Video: Design Inspiration & Craftsmanship Behind The Ferdinand Berthoud Chronomètre FB 3SPC

Discover the impressive historical and artisanal ingredients that go into the high-end brand’s horological tour de force by watching our behind-the-scenes video.

By Marco Gabella
Chairman & Executive Publisher

Last fall, Chronométrie Ferdinand Berthoud began a new creative chapter when the haute horlogerie brand unveiled not just a majestic new watch – the Chronomètre FB 3SPC – but also a totally new in-house movement to equip it, one featuring a mesmerizing cylindrical hairspring.

Since then, the Watchonista team has had the privilege of discovering in more depth the design inspiration and craftsmanship behind the Chronomètre FB 3SPC thanks to a series of Instagram reels about the watch’s design, movement, and hand-decoration that we shot at the brand’s Val-de Travers workshop.

Such is our admiration for the Chronomètre FB 3SPC that we have put together an expanded edit of the footage we captured so you can fully appreciate the historical and artisanal ingredients that go into this exceptional timepiece.

The Chronomètre FB 3SPC is an impressive watch on so many levels, and you can read about all of its attributes in our in-depth review that features a host of our original photos to boot.

But what stood out most for us during our video shoot is that the Chronomètre FB 3SPC is an excellent example of how a watch brand can use the past – the legacy of 18th-century Swiss watch- and clockmaker Ferdinand Berthoud – in a respectful and legitimate way to inform the present.

In the case of the Chronomètre FB 3SPC, it takes strong design cues from a trio of historical Berthoud masterpieces: Its cylindrical hairspring is directly inspired by the No. 26 decimal pocket watch from 1793, signed by his nephew Louis Berthoud but also worked on by Ferdinand Berthoud himself. Its stepped balance bridge is a nod to the architecture of Ferdinand Berthoud’s No. 3 astronomical watch from 1806. And its facetted and skeletonized 18K gold hands are influenced by his 1785 astronomical regulator.

Luckily, we were able to film close-ups of all three of these classic Berthoud creations during our video shoot.

Another takeaway that has stayed with us is the insane level of movement decoration on the Chronomètre FB 3SPC that is in keeping with Berthoud’s legacy. When Chronométrie Ferdinand Berthoud says its craftspeople spend more than 100 hours on hand-finishing its 230-component movement, I can tell you, they mean it.

We were able to capture on film a few of the many hand-decoration techniques employed by the brand: The filing and polishing of bevels; the polishing of jewel countersinks, and the hand-application of matte and grained finishes to the stepped balance bridge.

So, enjoy our video and discover how the past really does endure in the present with the Chronomètre FB 3SPC. And don’t forget to check out our full article about it too!

(Photography by Pierre Vogel, video by Johan Corminboeuf)

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