You can’t help falling in love with the new Ferdinand Berthoud FB 1.3-1 “Sapphire Blue” Chronometre

You can’t help falling in love with the new Ferdinand Berthoud FB 1.3-1 “Sapphire Blue” Chronometre

Ferdinand Berthoud closed 2019 on a high with their new release, the FB 1.3-1 “Sapphire Blue” Chronometre.

It is a new version of the already existing FB 1 Chronometer — the series and company La Chronométrie Ferdinand Berthoud were launched back in 2015 by Chopard — but has a more sporty and contemporary look thanks to the silky blue translucent dial and the unique combination of a platinum body & mounted grey ceramic lugs. 

Ferdinand Berthoud was one of the most well-known clockmakers of marine chronometers, and this watch collection pays homage to that bit of history. The new version comes as a result of Chronométrie Ferdinand Berthoud now producing all-new variations to its existing collections.

The Movement of the FB 1.3-1 “Sapphire Blue” Chronometre

The heart used — Calibre FB-T.FC-2 — is a COSC chronometer-certified mechanical manual winding movement featuring a tourbillon with fusee-and-chain (constant-force) transmission beating at the frequency of 3 Hz (21’600 V/h), featuring a water resistance of 30m (3 ATM) and 53 hours power reserve.

The movement also features four patents:

  1. Suspended fusée – differential winding system
  2. Suspended barrel – Maltese cross stop-work system
  3. Suspended power reserve – mobile cone system
  4. Tourbillon with direct-drive seconds
FB 1.3-1 “Sapphire Blue” Chronometre
Courtesy © 2020 Ferdinand Berthoud, Fleurier (NE)

The Casing

All this is encased inside an overall bold and big octagonal watch made from platinum (PT 950) with anthracite grey ceramic lugs that measures in at: diameter 44mm x thickness 13mm. 

Exceptional Extras

  • Dynamometric crown (uncoupling system) in platinum (PT 950) with anthracite grey ceramic medallion
  • Octagonal case fitted with four watertight portholes — subtle nod to the maritime history — in glare-proofed sapphire crystal 
FB 1.3-1 “Sapphire Blue” Chronometre
Courtesy © 2020 Ferdinand Berthoud, Fleurier (NE)
  • Screw-in exhibition case-back fitted with a glare-proofed sapphire crystal pane
  • Domed “chevée” sapphire crystal glare-proofed on both sides
  • The watch comes on a hand-stitched rolled-edge alligator leather strap made from a single piece of leather (115 x 75 mm, with a 20 mm buckle). It features a double-blade length-adjustable folding clasp in platinum (PT 950) while collectors can also request for a pin buckle option as well.

The Dial

It is surprisingly legible and almost has a quirky fun side to it. 

The dial shows the following indications: 

  • Open dial centre with autonomy indicated by an arrow pointing to the words “HAUT” (high) and “BAS”(low)
  • A sunken power reserve indicator — engraved on the main-plate: “0, 1/4, 1/2, 3/4, 1” — that is hand-bevelled with rhodium-plated chamfers at 9’o clock
  • Offset white hours and minutes sub-dial at 12’o clock with black Arabic numerals
FB 1.3-1 “Sapphire Blue” Chronometre
Courtesy © 2020 Ferdinand Berthoud, Fleurier (NE)
  • Translucent sapphire seconds track
  • Central seconds
  • Tourbillon at 6’o clock
  • “Chronomètre Val-de-Travers Suisse” inscription on the lower end of the dial

The beautifully bold yet understated translucent blue dial with vertical satin finishings has a lot going on.

It’s almost a maze of functions yet Ferdinand Berthoud has managed to show restraint on the dial. 

Watch Ya Gonna Do About It?

Overall, the FB 1.3-1 “Sapphire Blue” Chronometre gets top marks for creating a complicated tourbillon with the simplicity of a traditional dress watch.

To us, one of the best aspects is that the hands and markers lend further to the readability of this dial. 

The 18-carat blued gold dagger-shaped and facetted cut-out hours and minutes hands simply shine on a white background while the 18-carat blued gold arrow-shaped power-reserve hand plays hide-and-seek at 6’o clock. 

The rhodium-plated bronze central seconds hand while not exceptionally contrasting does work well with the blue dial base.

FB 1.3-1 “Sapphire Blue” Chronometre
Courtesy © 2020 Ferdinand Berthoud, Fleurier (NE)

Even if we looking at faults with a microscope, we would come out empty handed. Reserved for collectors with ultra exclusive tastes, this is one stunner of a watch. 

Available only in a limited edition run of five (5) pieces, the new FB 1.3-1 “Sapphire Blue” Chronometre presses a hard case for not liking it. The inside architecture of the FB-T.FC-2 calibre is unique and the look on the outside is stunning in blue and grey tones. 

It’s just a nice piece of horology that you can’t help falling in love with. 

For more information on this watch and other Ferdinand Berthoud watches, head to their website here.