A complicated masterpiece, combining fusee-and-chain transmission, one-second remontoir d’égalité, and dead-beat seconds.
Ferdinand Berthoud Chronomètre FB 2RE in white gold
Founded only a few years ago, the super hi-end Swiss brand was producing watches that can easily be described as a classicist’s dream. Being very exclusive and complicated they followed the design and technical codes of the French watchmaker Ferdinand Berthoud, whose original work is now pride and joy of a handful museums. Of course, by ‘technical codes’ we mostly mean the basic ideas, not the actual tech the horological legend used in his marine chronometers. One of them, by the way, the Marine Clock No.6 was taken as a direct inspiration for the new Chronomètre FB 2RE, celebrating the 250th anniversary of appointing Berthoud the ‘Clockmaker and Mechanic to the French King and Navy’.
Ferdinand Berthoud Chronomètre FB 2RE in red gold
Ironically, when strapped on a wrist, the Chronomètre FB 2RE pretends to be a normal classical watch, just like some supercomplicated pieces by Patek or Lange. A buttoned-up design with multi-layered enamel dial with Roman hour numerals sitting next to minute Arabic ones, three central hands, and a 44-mm round case – red gold for the black dial and white gold for the white – can act very stealthy. Only watch lovers would know what a treasure you are carrying around. Turning the watch upside down, however, immediately brings the right perspective.
Ferdinand Berthoud Chronomètre FB 2RE in white gold
The mechanical side is an absolute feast for the eyes with the barrel and fusee-and-chain dominating the upper part, and a large balance wheel spinning at 6 o’clock. Regarding various constant force mechanisms, the FB-RE.FC calibre is surely unique and record-setting for the whole market. You see, apart from the upper-mentioned fusee-and-chain, it also features one-second remontoir d’égalité – an element historically meant to improve the equal torque coming from the mainspring by accumulating the certain amount of energy and then releasing it in even intervals. But that’s not all, the barrel also has a stopwork system, ensuring we are only using the most reliable part of mainspring, instead of letting it fully unwind. And yes, the 50-hour power reserve on the movement side shows only this ‘perfect’ section.
Ferdinand Berthoud Chronomètre FB 2RE in red gold
As it wasn’t already crazy enough, the guys at Ferdinand Berthoud added the dead-beat seconds function. After all, the spring releasing the energy one per second was already there. And still, with so many things going on, the watch has successfully passed the COSC chronometer-certification! Remember we used the word treasure? We meant it. As you’d expect from the brand in this price range, the finishings are out of this world with all the graining, beveling and mirror polishing shining at you at every angle. And the price is pretty outstanding too – CHF 210,000. Remember, though, both variants are only 10-piece limited editions.