When presented in 2019, the Heritage Bicompax Annual came as one of the best surprises Carl F. Bucherer ever did to the vintage enthusiast community. Nicely shaped and pleasantly complicated, it was styled to showcase the brand’s technology housed in designs inspired by watches from the mid-20th century. First released in two limited editions, one with panda dial and one in steel-and-gold with a champagne-coloured dial (delightful indeed), the Carl F. Bucherer Heritage Bicompax Annual makes a comeback this year, just ahead of Watches & Wonders, with a steel case and black “reversed panda” dial.
1956 was the year Carl F. Bucherer introduced its 34mm bi-compax chronograph. With its two-tone aesthetics, the chronograph came with a gold-plated case and a “salmon” pink dial with protruding rectangular push-pieces and a large crown. The juxtaposition of a fancy gold trimmed case and tool watch functionality clearly positioned the model as an elegant gentlemen’s chronograph. This handsome vintage watch was chosen by the brand as a base for its new “Heritage” collection, starting in 2019 with the Heritage Bicompax Annual. But rather than just bringing an old design back to life, CFB decided to give it a mechanical twist, by implementing one of the most practical types of calendar existing.
Following the first limited editions of 2019, which comprised a silver-coloured panda dial in steel, this year the Luzern-based brand introduces its exact opposite, a watch that is once again encased in stainless steel but that features a so-called “reversed panda” dial, in sunray-brushed black with silver-coloured sub-counters. This darker attire gives the model a slightly more contemporary look and feel, as well as a more compact overall style.
Other than this new dial, this new edition of the Heritage Bicompax Annual retains the same 41mm case, with its brushed surfaces and multiple polished accents – on the thin bezel or the side of the lugs. A reference to its vintage inspiration, the watch features well-integrated and ergonomic rectangular pushers. It is protected by a double-domed sapphire crystal, reinforcing its retro look.
The main specificity of this Heritage Bicompax Annual is that, despite the relative simplicity of its dial, it is a fairly complex watch that combines a two-register ‘bicompax’ chronograph with an annual calendar. In the present case, it’ll only need one correction every 4 years, during leap years, as it takes into account the months with 28, 30 or 31 days automatically. As such, it will remain accurate until 2024. It is seen as the best compromise between a simple date or complete calendar, and the complex and expensive perpetual calendar. On the Heritage Bicompax Annual, the calendar indications are displayed by a large date with two discs at 12 o’clock and a month indication at 4:30. The rest of the dial remains untouched, with elegant stylized Arabic numerals and syringe-style hands with lume.
Under the sapphire caseback is an automatic ETA-based (2894) chronograph base movement with an extra annual calendar module and a power reserve of 42 hours. Not the fanciest of CFB’s engine, it however allows this watch to be fairly accessible.
The new Carl F. Bucherer Heritage Bicompax Annual black dial is available in two editions, with a black leather strap or a black rubber strap. Its production will be limited to 888 pieces and it will be priced at CHF 6,900, EUR 6,400 or USD 7,200.