As you might have noticed if you’re following us on HODINKEE Live, some of us are at Dubai Watch Week, where we’ve already seen a number of recently introduced watches, and some new releases as well. One of these is the latest version of the Ferdinand Berthoud FB 1.4 in titanium, which is an updated version of the original FB1, but in a new case metal. As you may know, Ferdinand Berthoud is owned by the Chopard Group, and was founded in 2015. Last year, in 2016, the FB 1 won the Aiguille d’Or at the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève, and we caught up with it at last year’s Dubai Watch Week, when we were able to see all of that year’s winners together. Now the FB1 is back with a titanium case, freshly released at Dubai Watch Week 2017.
The FB 1.4 is the fourth installment of the FB 1; previous versions include FB 1.1, FB 1.2, andFB 1.3 which are white gold, rose gold, and platinum respectively. As with previous versions, the shape of the case, as well as the technical features of the watch, are inspired by vintage marine chronometers (the octagonal 45mm case echoes the gimbal systems used to keep such chronometers level in a ship at sea). The movement, the FB-T.FC-2 ., is a COSC certified chronometer with a 53-hour power reserve. The movement is definitely what is most impressive about this watch; it has a patented chain-and-fusée system with a “hanging” fusée cone, to reduce thickness, an unusual cone-driven power reserve indication, and, unusually for a tourbillon, a center seconds (for a full technical breakdown check out our earlier coverage of the FB 1.3)
However, other than the new case material, undoubtedly the biggest change between previous versions and this one, is the movement. Unlike other versions, the FB 1.4 has no sapphire windows in the case flanks. Instead, transparency is achieved through the use, for the first time, of three sapphire bridges on the movement itself.
The sapphire bridges allow you to see the three most interesting components of the movement with much greater clarity than before: the one minute tourbillon, cone and ruby tipped feeler for the power reserve, fusée chain, and cone can all be seen much more clearly.
In addition, the lower cock for the tourbillon cage is now a deep blue, which carries the blue, grey, and white color scheme of the dial through to the movement as well (and of course the driving wheel and wheel for the center seconds have been blued as well).
The titanium case gives the FB 1.4 a more overtly technical, and somewhat more understated, flavor than previous versions and should make what’s already an unusually wrist-friendly high end, complicated tourbillon, even more easy to wear. The watch comes with either a black or silvered dial. More information on this watch can be found on the Ferdinand Berthoud website. Price in the USA has been set at $207,900.
Update: story has been updated to provide additional images and info on special features of the movement.