March 22, 2019
by Rob Nudds
The Carl F. Bucherer Patravi Scubatec Black Manta Special Edition watch is certainly an eye-catching piece. A weighty, multi-faceted DLC-coated case, topped by a wide, boldly numbered uni-directional rotating bezel, this uncompromising sports watch takes no prisoners. There are a lot of design elements that I really like about this watch, but before we dig into those, let’s check the specs.
Brand: Carl F. Bucherer
Model: Patravi Scubatec Black Manta Special Edition
Dimensions: 44.6mm × 13.45mm
Water Resistance: 500 meters
Case Material: DLC-coated titanium
Movement: CFB 1950.1 caliber
Power Reserve: 38 hours
Strap/Bracelet: PET (polyethylene terephthalate) made from recycled plastic bottles with bronze stitching
Price & Availability: Price TBC
The gargantuan dimensions are made more wearable by employing titanium as the case material. The 500-meter water resistance and helium valve compound this watch’s serious ocean-dwelling credentials. The anti-reflective sapphire displays an arresting dial decorated with horizontal stripes and the image of a manta ray in full swim. The luminous hour markers and hands are given center stage in the press shots, with the brand keen to emphasize their visibility and quality. If they perform as well in real life as they do in these promotional images, wearers are in for a treat.
The watch is powered by the CFB 1950.1. This is a self-winding movement with a power reserve of 38 hours. It has passed the Contrôle Officiel Suisse des Chronomètres (COSC) testing procedure and is, therefore, certified to be accurate within +6/-4 seconds per day in a variety of positions and over a wide range of temperatures. I believe the base caliber used by Carl F. Bucherer for this model is an ETA 2892, which is a solid and reliable timekeeper, 1mm thinner than the common 2824 tractor produced by the same company. Thinness in movements used in massive dive watches may seem weirdly unnecessary, but of course, space-saving is always a priority in watchmaking, especially when the case back is closed. An extra millimeter of space can be handed over to the sapphire or the caseback to increase robustness, so it is quite often welcome.
The movement has a 28,800vph operating speed, 25 jewels, and a date complication, visible through an outlined date window at 3 o’clock. Perhaps for added legibility, or perhaps to tie in the white text, white minute markers, and white date window border, the date wheel is white with black type. Theoretically, I prefer white text on a black background when using a black dial, but in practice this color choice looks pretty nice. In fact, I think that it is one of the more visually comfortable white date wheels paired with a black dial that I have seen recently.
This piece is forged in partnership with the UK-based charity The Manta Trust, and is the second such watch made for the cause. A portion of the proceeds will be accordingly donated to the Trust and used for the continued conservation of these fine creatures. Carl F. Bucherer talks about how these “gentle giants” are a “vision of grace,” and how the watch itself is intended as a stylistic homage to this inspiring ocean-dweller. In fairness, I think the brand has actually achieved that congruity in many ways, although I think the bronze-colored silhouette of the manta ray on the dial might be a bit more cartoonish than graceful. That’s not to say I don’t like it (I do love cartoons), I just wonder whether it was entirely necessary given the exceptional caseback decoration that does enough to tie this piece to its inspiration, for my money. And talking of money, I’m sorry to say that no official prices have yet been confirmed. If, however, it retails in the same ballpark as other Carl F. Bucherer Patravi Scubatec divers, it will fall in the $6,000-$7,000 range. The most recent special edition for The Manta Trust retailed at $6,200, although it wasn’t DLC-coated. Even if it’s floating somewhere towards the top end of that estimate, I don’t think it’s too bad, considering the wrist presence and talking points it provides — specially if you love mantas. Learn more at carl-f-bucherer.com.