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In a minute: Ferdinand Berthoud’s Chronometre FB 1L

Chopard's ultra-exclusive sister brand takes the lunar display to new heights.

What it is

An ultra-exclusive sister brand of Chopard, Ferdinand Berthoud was launched in 2015 by the latter’s co-president Karl-Friedrich Scheufele in order to pay tribute to the eponymous 18th century watchmaker and scientist. To that end, its watches are focused on chronometric performance and their designs hark back to marine chronometers, an area of particular interest to Berthoud. The Chronometre FB 1L extends the brand’s line with a watch showing both the moon phase – a common astronomical complication – as well as the less common age of the moon. The timepiece is available in two variants, with just 10 pieces.

(Related: Chopard’s LUC Full Strike boasts the clearest sound in a minute repeater ever)

 Ferdinand Berthoud’s Chronometre FB 1L

Ferdinand Berthoud’s Chronometre FB 1L

How it looks

The emphasis on precision shows in the design, beginning with the large, central seconds hand that traces the dial alone followed by the minute and hour hands relegated to a sub-dial at 12 o’clock to lend the seconds hand greater weight. The moon-related displays must be read in tandem. The age of the moon is indicated by the hand at 8 o’clock, which traces the sector in a back and forth motion to count the number of days since the last new moon, and then the number of days before the next new moon. Meanwhile, the moon phase – and whether the moon is waxing or waning – is shown at 4 o’clock. Although this keeps the displays simple, understanding them isn’t intuitive, unfortunately. The reference in white gold and black ceramic evokes the “usual” moon (that is, the side that faces the earth) at 4 o’clock, while its counterpart in ceramised titanium and white gold represents the dark side of the moon.

 

How it wears

Despite measuring a sizeable- sounding 44mm across and nearly 14mm high, the watch sits well on most wrists, thanks to its fairly short and straight lugs. What’s more impressive is its tactility – the fusee-and-chain calibre offers one of the smoothest and most effortless windings we’ve experienced, just like its other Ferdinand Berthoud siblings. Adjustments are also straightforward, with a switch on the case middle at 4 o’clock toggling between the time-setting and moon phase/age-setting modes.

 

Movement Hand-wound with 53-hour power reserve

Case 44mm in white gold and black ceramic or ceramised titanium and white gold

Price $388,000 (white gold), $366,000 (titanium)

 

(Related: Chopard revives its first-ever sports watch, the St. Moritz)