The New Ferdinand Berthoud FB 1.3: A Photo Essay

When Ferdinand Berthoud was relaunched it took the watch world by storm, and its very first model, the FB 1.1, even won “Aiguille d’or” Grand Prix award at the 2016 Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève. The driving force behind the brand is none other than Karl-Friedrich Scheufele, Co-President of Chopard, who is very passionate about the 18th-century Chronometers made by Ferdinand Berthoud, clockmaker to the French King and the French Navy. He collected several of Berthoud’s watches which are included in the L.U.CEUM, Chopard’s museum in Fleurier.

FERDINAND BERTHOUD FB 1.3
The modern brand that bears his name focusses on the watches that Ferdinand Berthoud perhaps would have made when he was still alive today. This means that there is a particular focus on the escapement. To provide it with a constant force, which ensures the most accurate timekeeping, it is fitted with a fusee-and-chain transmission. This is by itself already very challenging to make, as it is hand assembled, and just like its larger equivalent, as strong as the weakest link. While the movement is small, the forces on the chain are significant, so accomplishing such a transmission is quite a feat in itself, especially in a movement that is only 7.96 mm thick.

FERDINAND BERTHOUD FB 1.3
The fusee-and-chain powers the tourbillon, which is the centerpiece of this movement. Aimed at achieving near-perfect accuracy the tourbillon is made out of 67 parts, which are all housed within the titanium carriage. Especially interesting is the self-compensating regulating balance-spring, which is made of a special stainless steel alloy, and features a Phillips outer terminal curve, or overcoil, which is made by hand at the manufacture of Chronométrie Ferdinand Berthoud.

FERDINAND BERTHOUD FB 1.3
While it is a tourbillon, it is not used to display the seconds, but for this Ferdinand, Berthoud fitted the watch with a central seconds hand. As the movement is aimed at providing the highest degree of precision, it makes sense that you can easily “see” this accuracy, in which the second’s hand plays an important role. Of course, is the movement also chronometer certified.

FERDINAND BERTHOUD FB 1.3
The construction of the movement is inspired by the 18th century Marine Chronometers that Ferdinand Berthoud build. It features 15 bridges, and three half-bridges, made out of nickel silver, a beautiful material yet also one that requires the hand of a master, as it is very difficult to work with. They are framed by pillars of polished titanium, which allows for the incorporation of the portholes in the design of the FB 1.3, giving you an intimate insight into its inner workings.

FERDINAND BERTHOUD FB 1.3
The movement is housed in an exceptional 44mm case, which is for the FB 1.3 made out of platinum. It features a unique style, which can best be described as a modern interpretation of vintage style. In contrast to the platinum are the lugs made from grey ceramic and feature titanium bolds. The logo on the crown is also engraved in a ceramic insert.

The dial, made of satin-brushed nickel silver, incorporates this pleasing color combination even further in the watch. It gives it a restrained, understated kind of flair, in a watch that stands out by its unique movement, and exceptional high finish.

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