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Ferdinand Berthoud

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.

  • Ferdinand Berthoud WorldTempus
  • Ferdinand Berthoud WorldTempus
  • Ferdinand Berthoud WorldTempus
  • Ferdinand Berthoud WorldTempus
  • Ferdinand Berthoud WorldTempus
About

Ferdinand Berthoud was born in 1727 in Switzerland’s Val-de-Travers. As soon as he could, he left his birthplace to go and live in Paris, where he completed his training as a clockmaker. His superlative skills very quickly earned him recognition, and in 1753 he was awarded the title of Master Horologer by special decree of King Louis XV. 

From that time on, Ferdinand Berthoud would devote his life to perfecting the art of horology and developing precision clocks. It was a time when the courts of Europe were vying to be the first to master the measurement of longitude. He was sent to London by the King to examine Harrison’s H1 and H4 marine chronometers, and earned the unusual distinction of being elected a Fellow of the Royal Society.

On his return, he designed two marine chronometers, the No. 6 and the No. 8, which in 1768 accompanied a navy vessel on a 12-month voyage. The results were exceptionally accurate for the time, and Ferdinand Berthoud was rewarded with the title “Horologist-Mechanic by Appointment to the King and the Navy”.

With his reputation and future assured, Ferdinand Berthoud was able to entrust his Parisian workshop to his nephews Henry and Louis Berthoud, who supplied the courts of Europe while Ferdinand concentrated on perfecting his clock mechanisms and writing a number of reference works, which helped to disseminate his knowledge of clockmaking and marine chronometers.

Ferdinand Berthoud, a gifted inventor and clockmaker, and the first in a line of clockmakers, was honoured with the title of Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur by Napoleon in 1804, and died three years later at the age of eighty.

In 2006 Karl-Friedrich Scheufele, president of Chopard, acquired the rights to the name and created Chronométrie Ferdinand Berthoud, of which he is also president. His aim was to pay tribute to an exceptionally gifted clockmaker, his impressive body of work and the values of perfection, precision and innovation with which his name is associated.

1753
Ferdinand Berthoud is awarded the title of Master Horologer by King Louis XV’s council.
1768
Marine chronometer No. 8 is able to establish longitude at sea to an accuracy of half a degree.
1802
Publication of Histoire de la mesure du temps par les horloges (History of time measurement with clocks).
2006
Karl-Friedrich Scheufele creates Chronométrie Ferdinand Berthoud.
2015
The FB1 model and its manufacture calibre FB-T.FC are unveiled in Paris.
Philosophy

Chronométrie Ferdinand Berthoud has reinterpreted the legacy of the famous master horologer to offer a contemporary vision of excellence. Remaining faithful to the output of its namesake, it offers exclusive watches imbued with the spirit of innovation and the ceaseless quest for precision.

These modern chronometers are produced in the Chronométrie Ferdinand Berthoud workshops in Fleurier, near to where the master was born, according to a process steeped in tradition but using the best of modern technology. Like their illustrious predecessors, these timepieces are an invitation to travel.

Collections

FB1 chronometer

The FB1 is the first chronometer of a new era, directly inspired by historic timepieces. Its resolutely contemporary openworked case reveals a constant force tourbillon movement with fusée-and-chain mechanism.

Watches

Reviving a legendary name from history

As an avid watch collector, Karl-Friedrich Scheufele has a particular passion for the work of Ferdinand Berthoud, which he took to the ultimate extreme by acquiring the rights to the name and deciding to revive it as a brand that produces watches that attempt to second-guess what Berthoud would produce were he still alive today. The results have been superlative examples derived from the marine chronometer with a movement whose complexity and finish is unparalleled.

The case of the FB1 chronometer recalls the octagonal forms of marine chronometer housings and consists of numerous parts. It is available in unusual metal combinations that include titanium and gold. The movement relies on the traditional fusee and chain technology to ensure a constant delivery of the force from the mainspring to power the watch, ensuring optimum accuracy. Small sapphire crystal windows in the side of the case give a view of the movement's construction, which is based on a pillar-type construction, while the dial remains sober in design. In a more recent version, with a titanium case, the sapphire crystal windows were removed but the lower bridges were realised in sapphire crystal, offering a unique view of the movement through the watch's sapphire crystal case back.

Unusual time display based on the heritage of the marine chronometer

Ferdinand Berthoud timepieces offer an unusual way of displaying the time that hails from the principles of the original marine chronometer. On the FB1 models the hours and minute are shown on a small subsidiary dial at 12 o'clock, while a central seconds hand ticks away from the centre of the watch, where an aperture in the dial that the extends to 6 o'clock shows the movement beneath. A small scale at 9 o'clock shows the remaining power reserve on the $200,000+ timepiece. Appropriately named the FB1, the brand's first watch was produced first in white gold (Chronométrie FB 1.1), then in rose gold (Chronométrie FB 1.2), then platinum (Chronométrie FB 1.3) and most recently in two titanium versions (Chronométrie FB 1.4-1 with a black dial and Chronométrie FB 1.4-2 with a silvered dial).

The fusee and chain at the heart of the movement

The fusee and chain mechanism used to power the watch has an unusual suspended construction. The chain consists of 474 individual steel links and 300 pins. It is 28 centimetres long and subjected to a maximum force of three kilogrammes once in place. This fusee and chain mechanism guarantees a power reserve of 53 hours.

After the marine chronometer, the regulator

The brand's second timepiece pays tribute to another measuring instrument that was significant in the history of timekeeping: the regulator. Again, the seconds emanate from the centre, while the subsidiary dial at 12 o'clock is reserved for the minutes and the hours are read off a sector disc between 1 and 2 o'clock. The power reserve is shown at 10 o'clock with the entire mechanism that drives the indicator hand visible. A series of limited editions of this piece, with the FB 1R5 designation (also referred to as the Edition 1785), was produced with stabilised aged-bronze cases. The FB-T.FC.R calibre used in this watch uses a suspended barrel and fusee, which is designed to save on thickness. This calibre is also unusual because the tourbillon does not indicate the seconds, since the aforementioned centre seconds hand (rare for a tourbillon) performs this function.