We covered the Ferdinand Berthoud FB 1R regulator in our detailed report for SIHH 2018 found here. In Baselworld 2018, Berthoud released an extension to the watch featuring five watches, all crafted in bronze with a different artistic patina. These timepieces honour the most important expedition in French naval history, that of the Astrolabe and Boussole frigates. The frigates sunk in a storm, and on board were five Marine Chronometers made by F. Berthoud. The new watches are a re-imagination of these 5 chronometers, and designated as the F. Berthoud FB 1R Chronometer 1785 Edition.
The frigate Astrolabe was built in 1781 at Le Havre as the flûte Autruche for the French Navy. In May 1785 she and her sistership Boussole (previously Portefaix) were renamed and re-rated as frigates, and fitted for round-the-world scientific exploration. The two ships departed from Brest on 1 August 1785, Boussole commanded by Lapérouse and Astrolabe under Paul Antoine Fleuriot de Langle. On board the frigates were five Marine Chronometers on board, made by Ferdinand Berthoud.
The expedition vanished mysteriously in 1788 after leaving Botany Bay on 10 March 1788. Captain Peter Dillon in Research solved the mystery in 1827 when he found remnants of the ships Astrolable and Boussole at Vanikoro Island in the Solomon Islands. Local inhabitants reported that the ships had been wrecked in a storm.
The fate of Lapérouse, his ships and crew was a subject of mystery for some years. Louis XVI reportedly often inquired whether any news had come from the expedition, up to shortly before his execution. It is also notably the subject of a chapter from Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne.
F. Berthoud FB 1R Chronometer 1785 Edition
As a tribute to the sunken marine chronometers, F. Berthoud decided to create five versions in of their FB 1R regulator wrist watches in bronze, each with an artisanal patina. We managed to photograph three of these five.
The base is the same as the F. Berthoud FB1R-6.1 which we reviewed. All technical and aesthetic descriptions and views apply here as it does in our original review. We also covered the News Release of the FB 1R5 in detail here.