Monochrome Watches
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The Carl F. Bucherer Heritage BiCompax Annual “Orca”

The enduring appeal of CFB's vintage bi-compax chronograph with a reversed panda dial and the practicality of an annual calendar.

| By Rebecca Doulton | 4 min read |
Carl F. Bucherer Heritage BiCompax Annual Orca Black

Following its introduction in 2019 at the last edition of the Baselworld watch fair, Carl F. Bucherer’s Heritage BiCompax Annual was a resounding success. A winning combination of vintage chronograph aesthetics with the practicality of an annual calendar, and a price tag that didn’t feel exorbitant, the Heritage BiCompax Annual made its debut in steel with a silver dial and black counters (panda-style) and a gorgeous two-tone rose gold and steel model with a champagne dial. According to Sascha Moeri, CEO of Carl F. Bucherer, the reaction to the Heritage BiCompax Annual in 2019 “was overwhelming. Customers and fans of the brand have been asking us ever since to let this reference live on with further variants.

Carl F. Bucherer Heritage BiCompax Annual Orca Black

The good news for fans of the Heritage BiCompax Annual is that it is back in 2021, now with a reversed panda-style dial with a black background and silver counters. Nicknamed the “Orca” by CEO Sascha Moeri for its black colour scheme with silvery-white accents, the latest Heritage BiCompax Annual is limited to 888 pieces (a tribute to the founding year of the Lucerne company in 1888).

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Heritage collection

Swiss family-run watchmaker from Lucerne since 1888, Carl F. Bucherer has seven watch families under its belt, including the Heritage family comprised of limited edition Heritage BiCompax Annual models and the Heritage Tourbillon Double Peripheral in white and rose gold that made its debut in 2018. Although Carl F. Bucherer might not have invented the peripheral rotor, it certainly has put it on the map as one of its hallmark technical solutions.

Carl F. Bucherer Heritage BiCompax Annual Orca Black

Unlike many watch brands dusting off historical models to cater to the current rage for vintage-style watches, Carl F. Bucherer took a 1950 bi-compax chronograph from its archives  – originally housed in a 34mm gold-plated case with a salmon dial and rectangular push-pieces – and decided to upgrade it with a practical annual calendar. Between1940 and 1949, Bucherer developed an entire line of chronographs featuring one, two or even three sub-dials, a tachometer and a big date. The inspiration behind the Heritage BiCompax Annual is, in fact, a model from 1950 with two symmetrically positioned sub-dials and slim rectangular chronograph pushers with telemeter and tachymeter scales.

The latest stainless steel Heritage BiCompax Annual (a.k.a. the Orca) retains the 41mm case size of the 2019 launches with an engaging combination of brushed and polished surfaces. The rectangular pushers of the original have been maintained but are now finished with rounded, polished surfaces for a more elegant appeal.

BiCompax Chronograph & Annual Calendar

The snailed silver-coloured registers at 3 and 9 o’clock give the watch its appealing symmetry and stand out remarkably well against the black galvanized dial. The retro Arabic hour numerals, the syringe-style hour and minute hands (treated with lume), and the double-domed sapphire crystal underscore the vintage mood. However, the double telemeter scales of the 1950s model have been replaced with a tachymeter scale. Despite the copious information resulting from the combination of a chronograph and an annual calendar, the layout is intuitive, highly legible and does not tamper with the overall retro mood of the watch.

Carl F. Bucherer Heritage BiCompax Annual Orca Black

The annual calendar indications are represented by the big date window just below noon and a subtle rectangular aperture lodged between 4 and 5 o’clock for the month. Both the big date and month apertures are outlined in white and feature a white background with black inscriptions. The day of the week, a feature often associated with annual calendars, has been suppressed, no doubt in the name of legibility and elegance. The advantage of an annual calendar is that the date and month functions will only need one adjustment a year, in February.

Carl F. Bucherer Heritage BiCompax Annual Orca Black

Calibre CFB 1972

The watch is fitted with an automatic ETA-based (2894) chronograph base movement with an extra annual calendar module and a power reserve of 42 hours. Obviously, the brand’s signature peripheral rotor has not been used on this movement, but the sapphire crystal caseback reveals an openworked rotor styled to match the brand’s logo. The use of this relatively simple yet robust movement helps to keep the price at a reasonable level, considering the complication that is on top.

Carl F. Bucherer Heritage BiCompax Annual Orca Black


The Heritage BiCompax Annual Orca is limited to 888 pieces. It is available on a black calfskin leather strap (00.10803.08.32.01) or a black rubber strap (00.10803.08.32.02), both with a stainless steel pin buckle. The retail price is EUR 6,400.

Carl F. Bucherer Heritage BiCompax Annual Orca Black

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