Recently, Chopard unveiled its sister (or brother) brand: Ferdinand Berthoud. The first watch in the brand’s collection, the FB1 Chronometer, was a long time in the making. Before we delve into the technical aspects of this incredible watch, we want to bring you a little background on the brand itself.
Back in 2006 Chopard acquired the name Ferdinand Berthoud to help revive the ancestral tradition of Swiss watchmaking by incorporating contemporary interpretations of heritage pieces and pioneers of chronometric precision. Ferdinand Berthoud was known for his contribution to maritime horological innovation and chronometers. He was appointed as ‘Horloger-Mecanicien du Roi et de la Marine’ and Horlogiest-Mechanic by appointment of the King to the Navy.
Berthoud left behind a rich legacy of timepieces and inventions that caught the eye Karl-Friedrich Scheufele, co-president of Chopard, who began the process of helping to bring to the forefront the contributions of the master horologist. Scheufele purchased the name and founded Chronometrie Ferdinand Berthoud.
Now, Chronométrie Ferdinand Berthoud has developed its first limited-edition watches — produced according to the highly exacting standards that sister brand, Chopard, is also known for. The hallmarks of the watches: precision, complexity and understated elegance. The movements are entirely developed, produced and assembled in the workshops of Chronométrie Ferdinand Berthoud.
The first release — the FB 1 Chronometer — is crafted in two exclusive series of 50 watches each. Inspired by the marine clocks developed by Ferdinand Berthoud, the FB 1 Chronométrie is meant to be the modern day realization of the watch the brands names sake would have created were he alive today.
The FB 1 draws inspiration from the Marine Clock M.M no 6 dated 1777 which is housed in the LUCEUM in Fleurier. The marine clock had been outfitted with a constant-force device, a fusee chain transmission and pillar construction helped guide the development of the FB1. A fusee was used primary in antic watches and clocks between the 15ht and 20th century to improve time keeping by equalizing the uneven pull of the mainspring as it runs down. It is no easy feat to accomplish.
Calibre FB-T.FC is an incredible hand wound movement comprised of more than 1,120 components—complete with a tourbillon, and fusee’ and chain mechanism. The movement is built in a pillar structure, and the fusee is equipped with a differential winding system as well as a ‘suspended mobile cone’ power reserve mechanism. Additionally, the tourbillon has a remarkably low frequency (at 3 Hz) and features a direct drive seconds display and a constant-force regulating device.
The incredible watch is the result of three years of research and development. The calibre is so precise that it has earned COSC certification from the Swiss Official Chronometer Testing Institute. The watch offers 53 hours of power reserve and has a patent pending for its superb mechanisms.
The movement is housed in an octagonal case inspired by maritime concepts, and the sides of the watch feature four portholes with sapphire crystals to allow a side view of the movement. The transparent case back allows a view of the tourbillon as well as the suspended fusee and chain. The dial indicators are extremely legible and as the symmetry is paramount, everything is well laid out. A small twelve-hour dial is at twelve o’clock, while the tourbillon is found at the 6 o’clock. A large second hand ticks off around the entire dial. The watch will be available in either 18 carat white gold and titanium or 18 carat rose gold and black ceramic.