The watches produced by Ferdinand Berthoud (Chopard’s sister, high-end brand) are fascinating and depict impressive mechanics and finishings. At the SIHH 2019, the brand introduced an exclusive limited edition watch, named the Chronomètre FB1 “Oeuvre d’Or”. As part of Mexico City SIAR 2019 Salon, the brand introduces a new version of this watch with a novel solid white gold dial – still engraved, finished and patinated by hand.
Since its rebirth in 2016, with the modern wristwatch Chronomètre FB1, Ferdinand Berthoud has demonstrated its mastery of all watchmaking techniques, whether for the decoration of its watches or the technical aspects of its movements. The FB1 is the dream of Karl-Friedrich Scheufele, co-President of Chopard, and a tribute to one of the greatest watchmakers. As such, the main focus of the watches to bear his name are chronometry, precision and exclusivity.
An evolution of the watches presented at SIHH 2019, this new Ferdinand Berthoud Chronomètre FB1 “Oeuvre d’Or” is presented at the SIAR 2019 and offered in a limited edition of five pieces. The most remarkable aspect of these watches is to be seen on the dials, as this version features a hand-engraved and patinated solid gold dial. First presented in rose gold, the new limited edition now features untreated, natural white gold dials, offering a warm colour. Each dial is meticulously hand-grained with a graver and then finished with a rocker to create shimmering reflections. The anglage of the chamfers framing the openings cut into the dial are bevelled to perfection and rhodium-plated for contrast. ‘Ferdinand Berthoud, Chronomètre, Val-de-Travers (the valley where the brand’s workshop is based), Suisse’ is engraved on the dial, followed by the individual limited edition number.
As for the case of these new Ferdinand Berthoud Chronomètre FB-1 “Oeuvre d’Or”, the brand opted for 18k rose gold all over. The 44mm diameter case, with its signature octagonal shape (inspired by Ferdinand Berthoud’s marine clocks), features gold brushed inter-lug modules and a gold crown. The sides of the case are punctuated by multiple sapphire windows, offering a view of the movement’s elements such as the fusée and the chain.
Inside, the magnificent calibre FB-T.FC3 features a pillar construction, the classic architecture employed in marine chronometers. All parts are fitted in between two plates secured together with pillars, instead of having a plate and bridges screwed tightly together. For enhanced precision, it is regulated by an oversized tourbillon driven by a suspended fusée-and-chain mechanism. The latter serves to deliver constant force to the escapement throughout the running time of the movement. The power reserve indicator is based on a ruby-roller resting on a mobile moving up and down, to display an accurate measurement. The barrel is fitted with a Maltese cross stop-work to prevent overwinding. From a technical perspective, the calibre FB-T.FC3 comprises no fewer than 1,119 parts. It runs at 21,600 vibrations per hour with a 53-hour power reserve. The precision of each movement is certified by the COSC.
The movement is superbly decorated, with a hand-applied pyramid engraving adorning the bridges – a decoration inspired by Ferdinand Berthoud’s astronomical pocket watch No. 3, a timepiece assembled and adjusted in Paris in 1806 by his student, Jean Martin. All the parts are finished by hand, including straight graining, bevels, sharp angles and more techniques.
The Ferdinand Berthoud Chronomètre FB-1 “Oeuvre d’Or” with white gold dial is worn on a brown rolled-edge alligator leather strap. It is a limited edition of five pieces, priced at CHF 263,500. More details at www.ferdinandberthoud.ch.