Time is a captivating narrative, blending art and precision, history, and innovation. In this grand chronicle, few stories are as richly textured as the tale of Chronométrie Ferdinand Berthoud‘s recent masterpiece crafted for the upcoming Only Watch auction. The fascinating piece, known as the Ferdinand Berthoud Chronomètre FB 3, is not just a watch—it is a symphony of chronometric expertise, material mastery, and aesthetic sophistication.
Chronométrie Ferdinand Berthoud’s long-standing romance with time and its instruments is evident in its glorious collection. Their prior FB 1R Regulator series, introduced in 2018, caused a sensation with its unique patinated bronze finishes. This captivating patina harkens back to the marine chronometers that the legendary Ferdinand Berthoud crafted centuries ago.
Now, the Chronomètre FB 3 “Only Watch” looks to the future while paying homage to a significant milestone from the past. This year marks the 270th anniversary since Ferdinand Berthoud, at the young age of 26, was honored with the esteemed ‘Master Watchmaker’ title. A recognition of such gravitas from 1753 is being celebrated in 2023 with the creation of a singular timepiece. This watch is destined for the tenth edition of Only Watch, an event recognized for its exclusivity.
The FB 3’s bronze case is the result of exhaustive months of tests and preparations, leading to a hue that transports its owner to the 18th century. This patina is more than mere aesthetics; it represents the inexorable march of time and evokes the instruments used in precision and navigation during Berthoud’s era.
Inside this watch beats an engineering marvel: the only calibre in the world that possesses a cylindrical balance-spring and has received official chronometer certification from the COSC. Ferdinand Berthoud’s relentless pursuit of perfection is embodied in this movement, which took years of research, fine-tuning, and innovation. Such dedication to precision means the watch doesn’t merely keep time—it celebrates it. The escapement organs, positioned prominently at 9 o’clock, beckon the viewer to appreciate the balance wheel, pallet-lever, and escape-wheel’s individuality and beauty.
The FB 3’s aesthetics are intentionally tailored to reflect the 2023 edition of the Only Watch charity auction. Over 100 painstaking hours were invested to craft the movement, decorated with 3N yellow gilded components. The alluring blue of the gold hands, coupled with the pink accents on the dial-side jewels, provides a visual treat. The piece’s uniqueness is further highlighted by the “ONLY WATCH PIECE UNIQUE” engraving, reminding the beholder of its exceptional lineage.
Two distinctive straps accompany this timepiece—an aged calf leather strap, reminiscent of the case’s patina, and a dark green alligator strap, aligning with the Only Watch 2023 color palette.
Every element, from its patinated bronze case to its sandblasted and 3N gilded visible movement components, speaks of craftsmanship and history. Its dimensions, a balanced 42.3mm diameter and 9.43mm thickness, make it both a statement piece and an elegant fit for any wrist.
The fortunate winner of this timepiece will experience more than just ownership. They will be invited to witness the artistry behind its creation with a visit to the Manufacture. This journey will also include a guided tour of the private collection of marine clocks and pocket watches crafted by the great Ferdinand Berthoud.
Chronométrie Ferdinand Berthoud, under Karl-Friedrich Scheufele’s leadership, stands at the intersection of historic watchmaking and modern innovation. Ferdinand Berthoud, appointed Master Clockmaker-Mechanic to the French King and Navy, left an indelible mark on horology. Today, in Switzerland’s Val-de-Travers region, a handful of these exceptional timepieces come to life each year, embodying the precision and passion initiated by Berthoud himself.
This year’s Only Watch event promises to be a spectacle, with the Ferdinand Berthoud Chronomètre FB 3 (Ref: FC-9880W4HPT) being one of its luminous stars. It’s not just a watch—it’s a testament to time itself.
Click on this link to read this article in French version