We’re used to small production runs from Ferdinand Berthoud. Chopard’s upper echelon of haute horology is about as far from mass production as a watchmaker can be, with limited numbers to match. Yet for Geneva Watch Days the niche brand has built a one-off piece worthy of Only Watch, specifically for one of their most dedicated retailers.
The retailer in question is Art in Time based in Monaco, part watch shop, part art gallery with prices somewhere in the middle. We’re talkinh Greubel Forsey, Akrivia, MB&F to start. It’s seriously impressive stuff and if you ever manage to get to Monaco, they’re well worth a visit, especially as they’ll count – for a short time at least – the Chronometrie GB 1.6-3 amongst their pieces.
For the first time, Ferdinand Berthoud has created an octagonal case with black DLC. That’s not all that amazing to be perfectly honest, the brand’s only been around for five years, but it’s still a cool stealth-adjacent look that suits the 44mm dimensions and is definitely entering Bulgari Octo territory. From the higher end, of course.
Otherwise the mechanics are the same as previous FB models, with various suspended components – the mainspring, the fusee cone of the one-minute tourbillon – and an open heart dial to see a few glimpses through. That aperture is all the more striking on this all-black model, but otherwise it’s pure Ferdinand Berthoud.
The minutes and hours are on a subdial at 12 o’clock like an old carriage clock while the seconds are read off the red central hand. The power reserve is set into the dial at 9 o’clock and, with a few flashes of red here and there, makes for a stylistically sporty piece of haute horology.
As I said, this is a unique piece but as far as we’re aware it’s still available. Don’t expect that to be the case for long. Ferdinand Berthoud collectors may be few and far-between – as is the case with any watchmaker at this level – but the chance to get a one-off like this is almost too good to pass up. Even if it will set you back CHF 212,000 (approx. £167,000).
Price & Specs:
Model: Ferdinand Berthoud Chronomètre
Reference: FB 1.6-3
Case/Dial: 44mm diameter x 13mm height, black DLC-treated octagonal stainless steel case, vertical satin-brushed dial with semi-matte black galvanised treatment with an angled open dial centre
Water resistance: 30m (3 bar)
Movement: Calibre FB-T.FC-2, manual winding, COSC-certified chronometer, tourbillion with fusee-and-chain (constant-force) transmission, 25 jewels
Frequency: 21,600 vph (3 Hz)
Power reserve: 53h
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, power reserve indicator
Strap: Rubber or alligator leather
Price/availability: CHF 212,000 (approx. £167,000), unique piece for Art in Time
More details at Ferdinand Berthoud.