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Chronomètre FB 1R.6-1 by Ferdinand Berthoud

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Karl-Friedrich Scheufele and his team at Ferdinand Berthoud revealed their new model during the SIHH 2018, which radiates an even more self-conscious but elegantly reserved individuality than its predecessor. We saw the Chronomètre FB 1R.6-1 in Geneva.

When projects are brought alive by inner urge and love, you can tell the difference – they just fly on different wings. Mr Scheufele ventured into Ferdinand Berthoud with no external outer pressure a few years ago. He had an idea about a fresh interpretation of a top 18th century chronometer which he wanted to realise for his own sake. Although he wasn’t perhaps too concerned about the financial success, he was probably well aware of those like-minded connoisseurs who would fall for a character like the FB1 and who could afford one of the few pieces. When the FB1 was introduced in late 2015, the charming angular profile that brought dynamism to the 18th century style movement received a very warm welcome. The piece ended up winning the ‘Aiguille d’Or’ Grand Prix at the 2016 edition of GPHG and feedback has been overwhelming at the exclusive Swiss retailer, Les Ambassadeurs.

Built upon the same high performing FB-T.FC chronometer calibre and the octagonal case, the Chronomètre FB 1R.6-1 is possibly even more of a fine collectors’ piece. It hides the tourbillon and the second hand wheel completely with a plain vertically brushed rhodium-plated surface. The FB1 used to show the hours and minutes in the sub-dial, which is separated on two different displays in the new model. Minutes remained there, while the hours became wandering (with a constant flow and no jumping) in a small aperture next to it. The steady chronometer performance is proudly demonstrated at the prominent dial centre by the dainty second hand.

Although the concept with the fusée-chain constant force mechanism and the pylon built movement structure is traditional, the satin-brushed lines on the enlarged asymmetrical dial, the edges of the case, the crown and the square typography make the look fresh like the morning dew. What’s more, the steel case has been created with a thermochemical carbon coating method. The new matte surface gives a technical blend to the piece and an incredibly high scratch protection on the practical side. Due to the treatment the skin in contact is less prone to allergies.

The FB-T.FC movement has a very interesting power reserve metering mechanism. It is based on a cone and a lever that is scanning the cone’s decreasing diameter as the cone linked to the barrel moves vertically. The new model tweaks the displaying part. As the lever bows to the move of the cone horizontally, another lever attached to it in the front pivots with it. This is what you can see at 3 o’clock. With its move it turns the power reserve indicator, too. The hand sits on a spiral, which provides a counter-power to compensate for the play of the components.

The Chronomètre FB 1R.6-1 will be available in a 20-piece limited edition.


Photo credits: Loupiosity.com.
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