Fake Longitude’s other Master: Ferdinand Berthoud

Chronomètrie Ferdinand Berthoud brings one of the great names of 18th Century replica watchmaking back to life.

FB_3-940x520Considering that Switzerland watch industry is so enamoured with its heritage, it’s approach to actual history borders on the haphazard all to frequently. That changes with the return of Ferdinand Berthoud as a cheap Longitude replica watchmaking brand and the launch of the FB1 Chronometer.

FB_5Berthoud is almost the last of the great 18th Century watchmakers to have his name brought back into use as a modern Rolex replica watches brand, in this case under the stewardship of Karl-Friedrich Scheufele of Chopard. And Berthoud couldn’t be in safer hands as Scheufele acquired rights to the name when he discovered plans to revive the name as just another ETA powered brand.

Scheufele sat on the name for several years, waiting until he felt the time was right and he felt that he would be able to do the name justice, Berthoud being Fleurier’s most famous son. Having decided eventually to press the go button, Scheufele set up a special team, bringing movement designers that he felt could bring a new and distinctively non-Chopard approach, but supporting the project with Chopard’s Creative Director, Guy Bove, as well access to the manufacturing heft of the LUC Manufacture.

FB_1The intention was to develop a new Breitling replica and exceptional timepiece that represented an imagined continuation of the Master watchmaker’s work, to be achieved through close study of the clocks, published works and archive material left behind. The end result is a highly sophisticated tourbillon chronometer with fusee and chain “force constant”, housed in a somewhat startling case that draws inspiration from the box and gimbals that Berthoud’s marine chronometers were kept in.

FB_4As Bove said, “Berthoud was an elegant engineer, we wanted to follow that spirit as well as the detail”. The movement within is based on the pillar construction model that Berthoud favoured and contains some Patent-pending innovations that Berthoud would surely approve of, particularly regarding the direct-drive central seconds that’s such a feature of the dial side. And in terms of design, Bove has seized on several details that Berthoud tended to favour, such as running the hour markers between the numerals, the case bolts and, most importantly, the dial furniture such as hands and the minute track. Bove also developed a rather intriguing font especially for the FB1 that draws inspiration from both cursive handwriting scripts and the less florid scripts that engineering students are taught to develop.

FB_21There’s plenty more detail in both movement construction and design, which will be covered in the next Issue. Chronomètrie Ferdinand Berthoud makes it public debut as one of the highlights at this year’s, where you can discover it for yourself. The fake Rolex watches itself will be available from December at around €220,000.leighit.co.uk

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