LENGNAU, Switzerland — Carl F. Bucherer may not be a household name, but the company likes being known as one of Switzerland’s last family-owned watchmakers.
“We have no thought of joining a big group,” Sascha Moeri, the brand’s chief executive, said during an interview in the boardroom of its sprawling factory.
Mr. Moeri, 44, spends one day a week here, traveling from the company headquarters in Lucerne to confer with engineers on the movements that the brand creates in-house and the ones it develops with partners (used in 35 percent of its timepieces) and development of its five lines, which the company calls “families.” Manero, Patravi and Adamavi are primarily bought by men, Mr. Moeri said, while Pathos and Alacria are dedicated to women.
The brand, commonly called C.F.B., sells its mechanical watches for $2,500 to $30,000, although its top-end models go for as much as $400,000. Among its quartz timepieces, the least expensive is an Adamavi steel model that sells for $2,000. “We have price diversity in each family,” Mr. Moeri said. “Entry level, midlevel and the ‘cherry on the cake’ for big complications or jewels.”
As a privately owned business, C.F.B. does not release revenue information. But the growth of watch sales to Chinese buyers has had a big effect: This year, the company’s 16th selling outside Switzerland, the factory is expected to produce 25,000 watches. That is four times as many as it did in 2010, when Mr. Moeri, a Swiss-German from nearby Biel, joined the company.
He came from the Swiss watchmaker Milus, where he had spent eight years, and began his career at age 22 in the accounting department at the Swatch Group.
Mr. Moeri said the sales downturn that roiled the watch industry over the last two years did not have a strong effect on the brand as 40 percent of its sales are in Asia, where activity did not slow as dramatically. “For us, it was different,” he added. “Asia is super important. And a lot of our business today is done by Asians traveling abroad.”
(As for the rest of its sales, 30 percent is from Europe, 20 percent from North America and 10 percent from the Middle East and other areas.)
Apart from the brand’s traditional European base, its Greater China sales region, which includes Hong Kong and Taiwan, is considered the company’s crucial market, supplemented by outlets in Japan. Mr. Moeri also believes that there are potential sales spots throughout the region, particularly in Indonesia and Vietnam.
As an example of its Asian outreach, last year the Chinese film star Li Bingbing signed on as C.F.B.’s first global brand ambassador. Her image now appears on Chinese billboards and in global social media, including Instagram, Facebook and YouTube, to promote the jeweled models of Pathos and Alacria.)
Mr. Moeri said Asian men favored the Manero line, a group of classic dress watches, while he wears the chunky Patravi TravelTec, calling the chronograph a sporty “American hotcake.”
Still, the brand’s Asian expansion — it sells in 150 stores throughout the region — has had its bumps. DFS, the duty-free department store that was its sole outlet in Singapore, stopped carrying the brand in September, a sales associate saying there were insufficient sales to its primary shoppers, tourists from mainland China.
The company’s origins date from 1888, when the watchmaker Carl Friedrich Bucherer opened a jewelry and watch shop in Lucerne.
Today his grandson, Jörg G. Bucherer, 81, owns the Bucherer Group, one of Europe’s largest watch and jewelry retail chains. And C.F.B., established in 2001, is one of its subsidiaries.
As chairman of the watchmaker’s board of directors, Mr. Bucherer is involved in all its major decisions, such as buying and retrofitting the factory here in Lengnau, where Gucci once produced watches. This isolated factory town at the foot of the Jura Mountains also is home to the Rado watch factory, and near those of Rolex, Breitling and ETA, the movement manufacturer that is part of Swatch.
“Mr. Bucherer is a fast decider — split seconds,” Mr. Moeri said (just after returning from taking the chairman’s call). “If he agrees with the strategy, you can move forward. His word is his bond.”
The renovated factory, which officially opened in June 2016, is divided into three departments: production and assembly, movements, and customer service. “We can go to 30,000 pieces, but after that we will need more production room,” Mr. Moeri said, adding that increasing Asian interest, along with traditional European demand, may require the company to have additional space within the next two years.
On the open-plan assembly floor, technicians in white coats sit at rows of well-lighted desks, wearing loupes to fix hands, dials and movements. Most are women, who generally score higher on the firm’s dexterity tests than men; when workers are hired, they spend three to six months in training before they are allowed to work independently.
The best known of the brand’s in-house movements are two series: CFB A1000 and CFB A2000, all powered by a peripheral rotor, which the company regards as a milestone feature. Movements developed with its partners include the CFB 1904, used in the Manero ChronoPerpetual; the CFB T1001, in the Manero Tourbillon; and the CFB 1901, in the Patravi TravelTec.
Movement production is highly automated, and the company is increasing automation whenever possible. Engineers refine computer production plans, written in French, that were developed for each of a movement’s 500 parts — while nearby sets of whirring machines cut tiny components, set the movements’ jewels, polish elements and imprint serial numbers as well as check waterproofing, accuracy and magnetic-resistance.
The company’s watchmakers, who have years of training and experience, are concentrated in customer service, revitalizing watches sent in for repair or refurbishing.
For Mr. Moeri, however, a highlight of the factory tour was a chance to talk about the role that the company’s watches played in “Atomic Blonde,” the spy thriller this summer starring Charlize Theron.
There were three models in the movie, a presence arranged by the movie’s director, David Leitch, who is a C.F.B. brand ambassador, but it was the Manero CentralChrono that had the most screen time. (Spoiler: A list of double agents was embedded inside.)
Flipping over a Manero Flyback, another model in the film, Mr. Moeri touched the case’s sapphire glass back. An outer ring turns around the 25-jewel movement, a CFB 1970 caliber, which can measure multiple time intervals in rapid succession.
“Our product is the hero,” Mr. Moeri said.