Carl F. Bucherer Patravi Scubatec
Angus Davies enjoyed a few days association with the Carl F. Bucherer Patravi Scubatec. This diver’s watch, presented in 18-carat rose gold and blackened titanium, is an exemplar of horological luxury. However, is it too good for diving?
This detailed review of the Carl F. Bucherer Patravi Scubatec Ref. 00.106.32.22.33.01 includes live images, specification details and pricing.
Several years ago, I celebrated a professional achievement by purchasing a fine bottle of Margaux. While I enjoy drinking wine, I accept my purse can seldom stretch to the best examples of vintage French nectar. Nevertheless, on this occasion a celebration was in order, I ‘pushed the boat out’ and squandered a princely sum on a dusty bottle which promised so much.
The time came to open said bottle of wine and I chose to share it with my wife and parents. I poured four glasses of the wine and we proceeded to toast my aforementioned success. Closing my eyes, I contemplated the noble taste of the Margaux; the bouquet and flavour were exceptional.
My late father suddenly left the room with his part filled glass, returning some moments later with it filled to the brim. I justifiably assumed that he had topped his glass with a further slug of the Margaux. Sadly not. My father remarked ‘I have added a bit of Ribena (a blackcurrant cordial) to it… it just takes the edge off it.’ My mother, wife and I stood aghast at this act of sacrilege. Understandably from that day onwards, he was only ever offered the cheapest ‘Vin de Pays’ we could find.
My long preamble serves to show that some individuals are philistines. An object imbued with many delectable attributes should be savoured.
I have spent the last few days wearing a ‘diver’s watch’ from the Swiss watchmaker, Carl F. Bucherer, the Patravi Scubatec, and whilst ‘I do not wish to spoil the ending’, I can already attest that I adore it. However, immersing such a beautiful object in the aggressive clutches of the sea seems disrespectful and reminiscent of my late father’s crass actions.
Legibility is an absolute prerequisite for any diver’s watch. The lucid interaction between the aquatic explorer and his robust timepiece must be exemplary, overcoming the impaired visibility of deep water.
I have not tested the Scubatec beneath the ocean’s waves, but on terra firma it annunciates time with clear diction. The golden hour and minute hands are bold, proving simple to read. White luminescent material, ubiquitously presented on the dial, augments legibility in restricted light. The central sweep seconds hand, exhibiting a delicate mien with its svelte profile, circumscribes the full dial area and interacts with the neat white markings gracing the chapter ring.
It is befitting that this diver’s watch exploits differing dial depths and textures, compounding its profound appeal. The applied, golden hour markers, a mixture of torpedo-shaped and triangular forms, sit on high with rounded tips. The black dial surface is adorned with numerous scallop-shaped waves, reinforcing the aquatic character of the watch.
A date aperture is positioned at 3 o’clock. Crisp black numerals are presented on a white date disc. The aperture features a white border which confers delineation, enhancing ease of read-off.
The Carl F. Bucherer Patravi Scubatec upholds the reputation of the finest divers’ watches, delivering superb readability. Each indication proves instinctive to decipher, an admirable trait which has much relevance, not only in the sea but also on dry land.
The lustrous case of this version of the Scubatec pairs 18-carat rose gold with blackened titanium. The generously proportioned 44.6mm case delivers a notable heft. This should not be interpreted as a criticism, quite the contrary, its palpable mass bestows a pleasing sense of worth and confers a welcome taste of luxury.
The case is predominantly gold with the titanium being employed on the helium value surround, crown protectors, caseback and areas of the folding clasp. Whilst I have a predilection for gold, I accept that supplanting the titanium components with 18-carat rose gold would increase the mass and retail price of the Scubatec. Moreover, the blackened titanium areas provide an agreeable contrast to the golden tones employed.
Comments relating to ‘heft’ may suggest that the watch feels cumbersome, however, this is not the case. The watch proved comfortable and did not inhibit free movement of my left wrist. The height of 13.45mm, together with the previously stated diameter, accord tasteful wrist presence without appearing gauche.
I think one reason this Carl F. Bucherer Patravi Scubatec exhibits a seemly appearance is that the rubber strap tempers the overt nature of the case. Indeed, I think Carl F. Bucherer has been very wise offering its gold watches with straps and sensibly sidestepping the oligarch excess of a full gold bracelet.
The crown pairs both brushed and polished surfaces. Its knurled grip is dissected in two and features a blue ringlet in between. A crown protector, formed of blackened titanium, delivers a comely contrast with the adjacent case band. The case band is vertically satin brushed and includes lugs which sharply taper downwards.
The prying nature of my right index finger could not resist endlessly probing the bezel. My inquisitive nature was rewarded with a multitude of endearing tactile encounters. The bezel is unidirectional, typical of this genre of watch and pairs 18-carat rose gold with ceramic. Adorning the decompression zone, gold markings stand out from the mid-blue background. The remaining sectors of the bezel pair gold Arabic numerals with a glistening black sea. The periphery of the bezel is satin brushed and sports a useful grip, aiding manipulation. All elements of the bezel are free of rough edges, realised to a faultless standard.
Carl F. Bucherer sponsors the Manta Trust charity. In recognition of its commitment to preserving the manta ray, two of these creatures are depicted on the solid caseback.
With a helium escape valve and maximum water resistance of 500 metres, the Carl F. Bucherer Patravi Scubatec is ‘the real deal’, ably equipped to meet the requirements of deep-sea exploration.
The Carl F. Bucherer Patravi Scubatec is equipped with the CFB 1950.1 Caliber. This self-winding movement contains 25 or 26 jewels and the mainspring is capable of storing 38 hours of energy.
Staring at the solid caseback, I cannot help wondering about the execution of the movement within. I have viewed other timepieces from this Lucerne-based watch company which incorporate exhibition casebacks and, to this end, have been able to see impressive finishing. Nevertheless, on this occasion, I am unable to comment about the decoration of the movement’s parts as my critical eyes are denied sight of the various bridges, mainplate etc.
One aspect which is not in doubt relates to the precision of this Scubatec. This timepiece is a chronometer and comes with the independent reassurance of COSC certification. During the period this Swiss timepiece was in my possession it performed with unerring exactitude.
My courtship with the Carl F. Bucherer Patravi Scubatec proved very enjoyable. I did not consummate our relationship with a dip in the sea, exploring a subterranean world 30 metres below the sea’s surface. However, I suspect few wearers of divers’ watches ever explore the potential of their chosen timepiece.
This may lead some readers to assume that divers’ watches are irrelevant. They are not. A diver’s watch will usually deliver a highly lucid display that proves simple to read day or night. The case construction will normally be robust, suiting everyday use. Finally, for those wearers who regularly forget to remove their cherished timepiece prior to a bath, shower or swim, a diver’s watch will ably shrug off water ingress. The Scubatec does all of this and more, with the added assurance of COSC certification.
The 18-carat gold and blackened titanium case is incredibly attractive. I found that it suited both formal and casual wear, supplementing any sartorial ensemble. The watch delivered excellent wearer comfort while sitting contentedly on my wrist.
Nevertheless, there is an elephant in the room. This watch, whilst of sturdy construction, is too good for diving. Personally, I would consider a steel-cased version of the watch is more appropriate for scuba diving. This would share many of the attributes of my press-loan, but prove significantly cheaper. The notion of this handsome gold encased Scubatec crashing against sub-aquatic rocks, in my opinion, would sacrilege. The Carl F. Bucherer Patravi Scubatec should be worn on dry land, cherished, admired and savoured over time.
- Model: Carl F. Bucherer Patravi Scubatec
- Reference: 00.106.32.22.33.01
- Case: 18-carat rose gold and blackened titanium; diameter 44.6mm; height 13.45mm; water resistant to 50 bar (500 metres); sapphire crystal to front and solid case back.
- Functions: Hours; minutes; central sweep seconds; date.
- Movement: CFB 1950.1 Caliber; self-winding movement; 25 or 26 jewels; power reserve 38 hours
- Strap: Black and blue rubber strap paired with a 18-carat rose gold and blackened titanium diver’s clasp
- Price: CHF 23,700 (RRP as at 21.6.2016)