Dive Watch Wednesday: Hands-On with the Carl F. Bucherer Patravi ScubaTec

Carl F. Bucherer Patravi ScubaTec - Blue - recliningRecently, Carl F. Bucherer sent us one of its Patravi ScubaTec prototype watches for a closer inspection, and after spending a few days with it, we at DiveIntoWatches.com think that the brand has built a watch that ticks a lot of boxes.

While the family-owned Bucherer company looks back on a long tradition as a leading watch retailer, its own high-end watch brand, Carl F. Bucherer – at least as we know it today – is relatively young. Carl F. Bucherer was re-launched in 2001, with the introduction of the Patravi as its casual chronograph. Only seven years later, Carl F. Bucherer introduced its first own in-house movement, Caliber CFB A1000, which clearly demonstrated the brand’s ambitions in regard to its direction and positioning. But dive watch enthusiasts had to be patient a bit longer, until summer 2013, when the Patravi range finally learned to dive. Instead of trying to re-invent the dive watch category or to break some sort of depth record, the Carl F. Bucherer Patravi ScubaTec simply aims to deliver a dive watch that will be in it in for the long haul. We think it is also a very well-executed design evolution of the Patravi range in general. The distinctive, 500-meter water-resistant case measures a bit more than 44 mm in diameter, but thanks to its relatively modest 13.45 mm height (and its strong, short lugs) doesn’t wear that big on the wrist. Additionally, the rather heavy bracelet (which is the version of the watch we recommend) helps to balance the weight . The complex case was designed with a lot of straight lines and angles, and a mixture of polished and brushed parts which are beautiful to look at but probably a bit delicate should you actually want to wear it scuba diving.

Carl F. Bucherer Patravi ScubaTec - reclining

Speaking of which, you would most likely not need the integrated helium release valve (first photo, below), but it is an interesting new visual take on the topic, with an additional shroud. However, you would definitely need, and appreciate, the rotating divers’ bezel, which features a two-tone ceramic inlay and a large bezel pip treated with green lume, while the dial and hands glow blue in the dark (second photo, below).

Carl F. Bucherer Patravi ScubaTec - Helium Valve
Carl F. Bucherer Patravi ScubaTec - illuminated dial

The dial is one of the strengths of the ScubaTec: It features an interesting “fish-scale pattern” (even though the manta rays that are engraved on the caseback, as shown below, don’t actually have scales), bold applied markers, and large hands which are quite distinctive. Most importantly, the dial is ultra-legible.

Carl F. Bucherer Patravi ScubaTec - Caseback

Another beautiful detail is the screw-down crown surrounded by a separate crown guard: Its blue strip in the middle repeats the color of the bezel insert (as seen in the below photo), and the whole device is a pleasure to operate.

Carl F. Bucherer Patravi ScubaTec - Crown guard

Inside the watch is the CFB 1950.1 automatic movement, which has been chronometer-certified by COSC. We presume it is either based on the ETA 2824 or (perhaps more likely) on a Sellita SW 200, measuring 26.2 mm in diameter and 4.8 mm in height, with 25 jewels, approximately 38 hours of power reserve, a quick-set date function and hacking seconds. Whatever its base, it is a robust, reliable movement and has probably been treated well to deserve its own number and COSC certificate. Nevertheless, considering Carl F. Bucherer’s positioning and ambitions as well as the list price of the ScubaTec, we would have preferred a more “exclusive” choice for the movement. As of 2014, Carl F. Bucherer offers you a choice of three different dial versions of the ScubaTec (the more recent silver and blue dial versions are combined with rose-gold elements), either on the bracelet (as shown) or on a rubber strap. A fourth version, with a red and black bezel insert, was dedicated to the Swiss Soccer Association during the 2014 World Cup, but it came with a different dial pattern. They are all available with either a matching, branded, custom rubber strap or a stainless steel bracelet. Considering the relatively slight price difference of about $400, we recommend going for the bracelet option. The clasp (close-up below) features an integrated dive extension (which is a little short) as well as fine adjustment (which is great), but no safety clasp.

Carl F. Bucherer Patravi ScubaTec - Clasp

In short: if you like the look of the watch, we are quite sure you will be amazed at how good it will look and feel on your wrist.

Carl F. Bucherer Patravi ScubaTec - Wrist shot

What we would have changed:

  • No need for a helium valve in a watch clearly made for scuba diving
  • The base movement could be a bit more exclusive

What we liked very much:

  • Over-delivering in most aspects
  • Beautiful bracelet with massive clasp and great integration into case
  • Two-tone ceramic bezel insert with large pip
  • Crown with matching color code, beautiful crown protector
  • Perfect design evolution of the Patravi family

What we absolutely loved:

  • Dial and hands
  • Outstanding overall quality of manufacture
  • Great wrist presence

Technical Details:

Manufacturer: Carl F. Bucherer
Model: Patravi ScubaTec
Reference: 00.10632.23.33.21 (bracelet), 00.10632.23.33.01 (rubber strap)
Case: 44.6-mm diameter, 13.45-mm height; stainless steel case with screw-down crown- integrated helium-release valve; massive caseback; 4-mm-thick sapphire crystal with nonreflective coating on both sides; unidirectional bezel (120 clicks) with two-tone ceramic inlay, 500 meter water-resistance
Bracelet: 20-mm lug size, stainless steel bracelet, butterfly clasp
Dial: black with fish-scale pattern and applied markers
Movement: CFB 1950.1 automatic movement with COSC certification
Price: starting at $6,400

No Responses to “Dive Watch Wednesday: Hands-On with the Carl F. Bucherer Patravi ScubaTec”

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  1. Have had my scuba tec for 2 years now. Recently started stopping during day. I am not sure if it’s battery operated or must be manually wind up. Looking for little help. Thanks.

    • It’s automatically wound (no battery, just enough movement required, can also be manually wound), you might have to get it checked by an authorized dealer.

  2. Mark Keatley

    I saw this watch (ScubaTec with the blue dial and black rubber strap) on vacation in Florida and bought it immediately. One of my favorite watches.

  3. Anthony E Jordan

    I’ve often admired the quality and ruggedness of the Scubatec but at this price level I think that any prospective customer has the right to expect a manufactures movement. and not an ETA rehash.

  4. Wayne Silva

    The crown on the patravi scubatec.
    Can you see the threads like on a submariner. Or is it like the breitling, hidden. To easy to cross thread.
    Thank you

  5. Wow, I love this latest edition from Bucherer as it kinds of picks up the design from the previous Omega Seamasters. I like the color of the dial and the bracelet too.

    However, as always price is too high. I would love to own this watch, but the price is detriment to me.

    Maybe I’ll catch it on ebay or ashford.com sometime. ;-)

    • Bert Kanne

      Gorgeous but very expensive and I cannot determine why. Many companies offer similar spec watches for under a $1,000.

  6. Debashish

    I love some CFB watches, though not all.

    This watch seems to be quite attractive, though it is not very cheap, it would be a good buy for persons who love CFB timepieces.

    Thank you for the fine report!

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