For a watch that netted the title of Mejor Reloj — translated as 'best watch' in Spanish — at this year's SIAR Madrid, it is undoubtedly one crafted with the utmost precision, dedication and cutting-edge horological know-how. The Chronomètre Ferdinand Berthoud FB 1 bears this honour, a fitting accolade that nods its head to the house's illustrious history.
A modern-day timepiece inspired by the horological feats of 18th century master watchmaker Ferdinand Berthoud and named just so, the FB 1 pays homage to the era of independent horologist-mechanics. Modelled after the 1777 marine clock M.M. n° 6, the FB 1 echoes similar characteristics such as the constant-force module and the fusée-chain with the new Calibre FB-T.FC. Housing unprecedented mechanisms powered by an exclusively designed hand-wound movement, the focal point of the calibre is its striking pillar-type structure, representative of historical marine chronometers, specifically those crafted by the master watchmaker. A low-frequency tourbillon with a remarkable 3 Hz and central seconds, the FB 1 is also equipped with a constant force regulating device as well as a unique power-reserve mechanism dubbed the 'suspended mobile cone'.
Under Chopard's direction, utilising three years worth of R&D and having undergone strict testing procedures at the Swiss Official Chronometer Testing Institute (COSC), the precision and functionality of the FB 1 is uncontested. Besides an autonomous 53-hour power reserve, this Berthoud regulator-style inspired watch boasts a beautifully intricate gear wheel of long, slim spokes. Satin-finished, bevelled and countersunk, these pinions delicately reflect light, affecting a riveting view as one gazes upon the smooth interplay between the tourbillon, barrel and fusée through its transparent case back.
Framed by a 44mm-octagonal case that takes after the Ferdinand Berthoud marine clocks of old, the FB 1 sports a round bezel topped by a domed, arched and glare-resistant sapphire crystal for optimal legibility. On its sides, four waterproofed 'portholes' just like those on a ship lets light in to illuminate the inner mechanisms, allowing for a peek into its complex workings. Two smaller white-lacquered dials sit against a black satin-brushed or ruthenium face with facetted hour and minute hands, adorning the larger 'porthole' opening over the whirling of the seconds wheel and pinion, as well as the driving wheel of the tourbillon cage.
An exceptional horological accomplishment made in the likeness of master watchmaker Ferdinand Berthoud's creations, this continuity in innovative and unprecedented intricacy and symmetry reignites the torch of the house's founder into a consuming flame. In clinching the title of Mejor Reloj 2016, Chopard ushers in a new triumphant saga for Chronométrie Ferdinand Berthoud FB1 with the FB 1.