Chronométrie Ferdinand Berthoud FB 1 is the winner of the Golden Hand award at the GPHG 2016, the grand prize that is given at the most relevant annual award ceremony in the world of watchmaking. This clearly demonstrates the technical excellence of the first piece from the recently established brand, named after the legendary horologist from the 18th century. Chronométrie Ferdinand Berthoud FB 1 is a watch with understated design which is fitted into an octagonal gold housing with a special design with portholes on its sides. Inside it is a truly spectacular proprietary hand-wound tourbillion movement that utilizes a suspended fuse and chain transmission system to guarantee constant force. Additionally, it has special winding and power reserve systems that further raise its intricacy. Chronométrie Ferdinand Berthoud FB 1 is issued in two limited edition series; each consisted of 50 pieces and with the price tag of around $214,550.
Chronométrie Ferdinand Berthoud is a new star on the watchmaking scene since its premier piece has managed to scoop the most important watchmaking accolade at this year’s edition of the Grand Prix d’Horogerie de Geneva. The novel brand is headed by the Karl-Friedrich Scheufele, a power figure in the industry who is also known as a co-President of Chopard. Mr. Scheufele officially founded Chronométrie Ferdinand Berthoud last year and he named it after the legendary watchmaker Ferdinand Berthoud from the Age of Enlightenment. One of the reasons for this is the fact that Berthoud is an iconic figure who draws his origins from the Neuchatele canton where Chopard is located. Berthoud lived in the 18th and the early 19th century and he was renowned for his extremely accurate marine chronometers which he created for the French Navy.
The heritage of Ferdinand Berthoud is visible throughout the award-winning timepiece. Firstly, it can be seen in the design of the shape of the case of FB 1 which is modeled after gimbals that were used to position the maritime timekeepers of yesteryears. The watch features an octagonal outer shape and the cylindrical inside part. The case-band also has four water-tight portholes that allow the wearer to see some of the impressive aspects of the movement, namely its constant force module and the power reserve mechanism.
The entire piece which received the Golden hand award is based on its low frequency (3 Hz) manually-wound mechanical Caliber FB-T.FC. Needless to say, the caliber was completely designed, developed and manufactured in-house. The caliber is an immensely complicated ensemble that includes more than 1,200 parts. A large number of these components is reserved for the chain of the constant force mechanism which is additionally suspended in order to take as little space as it is possible. It is designed and created by hand with the greatest precision and it also includes a custom differential gear.
Moreover, the proprietary caliber is likewise equipped with a special differential winding mechanism and an original suspended mobile cone power reserve system. These systems have been developed for several years, but proved their worth with the movement which has a certified chronometric reliability and precision throughout its 53-hour long power reserve.
Another great innovation that is seen in the movement is its tourbillion organ with a direct-drive seconds hand. The fact that a large seconds hand is unusually connected to its oversized and exposed tourbillion (which is consisted of 67 parts) requires a hefty amount of energy in order to tick adequately precise, which is the main reason why the power reserve lasts for only 53 hours, until the point when 40 percent of the energy remains stored.
White or Red Gold
Chronométrie Ferdinand Berthoud FB 1 is fitted inside a housing made of either white or red gold, depending on the version. Both variants include some sections of its housing in ceramic in order to be more durable. The octagonal case is combined with a round fixed bezel and a domed, arched and anti-reflective sapphire crystal on the front. The other side is also made from glare-proofed crystal. The case is 44 mm wide and 13 mm thick, while its water resistance measures to 30 meters.
The Dial with an Opening Shows Two Wheels Spinning in the Opposite Directions
The dial of the watch features a double opening that reveals the driving wheel of the tourbillion carriage, as well as the seconds wheel and pinion. Hours and minutes are shown on the white lacquered off-centered dial at the top, while the state of the power reserve can be seen on the left section of the watch’s face which is set on a lowered plane than the rest of the dial. The inscriptions on the power reserve display are in French. The face of Chronométrie Ferdinand Berthoud FB 1 is decorated with a vertical satin finish and it is black (for the red gold version) or gray (for the white gold one). The hour and minute hands are made from 18 K gold (blued for the gray-faced version), while the seconds hand is in bronze. The seconds hand corresponds to the translucent sapphire scale that occupies the periphery of the dial.
Even the strap of the best watch of 2016 is made with a special care and attention to detail. It is crafted by experts in artisanal manner from top quality leather and with the use of traditional methods. It can be locked with a deployant clasp or a pin buckle. Both clasp options are made from gold.