Conceived from a contrarian approach that is unique amongst modern watchmaking, the new Chronomètre FERDINAND BERTHOUD FB 1.3 is the most exclusive to date, following the inaugural FB 1.1 chronometer that won the “Aiguille d’or” Grand Prix award at the 2016 Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève, and the FB 1.2 chronometer.
We reported on the Ferdinand Berthoud FB 1.1 HERE on AlphaLuxe.
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In an unique octagonal shape, the complex platinum case frames a partially openworked nickel silver dial with an understated play on colours. The movement is endowed with complications inspired by the 18th century Ferdinand Berthoud chronometers that served as reliable scientific instruments.
Replete with horological wonders, you can impress people with the features of the movement using terms like “suspended tourbillon”, “constant force” or “fusee-and-chain transmission”!
Or you can be discreet and nobody would know this was a $260,400 timepiece from the dial view.
The philosophy driving Chronométrie FERDINAND BERTHOUD cannot be summed up as a tribute, a reproduction or even a reinterpretation, since it is in fact far more demanding. It embodies a contemporary translation of the quest for excellence pursued by the master horologist who was appointed clockmaker to the French King and the French Navy.
The Chronomètre FERDINAND BERTHOUD FB 1 was the result of an innovative horological approach. Its design, its movement, its finishing and indeed everything to do with this tourbillon and constant force chronometer are highly specific and correspond to an uncompromising pursuit of excellence.
Chronométrie FERDINAND BERTHOUD stemmed from a very special mind-set that breathed life into this project, powered by personal passion. That of Karl-Friedrich Scheufele, President of Chronométrie FERDINAND BERTHOUD , who since 2006 has been patiently putting together a major collection of objects relating to time measurement in the L.U.CEUM: the in-house museum based in Fleurier and showcasing a number of remarkable works by Ferdinand Berthoud.
A PHILOSOPHICAL APPROACH
Inspired by respect for Ferdinand Berthoud, a native of the Val-de-Travers, who went on to become a horologist, inventor and talented author, Karl-Friedrich Scheufele set up a team dedicated to offering connoisseurs the kind of chronometers that Ferdinand Berthoud might have created if he were still alive today.
UNIQUE CASE DESIGN
The Chronomètre FERDINAND BERTHOUD FB 1.3 retains all the aesthetic and technical features of the previous versions crafted in 18-carat white gold (FB 1.1) and 18-carat rose gold (FB 1.2). The 44 mm-diameter case sits naturally and comfortably on the wrist.
Composed of a 950 platinum cylinder housing the movement, two octagonal-shaped side pieces in polished platinum are fixed to contribute to its distinctive shape, which is inspired by an overhead view of a marine chronometer fitted inside its case: its round shape is “cut through” by the arms of the gimbal suspension that holds it in place when the ship is at sea.
The grey ceramic lugs are secured to the case middle by two stylised titanium bolts marking the starting points of the hand-stitched double-sided alligator leather strap. The same ceramic is also present on the medallion adorning the knurled platinum crown.
Finally, four ‘portholes’ cut out from the sides of the case provide a chance to admire the fusee-and-chain mechanism in action, as well as to allow light to flood through the movement.
CHARACTERISTIC PILLAR-TYPE MOVEMENT
The way the FB-T.FC movement is built is a truly unique phenomenon on the contemporary watchmaking scene. This hand-wound movement features 15 bridges and three half-bridges in nickel silver, framed by polished titanium pillars surrounding the mechanical organs.
This is truly the “money shot”. This alone is reason enough to get the watch!
This construction is typical of 18th century marine chronometers, and enables the portholes of the Chronomètre FERDINAND BERTHOUD FB 1.3 to reveal the interior of the watch.
QUEST FOR SLENDERNESS
The watch has 53 hours of power reserve squeezed into a constant torque movement only 7.96 mm thick because its mainspring barrel and fusee are reversed, upside down, and suspended – meaning they are held on one side only. This helps save a few precious millimetres to be the thinnest in its category (patent filed).
The materials and hand-finishing are of noble standards. No error, imperfection or insufficiency is tolerated.
You have to see and feel this watch against your wrist to truly appreciate the tour de force that it is. The winding of the large-diameter knurled crown is the smoothest there is and engages the lucky – and obviously wealthy – owner every two days for as long as he wants to commune with this superlative and certified chronometer (Swiss Official Chronometer Testing Institute [COSC]).
REF. FB 1.3
Platinum and ceramic 50-piece limited and numbered edition
Author’s Biography: Melvyn Teillol-Foo (MTF)
Dr Melvyn Teillol-Foo is a contributor on AlphaLuxe web-zine.
He is also a moderator on PuristSPro.com horology discussion fora. He blends his scientific medical objectivity from the pharmaceutical industry with purist passion, in his musings about watches, travel, wine, food and other epicurean delights.
His travelogue ‘Lazing’ and feasting ‘Grazing’ series of articles have now passed into “mythic legend” on the original ‘ThePuristS.com’ website. Those were the halcyon days when he was “rich and famous” that he remembers with bittersweet fondness.
Dr Teillol-Foo is a quoted enthusiast on the watch industry, appearing in feature articles and interviews by Wall Street Journal, International Herald Tribune, Sunday Times (London), Chronos (Japan), Citizen Hedonist (France) and other publications. He has authored articles for magazines like International Watch (iW) – both U.S. & Chinese editions, ICON (Singapore), August Man (Singapore), Comfort (China) and The Watch (Hong Kong).