HIGHLY COMMENDED: Luxury Watches of the Year, Chronomètre Ferdinand Berthoud FB 1


Ferdinand Berthoud (1727-1807) was to French clock-making what John Harrison was to the English. The company now bearing his name has created the £170,000 FB 1 in honour of the great inventor and has incorporated the architecture of his marine chronometers into the timepiece.

A watertight central container houses the Calibre FB-T.FC movement, while 18-carat gold octagonal shaped decorative elements screwed to the case middle endow this watch with a resolutely masculine character.

Four lateral sapphire portholes give a window into the movement’s main elements including the constant-force module and the power-reserve mechanism.

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Meanwhile, the sapphire crystal case-back offers a panoramic view of the tourbillon as well as the fusée and chain mechanism.

This chain mechanism with suspended fusée and chain transmission is another throw back to 18th century clocks. The chain measures a total 28 cm long.

The barrel drum turns in one direction when the mainspring winds down and in the opposite direction when it is wound up, which causes the chain to wrap around the drum.

This power is regulated by the tourbillon and directed to the dial where it directs hours, minutes and second hands.

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Rob Corder

The author Rob Corder