One would think that the world’s largest watch and jewellery retailer would already have, well, more than enough to do with its business model. With more than 100 boutiques worldwide, 13 of them in Germany, Lucerne-based jeweller Bucherer ensures that the latest products from predominantly Swiss manufacturers find their way to the wrists of men and women alike all over the world. Jewellery, of course, is also on offer. But since the company was founded in 1888, new areas of business have been added time and again.
As early as 1919, the company presented the first wristwatches with its own dial imprint. Since 2001, the Bucherer Group has been producing its own watch models for men and women with the Carl F. Bucherer watch brand. Then in 2016, another coup: the first nine creations emerged from Bucherer’s in-house innovation, forged under the name “Bucherer BLUE”; a horological playground where Bucherer reinterprets iconic collections and models in close collaboration with watch manufacturers. The rule of the game is that the creations must at least feature accents of Bucherer’s signature blue colour. But the editions also have exclusive technical features. In the meantime, more than 50 models from 25 watch manufacturers have been created.
From a store to the world’s largest retailer
When Carl-Friedrich Bucherer and his wife Luise decided to go into the jewellery business in 1888, the pair were running a small retail store in Lucerne. The fact that this has since grown into the world’s largest retailer of watches and jewellery shows how ambitious and visionary the Bucherer family has been over the decades and remains today. It is therefore not surprising that Ernst Bucherer made a far-sighted decision in 1924. He included the then barely established Rolex watch company in his product line. He had the ability to recognise the brand’s potential early on – it paid off. Today, Rolex and Bucherer are still closely linked.
This intuition also seems to have been inherited by the third generation and thus by Jörg G. Bucherer. The now 86-year-old patron of the company is Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Bucherer Group, and sole owner. Even though CEO Guido Zumbühl navigates the company, he makes the most important decisions together with Jörg Bucherer. In 2019, Bucherer entered the certified pre-owned watch business; another new business field in which Bucherer sees great potential.
Bucherer BLUE – why blue?
With the Bucherer BLUE creations, the company wants to invite new perspectives, break with conventions, let off some creative steam and offer its customer something special. A ‘relaxed form of luxury’ is what Bucherer calls the editions, which have been exclusive to the Bucherer range since 2016, with annual product launches. Nine brands marked the beginning in 2016 with 14 different models. Audemars Piguet, Chopard, IWC and Jaeger-LeCoultre, amongst others, are presenting new interpretations of their classics, all of which can be recognised at first glance by blue elements present on the dial, hands, hour markers, movement, or bracelets.
The colour blue has always been anchored in Bucherer’s company logo. The reason why Carl-Friedrich Bucherer chose blue of all colours can no longer be resurrected. Blue stands for hope, confidence, imagination and new horizons; qualities that inspire the Bucherer family to this day.
The creations are often limited, although one should distinguish between a strict limitation within the series and a limited production. In this respect, some creations are still available, depending on production capacity. Meanwhile, other models are now sold out, such as the Girard-Perregaux Laureato Absolute Light Bucherer BLUE from 2021. Its 18 pieces were sold out in a very short time. This shows how demanding Bucherer’s clientele is – after all, the watch cost 90,800 euros.
The Bucherer think tank
That said, it is usually not just the blue motifs that distinguish the watches from the usual models of various manufacturers. The innovation laboratory at Bucherer and its partner brands also come up with creative approaches in terms of technology and use of materials, which are then brought to life in close collaboration. For example, the Tudor Black Bay Bronze Bucherer BLUE from 2017 was the first Black Bay with a bronze case. Today, Tudor’s bronze watches from the general product catalogue are a huge success, due in no small part to the premiere and success at Bucherer BLUE.
The 2020 Ulysee Nardin Freak x Bucherer BLUE is another exceptional creation that goes far beyond a few splashes of blue colour. The case was redesigned specially for the edition and features a ‘Carbonium’ finish, a material stemming from space travel. While there is no dial on this watch, it does showcase the baguette-movement with flying carousel, which rotates around itself over one hour. A central bridge serves as the minute hand, while one of the wheels indicates the hours.
With little blue, but even more glamour, the Chopard Happy Sport Bucherer BLUE was introduced in 2021. The dial was created exclusively and uniquely for this edition. The material was ‘hammered’ to resemble the ice formations of the Alps. Between the dial and the sapphire crystal, there are also seven movable diamonds, typical of Chopard’s Happy line. Blue accents are found only in the form of blue sapphires on the lugs and crown, as well as in the ‘Chopard’ and ‘Automatic’ lettering on the dial and second hand.
The company’s drive for innovation is not letting up. This year, Bucherer BLUE introduces three new Haute Horlogerie masterpieces, all of which feature distinctive features developed exclusively for the creations. Never before has Girard-Perregaux skeletonised a movement as much as the new Girard-Perregaux With Three Flying Bridges Bucherer BLUE. A mere three titanium bridges hold the movement together, supporting not only the gear train, barrel and the tourbillon, but ultimately also function as the movement’s base plate.
Another highlight this year is the H. Moser & Cie. Streamliner Tourbillon Bucherer BLUE. For the first time, Moser has installed a tourbillon movement (manufacture calibre HMC 804) with double hairspring in a Streamliner case for a collaborative edition. It is also the first Streamliner collaborative edition to set sapphires into the bezel. The shape, size and design are cleverly chosen so that the watch can be worn by both men and women.
The timepieces are always produced by the partner brands – although Bucherer itself has plenty of horological savoir-faire with the Carl F. Bucherer manufacture brand belonging to the Group – except the BLUE watches that come from Carl F. Bucherer are produced at its own production facilities.
Collectors of mechanical watches have long since discovered the exclusive creations of Bucherer BLUE for themselves. The beauty of the Bucherer BLUE portfolio is that the timepieces, of which there are over 50, are so diverse. Here, the connoisseur with a sense for complex mechanisms will find his favourite piece just as much as the beginner with a sense for aesthetics, without one excluding the other. The Bucherer BLUE creations are innovative, fresh, contemporary and above all: the Lucerne-based company has created something completely new in the watch industry, a world that is constantly trying to reinvent itself.