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February 14, 2018updated May 22, 2020

A Modern Ode: The FB 1.4 Chronometer

By Kristen Shirley

This story originally appeared in the January/February 2018 issue of Elite Traveler.

A modern ode to a revered 18th-century watchmaker who created marine chronometers and was the official clockmaker to the French king and navy, Ferdinand Berthoud is a special division within Chopard. This group of watchmakers is dedicated to interpreting his works through a 21st-century lens using high-horology techniques.

In its first watch, the FB 1, it brought the fusée-and-chain transmission back to the modern era. This method has fallen out of favor over the years, but in Berthoud’s time, it was a technological marvel. It provides constant force, which renders the watch incredibly accurate, even at the end of its power reserve. Part of this unique movement is visible through an opening on the dial.

Previously available in white gold, red gold and platinum, it is now available in an all-titanium case, making it much lighter—including the strap, it weighs just 2.82 ounces. The case has also evolved. Whereas the three previous versions had portholes on the side to view the movement, the sides are closed in the titanium edition and the movement is visible through the caseback.

Also new are the sapphire half-bridges, which allow more light to enter the movement now that the sides are closed, and showcase the polished power-reserve cone for the first time. The COSC-certified chronometer is available with a black or silver-toned dial, and each color is limited to 20 pieces.

FB 1.4, $207,900, available by appointment, contact +41 328 622 121, ferdinandberthoud.ch

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