Monochrome Watches
An online magazine dedicated to fine watches
First Look

The New Black-Toned Ferdinand Berthoud Chronomètre FB 3SPC

The handsome and complex FB3 Chronomètre now comes in white gold with a black-finished movement.

| By Xavier Markl | 3 min read |

The project of Karl-Friedrich Scheufele, co-president of Chopard, Ferdinand Berthoud has established a very strong presence in the minds of independent and high-end watchmaking enthusiasts. The FB3, a complex time-only watch, is the third pillar of the brand. Sophisticate yet understated, this elegant chronometer is a superb display of fine workmanship, meticulous attention to detail and mastery of traditional horology. The model was originally proposed in white gold with a 2N-gilded calibre or in pink gold with a black rhodium-finished movement. It now comes in an attractive combination of a white gold case and black-finished movement, unveiled on the occasion of Dubai Watch Week 2023.

As its name suggests, the FB3 is the third contemporary creation of Ferdinand Berthoud. It was envisioned as an answer to the desire from the brand’s enthusiasts to be able to wear a slightly smaller timepiece and to have a (relatively speaking) more accessible piece. It nonetheless retains the no-compromise ethics and design philosophy of Berthoud. In particular, like its predecessors, the focus on chronometry is essential. This time, there is no tourbillon, remontoir or fusée-and-chain mechanism; the oscillator is fitted with a cylindrical hairspring, a treat inspired by the No. 26 decimal watch, a pocket watch made in 1793 by Louis Berthoud (Ferdinand Berthoud’s nephew).

Ad – Scroll to continue with article

Besides their hypnotic design, cylindrical hairsprings offer the advantage of breathing concentrically and perfectly on the axis of their pivots. Yet, these are extraordinarily difficult to craft and require more space compared to a regular balance spring. It required the Berthoud watchmakers 2 years to develop and refine a reliable and precise solution. Every single movement requires hours to be finely adjusted and regulated, the chronometric precision of each movement being certified by the COSC. Additionally, a hacking mechanism allows for precise setting of the time. 

This cylindrical hairspring ticks at the heart of a splendid movement whose geometric, three-dimensional design is based on an original architecture, with the main plate sandwiched by bridges on each side. On the dial side, an array of six bridges traces a beautiful layout. At 9 o’clock, ample space is dedicated to the regulating organ – balance wheel, pallet-lever and escape wheel and their distinctive stepped bridges. The barrel is positioned at 12 o’clock under an arched bridge. Although the movement is hand-wound, it is fitted with a slip-spring to avoid overwinding. The power reserve is rated at 72 hours when the movement is fully wound and it can be monitored at 2 o’clock. The lower part of the dial features the seconds indication while the hours and minutes can be read on the ring at the periphery of the movement.

Just like the previous FB3, this new version comes in a 42,3mm case with a large crown and a porthole providing another view of the splendid hairspring. For this new version, the 18k white gold case is combined with a black-finished movement. And as always with Berthoud, the greatest care is taken in the crafting and finishing of all components. The execution is simply spectacular. 

The Ferdinand Berthoud FB3 is worn on an alligator strap with a gold pin buckle. The price is set at CHF 143,000. For more information, please visit

2 responses

  1. I’m clearly not the target segment because I would just buy a Breguet Tradition 7097 for 37.3k EUR (listed price) and save over 100k. I’m sure this Ferdinand Berthoud is great, but that much greater than a Breguet?

  2. To Lusiano

    For me it’s worth the price difference. Everything contrasts and shines very beautifully in person. Highest level of watchmaking in my opinion.

Leave a Reply