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Ferdinand Berthoud - Chronomètre FB 2RE

Ferdinand Berthoud unveiled the Chronomètre FB 2RE, the first timepiece of a new collection inspired to the old marine clocks that the eponymous watchmaker created for the French Navy and for which, in 1770, he was awarded the title of "Clockmaker and Mechanic by appointment to the French King and Navy".

Ferdinand Berthoud Chronomètre FB 2RE

More in particular, the new model reinterprets the architecture and design of the Marine Clock No.6. Protected by a cylindrical copper drum, this clock was held in a horizontal position by a gimbal suspension system invented by Berthoud.

Above and below, the Marine Clock No. 6 created bu Ferdinand Berthoud in the 18th century



The case of the new Chronomètre FB 2RE picks up the shape of this Marine Clock and its modular construction. The movement is installed in a cylindrical white gold (ref. FB 2RE.1) or rose gold (ref. FB 2RE.2) container that is water-resistant to 30 metres. Secured to the case by stylised bolts, the short, tapering all-of-piece lugs makes the watch sit comfortably on the wrist.

Ferdinand Berthoud Chronomètre FB 2RE

Ferdinand Berthoud Chronomètre FB 2RE

A large panoramic window appears at 10 o'clock along the case middle in a screw-down frame and reveals the movement's pillar-type architecture, as well as the barrel and its chain.

Ferdinand Berthoud Chronomètre FB 2RE


The large diameter of the knurled crown makes it easy to grip, thus facilitating movement winding. Integrated into the case middle by an applied screw-in crown guard, it features a dynamometric system that disengages as soon as the barrel is fully armed.

The round case, 44 mm in diameter and 14 mm thick, is enhanced by a curved bezel fitted with a domed glareproofed sapphire crystal that protects the grand feu enamel dial characterised by a two-tiered construction composed of two elements: one is domed, located on the periphery and designed to bear the graduated scale; the second, positioned centrally and slightly lower, is a flat medallion.

Ferdinand Berthoud Chronomètre FB 2RE

The inscriptions on the dial are also crafted in painted enamel. Roman numerals for the hours, Arabic numerals for the minutes and a rail-track minute circle appear alongside the markings and the original inscription "Chronomètre Val-de-Travers Suisse". The dial of reference FB 2RE.1 in white gold is crafted in white enamel with black inscriptions, while the dial of reference FB 2RE.2 in rose gold features deep black enamel punctuated by white markings.

The dagger-type hours and minutes hands in 18-carat gold feature a hollowed-out design. The extremely thin titanium seconds hand weighs just 0.01 grams. This lightness helps to lighten the burden on the remontoire.

The movement can be admired through the transparent sapphire crystal of the caseback. Combining a fusee-and-chain transmission with a one-second remontoir d’égalité mechanism, the new Calibre FB-RE.FC is equipped with a new two-spoke variable-inertia balance with an aerodynamic shape and four inertia blocks. Its large diameter guarantees its inertia and stability, with a low frequency of 18,000 vibrations per hour.

Ferdinand Berthoud Chronomètre FB 2RE

The fusee-and-chain transmission is used to ensure constant force for the escapement. It acts like a variable automatic reduction gearbox. When the movement is fully wound, the chain is completely wrapped around the small end of the spindle-shaped fusee and the mainspring is at maximum power. This force dwindles in the course of time, as the chain coils around the drum, moving from the small to the large end of the fusee. The variation in the diameter of the fusee compensates for the reduction of the mainspring torque. The gear train thus receives a constant supply of energy, a pre-filtering of the energy arriving at the remontoire.

Ferdinand Berthoud Chronomètre FB 2RE

In the FB-RE.FC calibre the fusee is reversed, and both the barrel and fusee are both suspended, held on one side only, to the mainplate. More than just spectacular, this patented construction helps to reduce the overall thickness of the movement.

Also visible on the back of the movement, the one-second remontoire complements the action of the fusee by acting on another point. In fact, the fusee equalises the torque reaching the gear train, yet irregularities are created when the teeth mesh. Although they are much smaller than those generated by the uncoiling of the mainspring, these torque variations are compensated by the remontoire.

Ferdinand Berthoud Chronomètre FB 2RE

The force from the barrel is transmitted to the remontoire spring by means of a triangular ruby cam. When the escape-wheel has moved 2.5 teeth forward, the ruby cam releases the stop lever of the remontoire and allows the driving force to enter the remontoire system. It is then charged for the next second. The escape-wheel pinion is connected to the stop wheel and marks off the seconds. The entire assembly is connected to the central seconds hand and enables the Chronomètre FB 2RE to display true seconds, or deadbeat seconds.


In order to guarantee optimal precision, the Chronomètre FB 2RE is equipped with a stop-seconds device, which brings the balance to a halt when the crown is pulled out. The wearer can then synchronise the watch to the nearest second with the time displayed by a reference timepiece, in the same way that observation watches were synchronised with marine chronometers on an exploration vessel.

Ferdinand Berthoud Chronomètre FB 2RE

Finally, the small arrow-shaped CVD-blued 18-carat hand indicates how much of the 50-hour power reserve is left.

Finishes are of the highest quality. The nickel silver bridges reveal a frosting type finish, involving extremely fine manual graining using a brush. The arrow-shaped steel balance bridge is mirror polished, as is the upper part of the stepped escape-wheel bridge. The barrel and the fusee are satin-brushed, as are all 790 components of the chain. All the movement parts are hand-chamfered and bevelled.

Available in two 10-piece limited and numbered editions in white gold and in rose gold, the Chronomètre Ferdinand Berthoud FB 2RE with remontoir d'égalité has a price of Swiss Francs 210,000 (before local taxes). ferdinandberthoud.ch


Ferdinand Berthoud Chronomètre FB 2RE

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Time and Watches | The watch blog: Ferdinand Berthoud - Chronomètre FB 2RE
Ferdinand Berthoud - Chronomètre FB 2RE
Ferdinand Berthoud unveiled the Chronomètre FB 2RE, the first timepiece of a new collection inspired to the old marine clocks that the eponymous watchmaker created for the French Navy. Available in two 10-piece limited and numbered editions in white gold and in rose gold, the Chronomètre Ferdinand Berthoud FB 2RE with remontoir d'égalité has a price of Swiss Francs 210,000 (before local taxes).
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Time and Watches | The watch blog
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