Richard S. Cunanan

A Different Weight Category, And A Prize-Winner Still

Ferdinand Berthoud has released a new version of their award-winning FB 1 watch

Swift on the heels of their announcement about a platinum-cased model, Ferdinand Berthoud has released a new version of their award-winning FB 1 watch, this time in titanium.

Ferdinand Berthoud’s Chronomètre FB 1 came out to win the Aiguille d’Or Grand Prix award at the 2016 Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève. They have followed up this highest of horological honors with a few different versions of that timepiece, mechanically identical but with different case materials. And honestly, the FB 1 would be fascinating even if it was cased in tinfoil.

Assembling of the tourbillon cage and the spiral.
Power reserve cone assembling.
Assembling of the chain
Sapphire bridges being screwed.

Previous models of the Chronomètre FB 1 have been cased in white gold, in rose gold, and in platinum. The decision to make a model of the Chronomètre cased in titanium – in two versions, no less – simultaneously takes the focus away from the precious metal of the case, and makes the whole timepiece lighter. The lightness and the modern aspect of this watch are further reinforced by the choice of chamfered sapphire bridges for its FB-T.FC-2 caliber. Their transparency enables the gaze to plunge into the depths of the entirely rhodium-plated movement, while ensuring smooth visual integration with the titanium case color.

The FB 1.4 utilizes the same suspended force, fusee-and-chain constant force mechanism that made the first FB 1 such an achievement. Clockmakers in olden days had to ensure that a timepiece gave accurate consistent measure even as the power reserve was nearing the end of its energy. Watchmakers today still face that challenge, but back then, the horologists did it by the use of the fusee-and-chain, the oldest method used to generate constant force in horological works. The Chronomètre FB 1.4 uses that same historical method, but in a modern timepiece. In Ferdinand Berthoud, the past is not only alive, it’s driving the present.

With any version of the Ferdinand Berthoud Chronomètre FB 1, the real joy is in the interior no matter how beautiful the exterior is. The FB 1.4 isn’t just lovely. It’s a wristwatch, an artwork, and a ticking piece of history, all in one.