not show the time in an analog format. It is digital. To do this, the mechanical movement rotates a number of disks inside the case.

Swiss quartz watch

The orange scale is an eye-catcher on this men’s watch. The famous Beta 21 ticks inside the Swiss quartz watch.

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Simply beautiful

This model in white gold looks like a bracelet with a time display. A ring of diamonds highlights the fine dial.

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1970–1980 Flower power – a prosperous decade The 1970s are a time of generational change. The Bucherer company is no exception. Due to the small size of the original Lucerne location on Schwanenplatz, Bucherer begins construction in 1970 on the Schönbühl headquarters building, which is finished and ready to be moved into by August 1973. The new location is a symbol of the company’s belief in advancement and development there are now 845 employees on the payroll. Despite tough economic times, the network of stores continues to expand. In 1970, their store in Locarno is built completely out of marble. Four years later a store is built in Lausanne as well. The Bucherer network now consists of 17 locations in Switzerland and over 100 international service centers around the world.

Two-tone presence

This elegant chronograph captivates with the clear design of its dial and the excellent readability. The gold-plated bezel is engraved with a tachymeter scale.

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In 1972, Ernst Bucherer retires from the daily business, handing over management to his son Erich and nephew Jörg G. Bucherer. Ernst Bucherer dies on March 26, 1977. The company remains in the family as Jörg G. Bucherer succeeds Ernst. Despite the quartz disaster and economic crises, Bucherer in the 1970s becomes one of the best-selling watch brands in Switzerland. The jewelry and watch lines together now include over 50,000 items. A technological highlight of the decade is the Archimedes: combined with a world clock mechanism, the diver’s watch is way ahead of its time.

The new company headquarters in Schönbühl.

A prosperous decade

The shop on Schwanenplatz is the first location in Lucerne.

Ernst Bucherer successfully managed the company for years.

From the first concept to the finished watch – at Bucherer everything is done in house.

Orange, crochet bikinis and shag carpets as far as the eye can see. Although they don’t exactly have the reputation for the most tasteful decade, the 1970s certainly have a permanent place in our collective memory as an iconic and colorful time. But it is not just the unique color spectrum that endures. Rituals like slide show evenings or camping trips with the VW bus make the 1970s unforgettable. Many of us still long for those intoxicating house parties and the legendary “Fiestas Mexicana”. The decade was also historically colorful in terms of cultural and political developments. In 1971, Queen Elizabeth bestowed the title of “Dame Commander of the British Empire” on crime thriller author Agatha Christie. At the same time, the Aswan Dam is completed in Egypt after 11 years of construction. In Vancouver, Canada, peace activists found a non-profit organization whose nonviolent activities to protect the environment are still creating spectacular headlines to this day: Greenpeace. The whole world is talking about the Watergate scandal in 1974. Japan experiences an unprecedented economic boom that had already begun back in the 1950s. Increasing numbers of established industrial nations are forced to take the country seriously as an exporter of highquality products at very competitive prices. The oil crisis of 1973 paralyzes Japan’s road traffic and represents a significant stumbling block in the country’s development.

The consequences of the crisis are even felt by King Olav of Norway: Despite being an avid car driver, due to the driving ban at the time the king uses the Oslo streetcar to go skiing outside the capital. Polish cardinal Karol Wojtyła ascends the papal throne in 1978 and goes into the Catholic Church’s history books as Pope John Paul II. While the era of the personal computer gets underway with the founding of companies like Microsoft and Apple, the hippie wave comes to an end with a new youth movement.

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The quartz crisis The Swiss watchmaking industry experiences a crisis of unimaginable dimensions in the 1970s. Ironically it is the result of overzealous innovation. In 1970, the first 1,000 wristwatches with the Swiss-developed quartz caliber Beta 21 hit the market. Compared to mechanical ones, electronic watches offer a number of undeniable advantages. They are more precise and have significantly more power reserve capabilities. Their movements are also less sensitive to jolts and impacts. Last but not least, they are much cheaper to produce than mechanical caliber watches, which is then reflected in the sale price. The first quartz watches, however, are still technologically highly advanced luxury products. The Beta 21 model from Bucherer has a list price of 1,000 Swiss francs - much more expensive than mechanical watches. That corresponds to the view at the time that quartz watches would remain a niche product in the future. The prognosis is quickly and painfully proven very wrong. By the middle of the decade, millions of quartz watches have been produced and

Focus on precision

Behind the blue dial is an electronic movement that boasts superb precision. It also activates a date display at 6 o’clock.

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sold. In particular, Asian manufacturers have completely flooded the market with their calibers. The surplus in supply and heavy competition lead to dropping prices, of course. The quartz watch becomes a bulk commodity and over time begins to make mechanical watches into a purely niche product. This trend has dramatic consequences for Swiss watchmakers, who primarily focus on mechanical timepieces. Between 1975 and 1983, their share of the worldwide watch market drops from 30 to 10 per cent. Many manufacturers go bankrupt in the wake of heavy losses and the watch industry goes through far-reaching structural change. Needless to say, the development has massive effects on a country whose history and national identity is so closely linked with watchmaking. Still, even if the prospects look grim at the end of the decade, the Swiss watchmaking industry manages to deal with the crisis and emerge stronger from it.

A prosperous decade

Golden Eye

This ladies’ watch radiates harmony with its warm color tones and soft lines. Its automatic movement also has a date display.

Certified precision

The color combination of champagne and yellow gold gives this chronometer a distinctive refinement.

In addition to heavy metal, it is punk that characterizes this decade. With its roots in New York and London, the movement thrives on provocative dress, rebellious behavior and nonconformity. Disco is also revolutionizing the world’s dance floors. Countless songs from pop and rock stars like Rod Stewart, Cher and Donna Summer, the “Queen of Disco”, are inspired by the movement. The most popular band in the world is Swedish outfit ABBA, who make their international breakthrough in 1974 with the hit song “Waterloo”. The film “Saturday Night Fever” sparks an enormous wave of disco hysteria. It not only gets young people onto the dance floors but is also accompanied by its own fashion. Colorful polyester suits, bellbottom pants and glittery shirts make up the new extreme of the fashion spectrum. “Perms” on women and thick

beards on men complete the disco look. The first generation of video games also sweeps through the living rooms of the developed world. The original is of course “Pong”, released by Atari in 1972. When the first rollercoaster with a corkscrew is built in 1975, and the next year the first postwar loop is constructed, rollercoasters with inversions experience a rebirth in popularity. Dizzying heights could also describe the audience ratings for the new TV shows “Sesame Street”, the “Muppet Show” and “Tatort” (in Germany). American boxing film “Rocky” wins three Oscars in 1977, and Sylvester Stallone is celebrated for his dual role in its success: He not only wrote the screenplay but also played the lead role as boxer Rocky Balboa. The cinema scene is also revitalized by so-called “midnight movies”, special low-budget films that are shown at midnight in theaters. These late-night cinema experiences inspire a nascent scene among moviegoers who feel they are rebelling culturally against the lives of their parent’s generation and against the mainstream in general.

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“Innovation makes the difference between a leader and a follower.”

Steve Jobs

Roman times

Slender lines and Roman numerals give this men’s model a timeless beauty. These qualities are completed with the distinctly precise chronometer movement.

Day & date

The automatic movement on this futuristic watch has a day and date display. The hands are in block format.

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An eye on the time

With an integrated power reserve indicator and the precise CFB A1011 manufacture caliber, this timepiece combines high functionality with sophisticated technology.

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The collection of a genius Archimedes is considered one of the most important mathematicians and physicists of Antiquity, so a watch bearing that name needs to fulfill some pretty lofty expectations. That is precisely what Bucherer does with the legendary Archimedes, a collection that has contributed to the Lucerne manufacturer’s success for decades. Back in 1971 the Archimedes Supercompressor attracts a lot of attention in the watch industry. The diver’s watch with a 200-meter depth rating is a design milestone that is well ahead of its time. From a technical perspective the two bezels are unique. The inner bezel has a minute dial that provides divers with their important decompression intervals. The outer bezel has a so-called city dial that features a second time zone. The combination of diving watch and time-zone mechanism gives the model a modern, sporty and cosmopolitan look and feel.

The Archimedes Collection is made even more distinctive in the new millennium. In addition to the mechanical chronographs it now includes models with calendars, power reserve indicators and a second time zone. The main focus is on chronometers for which Carl F. Bucherer is able to fall back on a long tradition and a nearly unmatched wealth of experience. These particularly precise timepieces certainly live up to the name of their honored namesake - Archimedes. Indeed, this showcase collection possesses a level of watchmaking expertise and passion that is ultimately a welldeserved reference for the founder of the company himself, Carl Friedrich Bucherer.

Another watchmaking milestone at Bucherer comes in 1994 with the introduction of the Archimedes Perpetual. The perpetual calendar is a particularly intricate complication. It shows the date, the day of the week and the month while taking into consideration the length of months until 2100, including the changing length of February in leap years. The calendar and phase of the moon displays can both be set using the crown. Only a few watch manufacturers are able to produce such a feature in this format. It was developed by Lucerne watchmaker Jörg Spöring specifically for the Archimedes Perpetual.

“Measure everything that can be measured and make measurable everything that cannot be measured.”



The Archimedes Collection lives up to its name in both form and function.

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Sophisticated mechanisms Equipped with a power reserve indicator, these models always indicate the power remaining.

Archimedes Perpetual

Due to its intricate design and perpetual calendar, this timepiece was a milestone in watchmaking.

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Blue miracle

The Archimedes Supercompressor is a design feature that was far ahead of its time.

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1980–1990 The decade of freedom Energy, love and team spirit define not only the social, political and economic environment of the 1980s, but at Bucherer, tolerance and understanding are also the focus. The increasing number of stores leads to an increase and an improvement in competence with regard to customer contact. In 1980, the company opens a branch in Davos; one year later St.-Gallen’s old town gets its own Bucherer store. By 1985 the Swiss capital of Bern has a Bucherer boutique as well. At the end of the decade, Bucherer then takes over three shops from the Haban Group in Vienna along with all of the Kurz AG stores. The brand is not just expanding with regard to stores, either. It has the highest revenue of any retail company in the Swiss watch and jewelry industry. Bucherer’s expansive customer base is a product of its outstanding service personnel as well as its diverse

Divided displays

While the time display is analog, this quartz watch communicates its additional functions in the digital display in the lower part of the dial.

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product range and independent standing. The company is a retailer, wholesaler and producer, allowing it to offer customers unique, firstclass products of the highest quality. Among the many women’s and men’s models at Bucherer is also the Grand Tonneau. It is an idiosyncratic creation made of 18-carat gold and is the youngest member of the Archimedes line. Bucherer also grows dramatically in terms of personnel. On the occasion of the company’s 100th birthday in 1988, the Swiss firm has roughly 840 employees. Sixty of them are watchmakers solely responsible for service and repairs. Bucherer AG has a total of 100 different positions within the company, ranging from store manager to electrician, photographer to quality assurance staff, and from jewelry designers to receptionists. With diverse career advancement opportunites, Bucherer is well prepared for the future.


Erich Bucherer checks designs in the studio.

The decade of freedom


Opening of a Bucherer boutique in Davos, Switzerland.

Opening of a Bucherer boutique in Lausanne, Switzerland.

At home in Lucerne for 100 years.

Views of Lucerne The weekly market on the lake invites you to enjoy a relaxing stroll.

The beginning of the 1980s is a dynamic time, and there is hope in the air. On the world stage, Mikhail Gorbachev introduces his policies of Glasnost and Perestroika in an effort to end the Cold War. Ronald Reagan is sworn in as 40th president of the United States and in 1981 inspires a sense of optimism for the economy. The wedding of Lady Diana Spencer and Prince Charles causes widespread euphoria as they say “I do” to one another on July 29, 1981, in London’s St. Paul’s Cathedral - over 750 million people watch the royal spectacle. Televisions are also filled with films like E.T., Ghost Busters, Top Gun and series like Dallas. In sports, tennis stars such as Ivan Lendl battle it out with Boris Becker, who in 1985 becomes the youngest Wimbledon champion in history at 17 years of age, while Steffi Graf and Martina Navratilova meet up repeatedly on television screens around the world. Significant advancements in the 1980s cause a shift from the industrial age to the information age, especially in technology. The first mobile phone is released in 1983 in the USA and weighs 800 grams - the world is becoming more mobile.

The launch of the space shuttle in 1981 in the USA represents the first flight of reusable spacecraft. Everyday life changes as well with new technologies such as the answering machine, microwaves and video recorders. Schools and universities enjoy increased efficiency with the advent of copiers and overhead projectors. The first ABS and airbag systems are massproduced in the automobile industry while CD players, Walkmans and Game Boys become a must-have for every adolescent. It is also technology that devastates hearts and minds in spring of 1986 when the Chernobyl nuclear reactor near Kiev in northern Ukraine explodes and becomes the worst disaster of its kind in history.

A panorama of picturesque Lucerne.

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Tradition meets modernism At the beginning of the 1980s it still seems unthinkable that the era would somehow end on a forgiving note for the Swiss watchmaking industry. As a result of the flooded world market for quartz watches - mostly from East Asia - Swiss manufacturers lose massive amounts of market share. Many of the companies are forced to halt production or surrender their financial independence. Several renowned watch brands follow the overall trend and launch their own quartz collections. It appears that the Swiss industry will have to reconcile itself to a niche existence and that the mechanical timepiece is heading the way of the dinosaur. In the middle of the 1980s, however, a number of significant changes occur. In 1983, the Swiss holding SMH AG launches the Swatch watch as a response to cheap quartz watches from Japan. The colorful wristwatches made of plastic are driven by very simplified quartz movements. The cases can’t be opened and the inner workings can’t be repaired. Every year a new collection of the models is released with new designs. The Swiss company strikes gold with Swatches, which spread like wildfire and quickly attain cult status. They produce over 100 million of the watches in the first ten years.

Silver moon

In addition to the date, the day and the month, this watch also shows the phases of the moon. Its silver dial is housed in a gold case and adorned with a guilloché.

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In the wake of the Swatch revolution, similarly designed models also sell strongly, which helps the overall Swiss industry regain a good portion of its lost market share. The label “Swiss Made” still provides a boost as far as image is concerned. At the same time, the industry begins refocusing its attentions to mechanical wristwatches. They are now produced by the established watchmakers as well as by the comparatively new manufacturers in the market. After the mid-1980s, mechanical chronographs enjoy a return to popularity, as can be seen in the display windows and showcases at Bucherer’s stores. Manufacturers are equipping their watches with added complications like the so-called drag indicator for measuring intermediate times, or the flyback feature. The latter allows the hand to be reset to zero with a single push of the button and at the same time begin measuring a new period. Continued development is underway for movements of all kinds, from comparably simple calibers to highly complicated models. With this gradual return to the traditional mechanical wristwatch, manufacturers create the foundation for the revival that follows in the coming years.

Magical moments

This pocket watch not only shows the chronograph, but also the phases of the moon, the date, the day and the month. The elegant wooden box keeps the exclusive timepiece safe.

Sporty details

This two-tone chronograph with day/date function is simply stylish and features an intricately crafted bezel.

The decade of freedom

In 1985, in the literature world, Patrick Süskind publishes his masterpiece “Perfume”, which has now been translated into 46 languages. Michael Jackson releases his album “Thriller” and storms the world’s pop charts. With the best-selling album of all time he becomes the official “King of Pop” in 1982. Classic rhythm and bluesartists like Stevie Wonder and Tina Turner as well as electronic pop bands like Depeche Mode are still among the most successful musicians of the time. Countless retro fashion trends are still the stuff of conversations today. Pegged pants, gaiters, shoulder pads, cowboy boots, Mickey Mouse t-shirts, penny loafers, white tennis socks and bomber jackets are as controversial as the hairdos of the time, in particular the mullet and other hairspray creations. Hobbies now include BMX, yo-yo’s, roller skates and the Rubik’s Cube. Doing aerobics to pop music becomes

an everyday activity in the fitnesscrazed 80s. One artist who becomes synonymous with the decade is Keith Haring. Starting in 1985 and influenced by graffiti, he paints iconic colorful figures on canvas, many of which find their way into homes all around the world. Germany’s longest stretch of graffiti, the Berlin Wall, falls on November 9, 1989, ending the decade with the reunification of the two Germanys in 1990. This precludes the collapse of authoritarian regimes in many other eastern European countries.

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A piece of history

For the 100th anniversary of the company, Bucherer watchmakers designed a pocket watch in the style of the 1880s.

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1990–2000 Technical advancement and global integration The Bucherer company is increasingly focused on the mechanical wristwatches segment, but due to the great popularity of the Archimedes Line, the company also invests in continued research and development of that special timepiece. Its mechanical movement is equipped with sophisticated parts and marks a revival in the most demanding precision mechanics. With its classic shape and highly recognizable design, the Archimedes stands for the assured style and versatility of the 1990s. In 1994, Bucherer develops the Archimedes Perpetual – a particularly special highlight in watchmaking: The full calendar displays can all be set using the crown.

Pretty protection

The classy coin-shaped cover over the dial can be opened and closed – protection and ornamentation all in one feature.

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Not only the collection is growing; the number of locations is also being expanded. In 1996 a new Bucherer shop is opened in Berlin. In 2003 a series of stores are acquired in Munich. The Bucherer staff also reaches the magic 1,000 mark in the 1990s. Jörg G. Bucherer places a lot of value in his management style on individual responsibility. His great flexibility and tolerance make him a skillful strategist and a guarantee of constant progress. Not just the company is important to him, however. He also has a strong connection to his hometown and the culture. In addition to sponsoring festivals, Jörg G. Bucherer has helped to finance the construction of a new concert hall in Lucerne.

Technical advancement and global integration Jörg G. Bucherer and Yves Piaget meet at a gala.

Jörg G. Bucherer’s hometown is very dear to his heart.

Scenic Lucerne The picturesque city is nestled next to the lake of Lucerne.

The 1990s are a decade in which the world comes a step closer together due to technological advances. With the shutdown of the Arpanet, the researchbased precursor to the modern Internet, 1990 marks the beginning of the commercialization of the World Wide Web. The computer boom that began in the 1980s continues as well: Windows versions 3.0, 95 and 98 ensure that PCs end up in increasing numbers of households. In 1996 the DVD more or less replaces the video cassette as a medium for watching films. The Discman relieves the Walkman of its duties, and at the end of the decade the CD has taken over the role of mass-storage medium from the floppy disk. The Sony PlayStation gains in popularity as computer games diversify greatly. In this multimedia world, computer game figure Lara Croft from the “Tomb Raider” series becomes a coveted heroine. Virtual networking gains in significance, primarily a result of the widespread use of mobile telephones. In 1997, text messages are growing in importance for communication while fax machines meet with tough competition from the advent of e-mail. Politics is also doing some networking of its own at the time. The Maastricht Treaty goes into effect on November 1, 1993, officially making the European Union a reality. Starting with the reunification of Germany at the beginning of the decade, some other national borders are redefined.

In 1996 Czechoslovakia is split into the Czech Republic and Slovakia. Nelson Mandela records a major political victory in 1994 when he becomes the first black president of South Africa after the era of Apartheid. The People’s Republic of China is attracting increasing numbers of large- and mid-size corporations from all over the world who want to take advantage of its improved infrastructure, low wages and stable economic system. Popular music of the time is very diverse and includes styles such as hip hop, R&B, Eurodance and techno. The 1990s, however, is the decade of boy groups, in particular the New Kids on the Block, the Backstreet Boys, Take That and Westlife. Their songs and charming ways make teenage girls all over the world shriek with excitement.

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The rebirth of mechanical watches After the disruptions of recent decades, the Swiss watchmaking industry takes some significant steps toward stabilization in the 1990s. The watch market is still flooded with quartz models from Asia but Swiss manufacturers are regaining ground. In the mid1990s, Swiss watches make up about 50 per cent of the world market. Two main developments are responsible for this. On the one hand, with the shift to mechanical watches the industry is reminded of its core capabilities. On the other hand, the latest trends are being taken into consideration. Mechanical timepieces experience an astonishing revival in the 1990s. The reasons are manifold. In addition to the prestige attached to timepieces, new components also play a role in the revival. Watches are increasingly being fitted with transparent glass bases. This lets people look into the filigree mechanics that were once the sole domain of the watchmakers themselves.

Mechanical watches play a significant role primarily in the high-end segment. Despite having just ten per cent of the market share in terms of units sold at the end of the decade, they make up nearly half of the overall value of Swiss watch exports. The fact that Switzerland is the leading source of luxury watches is evidenced by the fact that no other country even comes close to the average price for the watches it exports. The country will continue to expand this lead. Technical advancements are also made in electronic wristwatches. A fitting symbol of increased globalization in the 1990s are the upand-coming radio clocks. They are synchronized by a radio signal, which provides particular precision and makes manual corrections a thing of the past. The first integrated circuit for wristwatches is presented at the beginning of the 1990s. The result is radio clocks that you can now wear on your arm. At the start of the new millennium, the Swiss watch industry is better positioned than ever before - a good reason to feel optimistic about the future.

True rarity

Only 70 pieces of this limited edition watch were produced. Its Roman numerals and slim hands give it a timeless aplomb.

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A leap in time

This Archimedes model made of rose gold has a so-called jumping hour. A tiny window at the top of the dial shows the current hour on a rotating disk that jumps every time the hour changes.

Honorable homage

This pocket watch recalls bygone eras. The small seconds counter is in the traditional 6 o’clock position.

Technical advancement and global integration

Girl groups like the Spice Girls and Destiny’s Child are also filling concert halls and stadiums with ease. In the Germanspeaking world, the Kelly Family, a wildly successful family of nine siblings who play music together, remain an unforgettable phenomenon. Music also manages to inspire the fashion world as well. Baggy pants emerge from skate and hip hop culture, checkered flannel shirts represent the grunge scene, and flared techno pants make their way into raver closets around the world. In the middle of the decade, platform shoes mark a distinct 1970s revival in the fashion world. Long hair is tied up with velvet scrunchies until Jennie Garth on the TV series “Beverly Hills 90210” begins setting new hairstyling trends in 1993 with her bangs look. Zig-zag center parts combined with bob haircuts start appearing in 1996, a phase that also sees tattoos and piercings become socially acceptable. Beyond the more fashionable accessories, items like Kinder Egg figures and the Tamagotchi digital pet attain cult status. The written word is enriched by a revival inpopular literature represented most poignantly by British

author Nick Hornby. Dolly the sheep goes into the history books in 1996 as the first cloned mammal to ever see the light of day. Architecture is dominated in the era of globalization by the concept of “supermodernism”, defined primarily by Dutch architecture critic Hans Ibelings. It is based on the ability to experience a space through the selection of appropriate materials and the creation of a certain atmosphere using lighting techniques. Summer hits like the “Macarena” and “Mambo No. 5” give the end of the millennium a sense of elation.

Timeless calendar

This classic Lépine pocket watch has a perpetual calendar. Its silver dial features a guilloché and blued hands.

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Coherent combination

This watch combines moon phases with day and date display.

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2000–2012 Millennium The year 2000 is also the beginning of a new epoch for Bucherer. As an homage to the founder and grandfather of Jörg G. Bucherer, Carl F. Bucherer undergoes a market repositioning in 2001. The move emphasizes the company’s watchmaking expertise mainly by refocusing its activities on the mechanical timepiece. The initial phase of this new direction is marked by the launch of the Patravi Chronograph GMT, a watch with a wide range of functions and a distinctive appearance that combines technical performance with an athletic design. The models from this line become increasingly fancy and more exquisite in terms of design and technology. In 2005, Carl F. Bucherer files a patent for a monopusher mechanism. Integrated into the case, it enables the simultaneous display of three time zones in the Patravi TravelTec. The Alacria collection for women is subsequently launched and is unmistakable due to its uniquely shaped and tapered cases. They represent the basis for the high level of competence in the craft of jewelry making at Carl F. Bucherer. The Adamavi collection demonstrates subtle elegance and masterfully combines reliable precision mechanics with a classic form.

In 2007, Carl F. Bucherer Technologies in Ste-Croix is integrated into the company. A year later, the company’s own development and production workshops come out with the CFB A1000, a manufacture caliber that puts the innovative power of the brand to the ultimate test. The Manero line was launched internationally in 2011. These modern yet classic timepieces are distinguished by their beauty and elegance as well as demanding mechanics and practical functionality. In 2011, Carl F. Bucherer launches the Manero CentralChrono, a chronograph which sets new design standards. During the anniversary year of 2013, the line is crowned by the Manero Tourbillon, a tour de force in the craft of watchmaking that also impressively rounds out the collection.





“I prevailed”

“Capacity for enthusiasm and ‘joie de vivre’”

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Step by step, Bucherer expands its network of stores in Germany. Stores are acquired in 2002 in Munich and Nuremberg, and in the years that follow shops are opened in Berlin, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt and Hamburg.

125 Years’ Swiss History of Time

“That which is guided by hand”

“To gain something cherished”


Bucherer headquarters in Lucerne.

Superlative precision is a must for producing manufacture calibers.

CFB A1000

First-class performance and ambitious goals: Carl F. Bucherer Technologies in Ste-Croix.

The trade show booth at BASELWORLD 2013, dedicated to the 125th anniversary of the company.

The first decade of the new millennium brings the use of digital media to new heights. People access the Internet with mobile phones, and social networks like Facebook, Google+ and Twitter connect everyone around the world, in particular young people. Wikipedia, an online encyclopedia, is founded on January 15, 2001, offering free access to an inexhaustible wealth of virtual knowledge. Despite its United Nations title of “International Decade for a Culture of Peace and Non-violence for the Children of the World”, the era is unfortunately littered with rather unpeaceful events. The most significant incidents in the political arena are the terror attacks of September 11, 2001, on the World Trade Center towers and the Pentagon in the United States. In addition to the pure shock of the events, they also continue to fuel the drop in stock prices that began in the crash of 2000. At the end of 2007, the real estate bubble created by global monetary speculation in the United States and other European countries finally bursts, causing a global banking crisis. Despite all of that, the decade also stands for independence and peaceful accords. In 2002, Switzerland becomes a member of the United Nations. In 2002, the European Union introduces its new currency, the Euro, and the union is expected to

expand even further. Montenegro and Kosovo gain independence from Serbia in 2006 and 2008, respectively. In the same year Barack Obama becomes the 44th President of the United States of America and the first African-American elected to that office. Meanwhile, Fidel Castro has withdrawn from all political offices due to illness. For health reasons in 2013, Pope Benedict XVI abdicates his post just eight years after being elected from his office as German Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger. The buzzword for worldwide economic development is “globalization”, a term that includes, among other things, the increased privatization and initial public offerings of companies around the world, in particular in China. Topics like renewable energy, hybrid automobiles and electric motors drive progress in technology and the sciences. Apple stages an unprecedented comeback with the launch of the iPod. The year 2000 also marks the beginning of the era of digital television. Thanks to newly developed technologies, 3-D cinema also experiences a comeback with blockbusters like “Avatar” and “Ice Age 3”. Video web sites like YouTube provide an alternative to television programming with free content that you can select yourself.

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The triumph of mechanical watches The turn of the millennium brings its own decisive shifts to the Swiss watchmaking industry. For the first time in a long time, mechanical timepieces outstrip electronic ones in terms of their overall value among Swiss watch exports. On the wings of a continuing trend, the market share for mechanical watches will go up to 75 per cent by 2012. If the 1990s represent the Renaissance of the mechanical watch, then the 2000s are the celebration of victory. Restructuring in the Swiss watch industry is at least one reason for its newfound success. Many brands have been absorbed into larger corporations in which timepieces are redeveloped and passed through internal structures. Because many of the brands are now part of larger companies, they no longer face the challenge of developing their own calibers; mechanical movements are being placed in increasing numbers of models. On the one hand, they are more affordably priced because the costs of development are shared among many parties. On the other hand, customers have to accept compromises in terms of exclusivity.

The utmost in functionality

Traditional watchmaking craft meets ambitious innovation: the Patravi Calendar inspires with its distinctive aesthetics and a useful range of functions.

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The independent brand Carl F. Bucherer is a so-called manufactury, producing parts in its own shops and assembling them into complete timepieces. Watchmakers in the luxury segment, which is dominated by mechanical watches, turn their attentions increasingly to classic complications in the 2000s. Among the most exclusive of those is the perpetual calendar. In addition to the date, the day of the week, the month and the phase of the moon, it keeps track of the length of a month in the year and the unequal lengths of February in leap years. The design of the tourbillon is similarly complex. This mechanism contains the balance, the spiral springs and the escapement in one open, rotating cage. It compensates for the negative effects of gravity, for example, on the precision of a timepiece. The tourbillon is one of the most complicated and difficult elements of watchmaking. Among the increasingly popular and affordable watches are the ones with GMT functionality. The additional hands and dials on these GMT models enable the display of two or even three time zones. Indeed, a function that goes well with the cosmopolitan spirit of the times.

An homage to Lucerne

Even the bracelet of this wristwatch, named the Alacria Swan, is densely set with diamonds.

Millennium After the most extreme heat wave in a century hits Europe in 2003, meteorologists begin discussing climate change and global warming in earnest. Joyous events come one after the other in the houses of European royalty. Millions of people worldwide watch the touching wedding ceremony in 2002 of Willem-Alexander and Máxima, who was inaugurated as King of the Netherlands in 2013, but also the wedding of Great Britain’s Prince William and Duchess Catherine in 2011, was a sensational media highlight.

The Swedish Crown Princess Couple Victoria and Daniel are married in 2010 and their joy is augmented in 2012 by the birth of little Princess Estelle.The “Fantasy” genre in literature gets a major boost from the filming of bestselling series like “Harry Potter”, “Lord of the Rings” and “Twilight”. German teen pop band Tokio Hotel chalk up massive international successes starting in 2005 with 18 gold records and 30 platinum records in 13 different countries. Swiss tennis star Roger Federer goes into the record books as the alltime leader in Grand Slam titles with 15. The fashion world sees a comeback in marine and military trends. Coffee drinkers around the world are spoiled by the “latte macchiato”, hot drink of the decade. The “to go” format is synonymous with the lifestyle of the times, which is primarily dictated by speed.

Two worlds at a glance The Patravi TravelGraph launched in 2001 with the brand Carl F. Bucherer shows two time zones and is the ideal companion for any globetrotter.

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Majestic charm

With the Alacria RoyalRose floral elements gracefully entwine the wrist of this watch’s owner.

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2013 A vision of time The dimension of time and all of its facets are what make the current era starting in 2013 so exciting. On the one hand, the omnipresent phenomena of globalization and digitalization increasingly rationalize time as a resource. This creates new challenges in all aspects of our lives and require us to take a more innovative look at the future. On the other hand, we are also increasingly aware of the slowness of time and self-reflection, feelings that are supported by values such as sustainability, substance, individuality and the longing for home and tradition. In terms of luxury goods, this development means that the end product is less important than the overall unique, creative process. Based on this new concept of luxury, it is becoming decreasingly important what we buy; more important, in contrast, are our intentions and our feelings when making the purchase. This shift in mood is more distinct than ever before in the watch business. With their top locations, luxurious furnishings and first-class service, a visit to a Bucherer store is an experience in and of itself. The “Old England” store opens in 2013 on the boulevard des Capucines, near place Vendôme and the Opéra, and a new flagship store is opened in Munich. The Carl F. Bucherer boutique at the Bucherer store in Paris communicates the corporate architecture of Carl F. Bucherer with the motto “Feel at home”, and their unique, timeless design and high-end materials provide a subtle, relaxing atmosphere. Indeed, it is this successful combination of solid roots and constant innovation that not only shaped the history of the Carl F. Bucherer company and brand but still make it unique in the industry.

For always and forever

The perpetual calendar takes into consideration the different lengths of February in leap years.

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Born into and still at home in the Swiss watch sector, the brand sees the continuation of this legacy as an honorable and self-evident objective. Carl F. Bucherer pursues sustainable positive development driven by attention to detail and a passion among the people who stand behind the brand. Carl F. Bucherer will also continue to be the preferred watch manufacturer for anyone who treasures true value, who won’t be unsettled by the short-lived trends of the time, and who wants to go their own way with class and style. I look forward to a dynamic future of the brand, in which we continue to keep up with time and remain true to our roots. Yours faithfully,

Sascha Moeri, CEO Bucherer Montres S.A.

A journey through time zones

This limited edition model shows three time zones at once. The base of the rose gold case is adorned with an engraving of the company’s founding year: 1888.

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Gleaming extravagance presented during Baselworld 2013.

Patravi ScubaTec

Carl F. Bucherer presented the newest member of the Patravi family at Baselworld 2013.

Watchmaking craftsmanship at its finest

In honor of the company’s 125th anniversary, the Manero Tourbillon Limited Edition is the highlight of the classic Manero line.

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List of references

1000 Uhren – Technik, Präzision, Eleganz (2006). Köln: Naumann & Göbel. Adressbuch von Stadt und Kanton Luzern (1980 – 2001). Luzern. Brückner, M. ( 2011). Faszination Armbanduhren – Von kreativen Tüftlern und erfolgreichen Nischenmarken. Berlin: Pro Business. Brunner, G. L. (1996). Armbanduhren – Vom ersten Chronometer am Handgelenk bis zum begehrten Sammlerstück (2. Auflage). München: Wilhelm Heyne. Bucherer AG (Hrsg.). (1938). 1888 – 1938 – Jubiläumsfeier. Luzern. Bucherer AG (Hrsg.). (1963). 75 Jahre Bucherer. Luzern. Bucherer AG (Hrsg.). (1970). Für Ernst Bucherer zu Ehren seines 75. Geburtstags. Luzern. Bucherer AG (Hrsg.). (1988). 100 Jahre Bucherer – Pendulette – Jubiläumsausgabe der Bucherer Hauszeitung. Luzern. Bucherer AG (Hrsg.). (1996). Jörg Bucherer – 1936 – 1996. Luzern. Bucherer AG (Hrsg.). (o.J.). Neubau Bucherer AG – Luzern-Schönbühl. Luzern. Geschichte der Welt – Eine Jahreschronik in Daten, Fakten und Bildern (2012). München: Dorling Kindersley. Hampel, H. (1992). Automatic Armbanduhren aus der Schweiz – Uhren, die sich selbst aufziehen. München: Verlag Georg D. W. Callwey. Horlbecks, M. Ph. (2009). Lexikon der Uhrenmarken – Über 400 Uhrenmarken von A. Lange & Söhne bis Zenith. Königswinter: Heel. Judt, T. (2006). Geschichte Europas – Von 1945 bis zur Gegenwart. München/Wien: Hanser. Kahlert, H., Mühe, R. & Brunner, G. L. (1996). Armbanduhren – 100 Jahre Entwicklungsgeschichte (5. Auflage). München: Verlag Georg D. W. Callwey. Neubau Bucherer Luzern-Schönbühl (1973). In Schweizer Journal – Der öffentliche Bau. Stäfa: Dr. Hans Frey. Pfeiffer-Beli, C. (2006). 365 klassische Armbanduhren – Technik, Design, Preise. München: Deutsche Verlags-Anstalt. Pritchard, K. H. (1997). Swiss Timepiece Makers – 1775 – 1995 (1. Band). West Kennebunk: Phoenix Publishing. Reinhardt, V. (2011). Die Geschichte der Schweiz – Von den Anfängen bis heute. München: C.H. Beck. Ropönus, J. J. (2004). Mythos Flieger-Uhr – Die Geschichte der Flieger-Uhr und ihr Aufstieg zum Mythos. Oberhaching: Aviatic. Salm, W. (1998). Armband-Chronographen – Im Takt der Zeit. Augsburg: Battenberg. Von Osterhausen, F. (2005). Das große Uhrenlexikon. Königswinter: Heel. Wähner, S. (2005). Hommage an ungewöhnliche Appenzellerin. Appenzeller Volksfreund, Ausgabe 169, page 5.

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Image Sources

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92 .

125 Years’ Swiss History of Time

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125 Years Carl F. Bucherer Book EN  
125 Years Carl F. Bucherer Book EN