Ferdinand Berthoud 1001 variations of Ferdinand Berthoud
Case, dial, movement, finishings, materials and colors, Chronométrie Ferdinand Berthoud have created such distinct variations of their Chronometer that it has become a range in and of itself.
When Chronométrie Ferdinand Berthoud introduced their first Chronometer in 2016, the brand had caused quite the stir. That year was not really one for top-of-the-line-brand introductions. But the project had been in the making for a good many years and was supported by a personal ambition from Karl-Friedrich Scheufele, founder and CEO of Chronométrie Ferdinand Berthoud as well as co-president of Chopard. Their momentum was strong and extremely selective.
The gray gold Chronomètre Ferdinand Berthoud CFB 1 © David Chokron/WorldTempus
Based on a movement with almost over-the-top finishings (hand-wound with a torque-limiting crown, one-minute tourbillon, central seconds' hand, power reserve with a cone feeler, force regulation with fusée and chain, Maltese-cross stop-work, 6-pillar structure), Chronométrie Ferdinand Berthoud had also introduced a design of their own : an octagonal modular case made of a central container, side panels, a separated lugs-piece and a case-side pierced with several portholes, an oblong opening on the dial which reveals the tourbillon and part of the gear train, hand-engraved dials...As the years went by, this movement has given birth to several variations. But it is so complex and painstakingly finished that those variations are few and far between, so much so that each one has become a model in and of itself.
The construction principles of the CFB 1 case © Chronomètrie Ferdinand Berthoud
Chronométrie Ferdinand Berthoud uses the highly usual variation modus operandi : they change the case material and the dial color. Pink or gray gold, platinum, cemented steel, titanium or bronze for the former, shades of black, gray and gold for the latter. The hands, circlings and minute-tracks individual hues are the last brush-strokes that paint the most obvious deviations.
The Chronomètre Ferdinand Berthoud CFB1.L-4 © David Chokron/Worldtempus
But elements of design that aren't available elsewhere also contribute to these variations. The piece comprised of both lugs and a side-bar is generally manufactured in ceramics, but can also be done in the same metal as the case. The number of sapphire portholes on the case-side vary, and with it the number of viewpoints on the movement's inner workings. Then there are the movement's finishings.
The standard finishings of the CFB movement © David Chokron/WorldTempus
Besides the silver-and-brass surfaces of the Chronomètre Ferdinand Berthoud FB 1.1 and 1.2, the brand have also used a black nickel treatment on the Starry Night, a unique piece donated to Only Watch, and made good use of the bridges located on either side of the tourbillon. They have been known to bear an engraving, to have been altogether made of gold or even sapphire, like on the platinum ref.CFB 1.3 or the FB1.2-2 Edition Malaspina, a unique rose gold piece introduced at the 2019 SIAR. The very limited series called «Oeuvre d'or » have pushed the handcraft envelope even further with solid-gold and extensively hand-engraved grained dials and bridges.
One of the five « Oeuvre d'Or » FB1.2-1 © David Chokron/WorldTempus
On top of all that, Chronométrie Ferdinand Berthoud have added a pair of references which are more than mere variations. Offered in cemented steel of a 5-piece limited edition in oxidized bronze, the CFB 1R model uses the regulator display in an original setting, based on works from Ferdinand Berthoud himself : central seconds, minutes at 12, hours at 2, a modified power reserve mechanism located on the dial surface and a full dial which now hides the tourbillon. The second reference is called CFB 1L and offers a moonphase display unlike any other, driven by a seesaw cam that's partly visible through openings in the dial.
The pre-oxidized and stabilized bronze case of the CFB 1R.5 © David Chokron/Worldtempus
By regularly altering more or less visible components, Chronométrie Ferdinand Berthoud have managed to spin a total of 13 versions around a single movement, all of them with a distinct personality. But more than that, they have laid out their sense of design for the world to see, one that's rooted in what Ferdinand Berthoud used for his time-keeping scientific instruments. And there lies the foundation of all things to come...
Chronomètre Ferdinand Berthoud CFB 1.3-1's movement with its sapphire bridges © David Chokron/Worldtempus
Chronométrie Ferdinand Berthoud offers a contemporary take on the work of a master watchmaker. Its exclusive timepieces, developed by today’s master watchmakers, are a tribute to the excellence of yesteryear.Find out more >
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