#GPHG2016 #AiguilledOr

Chronomètre Ferdinand Berthoud FB 1
“Aiguille d’Or” Grand Prix - GPHG 2016

Power, charisma and precision
A contemporary expression for an emblematic name in watchmaking

The Watch Quote™ - November 10th, 2016

The Chronomètre Ferdinand Berthoud FB 1 from Ferdinand Berthoud has been awarded the “Aiguille d’Or” Grand Prix.

The Chronomètre Ferdinand Berthoud FB 1 in white gold with its resolutely distinctive character asserts itself by means of an understated yet sophisticated design. Designed to enable light to pour into the movement gear trains, the case reveals fascinating glimpses of the subtle beauty and complexity of these exceptional timepieces. The Chronomètre Ferdinand Berthoud FB 1 pays a virtuoso tribute to the incomparable lifework of Ferdinand Berthoud.

“The caracteristic of a fusée is to help maintaining an even action of the spring on the gear train thanks to the changing size of the radius building the spiral.”¹

Stemming from a reflective process undertaken in tribute to the horological genius of Ferdinand Berthoud, the new timepiece from Chronométrie Ferdinand Berthoud embodies a modern vision of the creations that the master might create if he were still living today. Karl-Friedrich Scheufele, President of the Chronométrie Ferdinand Berthoud, wanted this exceptional new timepiece to represent a continuation of the work of the master chronometer-maker. This was to be done by adopting a contemporary approach guided by the same innovative spirit, while drawing inspiration from the marine chronometers created by the master watchmaker. Housed in an imposing octagonal case with watertight portholes, the new Chronomètre Ferdinand Berthoud FB 1 is equipped with an original mechanical hand-wound movement comprising more than 1,120 components. Entirely independently conceived, developed and produced by the Chronométrie Ferdinand Berthoud in Fleurier, the FB-T.FC calibre features a tourbillon with central seconds, a distinctive pillar-type architecture, an innovative suspended fusée – chain regulating system and a mobile cone indicating power-reserve. Patents have been filed for each of these features.

Calibre FB-T.FC: a movement housing unprecedented mechanisms

The new Ferdinand Berthoud Tourbillon Fusée – Chain chronometer is powered by an exclusive hand-wound movement entirely designed, developed and produced by Chronométrie Ferdinand Berthoud. Calibre FB-T.FC is distinguished by a striking pillar-type architecture typical of the marine chronometers created by the master-watchmaker in the 18th century. Equipped with a remarkable low-frequency (3 Hz) tourbillon with central seconds, this exceptional movement also features a constant-force regulating device with suspended fusée – chain transmission, a differential-based winding system, as well as a highly specific power-reserve mechanism called a “suspended mobile cone”.

The result of almost three years of research and development, culminating in cutting-edge reliability tests, Calibre FB-T.FC delivers exceptional precision and rating regularity duly certified by the Swiss Official Chronometer Testing Institute (COSC), along with 53 hours of autonomy and optimal readability of its hours, minutes, seconds and power-reserve functions. Inspired by Berthoud regulator-type clocks, the particularly slim, long spokes of the gear wheels are decorated with meticulous care. Patiently finished with a circular brush, bevelled and countersunk, they subtly reflect light onto the pinions. Patents have been filed for several of the unprecedented mechanisms composing this new calibre.

Window onto an exceptional horological accomplishment

The unique architecture of the FB-T.FC calibre highlights a fascinating play on the symmetry between the barrel, the fusée and the tourbillon, visible through the generously open back of the octagonal case. Fitted on gear wheels with tapering spokes and supported by stylised pillars, the barrel, fusée and tourbillon appear to be suspended in mid-air, thereby creating an airy, light feel. The polished titanium pillars securing the bridges to the mainplate generate a space that draws light to the heart of the movement and reinforces the pure nature of this exceptional construction comprising more than 1,120 components within a 35.50 mm diameter and a modest 8 mm thickness. The entirely hand-decorated half-bridges are satin-finished and bevelled with straight-grained flanks, while the jewels are set in finely polished and chamfered chatons.

The face of precision

Focusing firmly on time read-off and the display of its precise measurement, the dial of the Chronomètre Ferdinand Berthoud FB 1 is as understated in its appearance as it is technically complex to produce. The off-set hours and minutes tick by on a white-lacquered subdial at 12 o’clock. Standing out against a black satin-brushed or ruthenium background depending on the case material, the seconds scale appears on a matt translucent sapphire surrounding the dial. In the centre, an opening with carefully chamfered contours reveals the seconds wheel-and-pinion and the driving wheel of the tourbillon carriage – each turning in the opposite direction to the other. Meanwhile, the movement power reserve is indicated on a scale directly engraved on the mainplate and shown at the heart of a 9 o’clock counter. Its degree of autonomy is signalled by an arrow pointing to the words “Haut” or “Bas” – the French terms for high and low written in the native language of Ferdinand Berthoud. Alongside the confirmation of “Chronometer” certification appearing at the bottom of the dial, the inscriptions “Val-de-Travers” and “Switzerland” underscore the hand-crafted nature of this precious timepiece entirely developed in the birthplace of the master-watchmaker.

The refinement of an authentic chronometer

Meticulous care has been lavished on the execution of the hands, inspired by the characteristic shapes of creations bearing the Ferdinand Berthoud signature. The understated lines and contemporary refinement of the Ferdinand Berthoud chronometer extend right the way through to the hand-sewn rolled-edge alligator leather strap.

¹ Ferdinand Berthoud, Essai sur l’horlogerie, Paris, 1763, chapitre XXVI, article 449.

Chronomètre Ferdinand Berthoud FB 1
“Aiguille d’Or” Grand Prix - GPHG 2016
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Calibre - Fusée and chain transmisson - Power reserve - Tourbillon


Tribute to the master clockmaker and mechanic by appointment to the french king and the french navy.

This first mechanical hand-wound movement to emerge from Chronométrie Ferdinand Berthoud in Fleurier is a tribute piece inspired by the exceptional work of the founding father and transcends existing standards in the field of Haute Horlogerie.

Featuring a striking structure and driving exceptionally readable indications, Calibre FB-T.FC is equipped with an exclusive constant-force regulation system with suspended fusée and chain transmission, equipped with a differential winding system. It also has a highly distinctive power-reserve mechanism.

A tourbillon with central seconds hand guarantee the optimal timing adjustment of the movement, whose precision and rate accuracy is certified by the Swiss Official Chronometer Testing Institute.

Fusée and chain transmisson

The original fusée and chain mechanism developed by the engineers of Chronométrie Ferdinand Berthoud occupies an exceptionally small space within the movement thanks to its “suspended” construction.

The barrel and fusée of Calibre FB-T.FC are linked by a chain comprising no less than 474 steel links, including more than 300 pins measuring barely 0.30 mm in diameter and all hand-assembled. The chain measures a total 28 cm long and the maximum tension exercised upon it once in place amounts to three kilos.

When the mainspring is associated with a fusée, the barrel drum turns in one direction when the spring winds down and in the opposite direction when it is wound up, thus causing the chain to wrap around the drum. A distinctive feature of Calibre FB-T.FC lies in the fact that its fusée mechanism has been equipped with an unusually designed differential gear.

Power reserve

Calibre FB-T.FC is equipped with a specific system displaying the movement’s power reserve.

Directly linked to the barrel via a driving wheel, the mechanism uses the winding and letting down motion of the mainspring to make a truncated cone move up and down along a threaded arbor secured to the mainplate.

When the barrel sets the driving wheel into motion, the latter drives the cone by means of two long pegs that push it clockwise when moving upwards and counter-clockwise when travelling downwards, respectively corresponding to the winding and letting down of the mainspring.

A mobile arm tipped with a roller jewel serves as a feeler-spindle in measuring the up-and-down motion of the cone, bringing the arm closer or further away from the centre of rotation. A rake-shaped element along the axis of the arm transmits the movement’s power-reserve level to a hand.


Ferdinand Berthoud Calibre FB-T.FC is fitted with a tourbillon organ featuring an innovative direct-drive seconds hand whose performance is certified by the Swiss Official Chronometer Testing institute.

Equipped with an aerodynamically shaped oversized variable-inertia balance oscillating at a low frequency (3 Hz), the tourbillon carriage of the Chronomètre Ferdinand Berthoud FB 1 performs one rotation per minute.

The balance is made of copper beryllium (CuBE) and equipped with a self-compensating balance-spring made of rust-free alloy.

The terminal curve of the balance-spring is delicately shaped by hand in harmony with the noblest watchmaking traditions. To ensure fine adjustment of its amplitude, the rim (felly) of the balance is fitted with two sets of maillechort inertia-blocks, one complete and the other truncated so as to ensure independent adjustment.

The 67-part titanium tourbillon carriage is held in place by a bridge with a single arch and poised by means of two 18-carat gold studs.

The direct-drive seconds display is enabled by the fact that the direct-drive seconds wheel is identical and co-axial with the wheel driving the tourbillon carriage.

Chronomètre Ferdinand Berthoud FB 1

Chronométrie de Marine
Réf. : FB1.1

Case :Case in 18-carat white gold with titanium inter-lugs elements
Octagonal case fitted with four (4) lateral portholes in glareproofed sapphire crystal providing a chance to admire parts of the movement
Crown :18-carat white gold with 18-carat rose gold inlay
Diameter :ø 44.00 mm
Thickness :13.00 mm
Water-resistant :30 metres
Crystal :Domed, arched and glareproofed sapphire crystal
Case-back :Screw-in case-back with glareproofed sapphire crystal
Dial :Vertical satin-finish silver-toned dial with cut-out centre
White lacquered hours and minutes counter at 12 o’clock
Recessed power-reserve counter at 9 o’clock
18-carat blued gold hours, minutes and power-reserve hands
Blued bronze seconds hand
Movement :Calibre FB-T.FC
Mechanical hand-wound
Suspended fusée and chain constant-force transmission regulation
3 Hz low-frequency tourbillon with direct-drive seconds
Diameter :15 ¾ lignes - 35.50 mm - thickness 8.00 mm
Jewels :46
Balance wheel
:12 mm
Tourbillon cage
:16.55 mm
Power reserve:53-hour
Frequency :21600 vph
Movement precision and rate accuracy certified by the Swiss Official Chronometer Testing Institute
Functions :Heures, Minutes, Secondes, Réserve de marche, Tourbillon
Strap :Hand-sewn rolled-edge double-sided alligator leather
Clasp :18-carat white gold length-adjustable safety folding clasp
Buckle :Also available with an 18-carat white gold pin buckle
Limited edition :50 pieces
Price:212'000 CHF

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to the Cosmograph Daytona

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