mong the output of Fine Watchmaking manufactures, creations in steel are often the most sought-after, being much rarer than their gold and platinum counterparts. The new Chronomètre FB 1.6-3 is all the more remarkable in that it is the first all-black creation by Chronométrie Ferdinand Berthoud. The unique piece has been exclusively designed for the ART IN TIME watch gallery in Monaco, with part of the proceeds from its sale passed on to charity.
The singular nature of this timepiece is clear at first glance. For the first time, Chronométrie Ferdinand Berthoud has decked out one of its models in black DLC. This bold move is nevertheless consistent with developments to date: right from its inception, in addition to technical performance inspired by the values of Fine Watchmaking, the manufacture has sought to endow its timepieces with an unashamedly contemporary look.
The FB 1.6-3 explores this modern ethos – and pushes back its boundaries. It’s both sporty and daring, with the case, bezel, flange, dial, crown, and strap clad entirely in black. It’s also the first ever steel case in the FB 1 collection, making this model very much one of a kind.
In a first for the manufacture, Chronométrie Ferdinand Berthoud has applied an all-black DLC treatment to the fine sand-blasted steel. The crown is fitted with a ceramic insert; the screws fastening the case are in titanium.
The vertical satin-finish dial benefits from a semi-matte black galvanised treatment. The even-numbered hours, seconds hand, and power reserve are coloured red, standing out eloquently. The combination of dark black and bright red contributes to the sports feel of the piece, as well as making its indications effortless to read.
To complete the nod to ART IN TIME’s Monaco identity, the Chronomètre FB 1.6-3 features a white seconds scale and minute circle, thus echoing the House of Grimaldi’s two heraldic colours, red and white. In line with ART IN TIME’s tradition of unique pieces, part of the proceeds from the sale of the watch will be passed on to the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation, dedicated to building a sustainable future.
Front and back, the timepiece exemplifies the manufacture’s demanding standards in finishing. The hour and minute counter is finely sand-blasted and treated with matte BlackOr; hour markers have been coated with Super-LumiNova. The hours and minutes hands and power reserve indicator are in gold, while the seconds hand is made of polished bronze.
All that aside, the main feature is not immediately apparent: sapphire. In the FB 1.6-3, it takes pride of place, both on the dial, for the flange, and also on the back, for the half bridges. The latter are finely angled, engraved, and coloured red, enclosing the tourbillon carriage and its central seconds hand. Equipped with a fusee-and-chain transmission – the oldest and most complex solution for providing an escapement with constant force – the FB 1.6-3 guarantees Chronometer certified accuracy.
The manufacture movement can be admired through one of the side portholes in the octagonal case that has now become the style signature of this Ferdinand Berthoud collection. The case houses the FB-T.FC-2 calibre, the construction of which is unique in contemporary watchmaking. With 15 bridges and 3 half bridges connected by vertical pillars, Chronométrie Ferdinand Berthoud has designed a movement that brings to mind eighteenth-century marine chronometers, with barrel and fusee suspended, as is the cone – on which a feeler rises and falls, indicating the power reserve.
“Each of our creations has its own identity. This one is no exception, communicating a decidedly sporty feel,” concludes Karl-Friedrich Scheufele, President of Chronométrie Ferdinand Berthoud. “Over the past few years, the FB 1 collection has demonstrated its capacity to embody a range of different styles. There can be no doubt that this unique watch marks a major milestone in our history – and a significant step towards the ultimate customisation possibilities opened up by the collection.”