We saluted Chopard and Karl-Friedrich Scheufele for the release of the Ferdinand Berthoud FB1 in 2015. The dream of reviving the brand in the most traditional way, that Mr Scheufele pursued with tenacity, was awarded the “Aiguille d’Or” Grand Prix award at the 2016’s Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève. Ferdinand Berthoud FB1 was manufactured in 18k white gold case. Following the same line, The FB1.2 was released in a rose gold case, and now, Chronomètre Ferdinand Berthoud F1.3 was released in platinum.
Chronomètre Ferdinand Berthoud FB 1.3
The limited series of fifty pieces in platinum respects the path led by its predecessors. Using the same case design and a variation of the dial, the brand proposes an exercise of taming the light and time. The watchmakers use haute horlogerie finishes and classic complications inspired by the brand’s marine chronometer heritage to obtain a modern wrist marvel.
The 44mm diameter platinum case has an octagonal shape reminding us of the wooden boxes of the marine chronometers. It features four side portholes fitted with glare-proofed sapphire crystal. The movement and key elements are revealed.
The strap uses an ingenious and visually appealing system with grey ceramic lugs fixed with titanium bolts. The same type of ceramic can be found on the platinum crown as a medallion with the brand’s logo as decoration.
The dial is another similarity to the FB1.1 and FB1.2. The finishes of the dial are gorgeous. Under an apparent simplicity, the dial features a series of excellently executed finishes. Manufactured in satin-hand-brushed nickel silver, the dial features the same opening as the previous models. The windows reveal the central second’s wheel and the tourbillon carriage driving wheel. The use of a central seconds display is rare in the tourbillon watches. The seconds’ indication uses a matte translucent sapphire ring, with white printed railway track and numerals, surrounding the dial.
The beautiful power reserve indication is placed at 9 o’clock. The openings revealing the power reserve and the view to the driving wheels are chamfered by hand and then black rhodium-plated. This detail offers a pleasant contrast and balances with the seconds’ track and the black-lacquered subdial of the hours and minutes.
Under the dial, we see an explosion of horological beauties and spectacular finishes form the Calibre FB-T.FC. The movement has 1,120 constituent parts, from which 790 elements used for the 285mm chain. And yes, the movement uses a constant force fusée-and-chain transmission. The one-minute tourbillon has 67 elements, it is cased in a 16.55mm titanium cage, being fixed with three titanium pillars and poised with two 18k gold studs. The tourbillon uses a 12mm diameter copper-beryllium balance wheel beating with 21,600bph (3Hz). The variable-inertia balance-wheel has two balance weight sets integrated, from a gold-plated nickel-silver material, for a better chronometric setup. It is important to mention that the calibre FB-T.FC is COSC officially certified.
The Calibre FB-T.FC has a series of patent-pending innovations like suspended fusée with a differential based winding device, suspended barrel with Maltese cross stop work device, suspended power reserve device with mobile cone and suspended tourbillon with direct-drive seconds.
The movement contains three half bridges and fifteen bridges in non-treated German silver. These will develop in time a beautiful, warm patina. To keep all together are used highly polished titanium pillars. In this way was possible to reveal the fusée via the case side openings.
The movement finishes are top-notch. All elements are well decorated in a harmonic way. The combination of modern materials and technologies with classic marine chronometers building techniques have an astonishing result in the Chronomètre Ferdinand Berthoud FB 1.3.
Chronomètre Ferdinand Berthoud FB 1.3 Specifications and price
The platinum Chronomètre Ferdinand Berthoud will retail for S$362,750/ CHF248,000 / EUR 257,000 / USD 260,400.
Calibre: Calibre FB-T.FC
Type: mechanical winding movement
Dimensions: Ø 35.50mm, 7.96mm height
Power reserve: 53 hours
Frequency: 3Hz / 21’600 vph
Functions: hours, minutes, seconds and power reserve
Material: platinum (PT 950) with anthracite grey ceramic lug elements
Dimensions of the case
Diameter: 44mm diameter and 13m thickness
Crystal: sapphire with anti-reflective coating
Crown: platinum, 9mm diameter
Caseback: see-through sapphire
Water resistance: 30m
Material: One-piece hand-sewn rolled-edge black alligator leather strap
Buckle: Double-blade adjustable-length safety folding clasp in platinum. Pin buckle available on request.
If you’re going to price a watch in the realm of a house, THIS is how you do it. So many manufacturers these days case their piece in gold or platinum, throw a tourbillion in it, and then ask outrageous money for it. But this is a rare case where you’re actually getting what you pay for. The detail is meticulous down to the last screw (or chain link in this case). The windows in the sides of the case are amazing, though you’ll probably still need a loupe to really see what’s going on inside. The open work dial is fascinating and unique, but not overdone. And the view of the movement through the exhibition caseback is simply breathtaking with the chain and fusee sitting proudly above the tourbillion. I love everything about this piece. Think my wife would be upset if I sold the house, bought the watch, and found us an apartment? ????