Established by Chopard Group of Switzerland, the Chronométrie FERDINAND BERTHOUD watch manufacture pays tributes to the legendary watch maker FERDINAND BERTHOUD. With this new venture, Karl-Friedrich Scheufele, the co-president of Chopard and President of Chronométrie FERDINAND BERTHOUD, revives the legacy of one of the great figures in Switzerland traditional watch making industry.
As the first step of its renewal, in 2015, Chronométrie FERDINAND BERTHOUD presented FB1, an exclusive timepiece inspired by the remarkable marine clocks developed by FERDINAND BERTHOUD.
|Chronométrie FERDINAND BERTHOUD FB1|
Born in 1727 in the Val-de-Travers – Switzerland, Ferdinand Berthoud was granted the title of “Master Clockmaker” in Paris in 1753. This exceptional horologist and tireless researcher who served as “Horloger-Mécanicien du Roi et de la Marine” – Horologist-Mechanic by appointment to the King and the Navy – left behind him an exceptionally broad body of work, notably in the field of marine chronometers. It was in tribute to this master horologist that Karl-Friedrich Scheufele, wished to orchestrate the revival of the illustrious name of Ferdinand Berthoud.
Chronométrie FERDINAND BERTHOUD will offer only exceptional timepieces issued in extremely limited production numbers. Chopard Group is thereby laying a new milestone in its watchmaking development and further reinforcing its presence in Fleurier, in the Val-de-Travers region of Canton Neuchâtel – Switzerland, where the Chronométrie FERDINAND BERTHOUD Company is established.
Chronométrie FERDINAND BERTHOUD was born of the initiative of Chopard’s co-president Karl-Friedrich Scheufele, who acquired the name in 2006. This move was driven by a determination to give a new lease on life to an impressive heritage, by launching a creative new brand of exceptional timepieces crafted in highly limited series in tribute to the master horologist and thus restoring his name to its former glory.
Passionately interested in culture and history, Karl-Friedrich has long admired the exemplary creations and the career of Ferdinand Berthoud, born in 1727 in Plancemont-sur-Couvet, 5 kilometres from Fleurier. He has assembled an exceptional collection of timepieces exhibited at the L.U.CEUM in Fleurier. His fascination has steadily grown in discovering the fabulous legacy of this brilliant artisan – whether in the domain of marine chronometers, pocket watches or regulators. Officially announced at the end of 2013, the development of Chronométrie FERDINAND BERTHOUD has taken root in Fleurier and is now being materialised in an extremely sophisticated creation.
|Karl-Friedrich Scheufele, the co-president of Chopard and President of Chronométrie FERDINAND BERTHOUD|
With the birth of Chronométrie FERDINAND BERTHOUD, the Chopard Group is laying a new milestone in the development of its watchmaking division and further consolidating its presence in Fleurier in the Val-de-Travers, a region of Canton Neuchâtel steeped in an age-old horological tradition. It is doubtless no mere historical coincidence that Ferdinand Berthoud was born a few kilometres from Fleurier, which is already home to Chopard Manufacture, which handles the production of L.U.C Haute Horlogerie movements; Fleurier Ebauches SA, which produces Chopard’s mechanical movements; as well as the L.U.CEUM, which harbours some of the most admirable examples of the watchmaking art. Long months of intense creative reflection, guided by stringent development requirements on both technical and aesthetic levels, have given rise to the first contemporary Ferdinand Berthoud timepiece which is intended as a natural continuation of the work accomplished by three generations of master-watchmakers: Ferdinand, Pierre-Louis and Charles-Auguste Berthoud.
Chronométrie FERDINAND BERTHOUD evokes an illustrious name, that of a watchmaker, and an exceptional researcher who left an indelible imprint on watchmaking history through his inventiveness and his remarkable mechanical talents. It is also a story punctuated by inventions, technical challenges and constant progress in the realm of time measurement. At the forefront of these major advancements are the marine chronometers introduced by Ferdinand Berthoud. They made it possible to calculate longitude with extreme precision and thereby contributed to the conquest of the oceans in the 18th century. It is from this substantial legacy that Chronométrie FERDINAND BERTHOUD derives the DNA of its new timepieces. These contemporary yet timeless watches bear the signature characteristics embodying the excellence and the renown of the Berthoud dynasty.
While the Chronométrie FERDINAND BERTHOUD is part of the Chopard Group, the development, design and production of Ferdinand Berthoud watches stem from a separate, autonomous and dedicated creative process. To guarantee this exclusivity and this independence, specific watchmakers have been hired in order to develop the original calibres and exteriors of these incomparable timepieces. For the time being, the highly qualified watchmakers devoted to assembling the first watches by Chronométrie FERDINAND BERTHOUD ply their trade in dedicated premises provided for them in Fleurier. While fully autonomous in its horological development, Chronométrie FERDINAND BERTHOUD will naturally benefit from the stature and expertise of the group. This inherently exclusive firm will create exceptional timepieces in limited series, distributed through an equally exclusive, international and independent network of points of sales specialised in high-end, complex watch products.
Biography – Ferdinand Berthoud (1727-1807)
Obliged to work as a watchmaker’s companion for the masters of the Parisian guild, due to not having served his apprenticeship with one of them, the young Berthoud managed to overcome this hurdle by drawing attention to “his considerable application in perfecting the art of watchmaking”. He seized the opportunity of publishing his research at the French Royal Academy of Science by submitting the description of a new construction in a sealed envelope.
The academics’ approval on April 26th 1752 of a long case equation clock, considered highly ingenious, marked the beginning of his career as a researcher and at the same time, enabled him to stake his claim of official integration within the watchmaker community. On December 4th 1753, the King ordered that he be named a maître (master), a title that allowed him to open a workshop in the Rue de Harlay, near Place Dauphine.
In 1754, the master once again submitted his inventions to the Academy. One was his first marine clock project. The others, examined and approved by the academics, were also equation systems: “a longcase equation clock with concentric seconds marking the months and days of the month, leap years, and which runs for 13 months without being wound”; as well as a watch with seconds and equation, marking the months and days.
Even prior to being named a master, Ferdinand Berthoud indicated the direction he wanted his career to take – namely to devote himself to research and transmit his know-how through publications and teaching. This double vocation enabled him to rapidly make a name for himself in the scientific world of his time.
Several articles in the Encyclopaedia published by Diderot were entrusted to him, and most particularly the article entitled “Equation”. In 1759, he published a successful treatise on popularization entitled, L’Art de conduire et de régler les pendules et les montres. A l’usage de ceux qui n’ont aucune connaissance d’horlogerie (The art of operating and adjusting clocks and watches. To be used by those with no knowledge of watchmaking). In 1763, his extensive treatise – L’Essai sur l’horlogerie ; dans lequel on traite de cet Art relativement à l’usage civil, à l’Astronomie et à la Navigation (An Essay on Horology; in which we deal with this Art in relation to its civil application, to Astronomy and to Navigation) was also well received.
1763 marked a turning point in Berthoud’s career, which was now bound up with the development of maritime navigation. The Academy of Science once again both witnessed and supported the horologist’s request for the opening of two reports, respectively deposited in 1760 and 1761. These described the N°1 maritime clock.
Convinced by his skill, the academics obtained permission from the Minister of the Navy to send him to London to examine the Harrison marine clock. This opportunity demonstrated his worth and resulted in his nomination as a foreign member of the Royal Society on February 16th 1764. On August 29th of that year, Ferdinand Berthoud once again made a submission concerning the “construction of a marine watch…” This was the last time, as Berthoud was now sure of where he was going with his research and of having the option of seeking official support.
His projects were the subject of detailed requests punctuating his activities and in this context, he suggested the construction of two marine watches on May 7th 1766.
|Marine Clock N° 6|
After successful experimentation with the N° 6 and 8 which are housed at the Musée des arts et métiers (Museum of Arts and Crafts), Ferdinand Berthoud was awarded a certificate entitled Brevet d’horloger Méchanicien du Roi et de la Marine ayant l’inspection de la construction des Horloges marines (Watchmaker and Mechanic to the King and Navy with construction inspection of marine clocks) created especially for him on April 1st 1770.
|Marine Clock N° 6|
From this time onwards, he abandoned the management of his workshop-boutique in favour of his research. A tenacious investigator, a skilled and daring builder, and an inventor anxious to share his knowledge, Ferdinand Berthoud not only took part in improving horology; he also fostered the use of precision clocks in the sciences of his time, thus contributing to their progress. The title, privileges, and forms of recognition which punctuated his career, between the reign of Louis XV and the First Empire, as well as the tributes and studies which marked his critical fortune until the present day, reflect the importance of his position in the long quest for precision, from Huyghens’ discoveries right up to Guillaume.
- 1727: Ferdinand Berthoud is born on March 18 to a distinguished family of clockmakers at Plancemont in the Val-de-Travers, now in Switzerland’s canton of Neuchâtel.
- 1745: At the age of 18, Ferdinand Berthoud settles in Paris to study clockmaking.
- 1753: A decree of King Louis XV’s council awards the 26-year-old Ferdinand Berthoud the title of Master Clockmaker.
- 1755: Ferdinand Berthoud writes a number of reference papers for the Encyclopédie méthodique edited by Diderot (1713-1784) and Alembert (1717-1783).
- 1763: Publication of a two-volume horological treatise, Essai sur l’horlogerie…
- 1764: Ferdinand Berthoud is elected to the Royal Society in London as an “associate overseas member” thanks to his masterpieces and his publications about watchmaking
- 1768: The marine chronometers N° 6 and N° 8 were proved to be successful onboard the corvette “L’Isis” during a 18-month journey from Rochefort to Santo Domingo. The marine chronometer N°8 alloed to determine the real position on the map of the boat and calculate the longitude within half a degree thanks to astronomical observations.
- 1770: After successful sea trials of the marine chronometers N° 6 and N° 8, Ferdinand Berthoud is commissioned as Horologist-mechanic to the King and the Navy, and receives a royal command for 20 marine chronometers for the French admiralty’s numerous charting expeditions and marine surveys of the late 18th century.
- 1802: Ferdinand Berthoud publishes a major work: Histoire de la mesure du temps par les horloges, a history of time measurement by clocks that demonstrates his immense knowledge of horological mechanics.
- 1804: On July 17, Napoleon I makes Ferdinand Berthoud a Knight of the Legion of Honour as a member of the Institut de France.
- 1807: Ferdinand Berthoud publishes his last work, Supplément au Traité des montres à Longitudes. On June 20, 1807, Ferdinand Berthoud dies at the age of 80 in Groslay (France). His nephews, Pierre-Louis Berthoud (1754-1813) and Charles-Auguste Berthoud (1798-1876) successfully carry on the work of their uncle to earn renown as chronometer-makers.
- 2006: Chopard’s co-president Karl-Friedrich Scheufele acquires the brand name Ferdinand Berthoud.
- 2015: Chronométrie FERDINAND BERTHOUD unveils its first timepiece: FB1.
Chronométrie FERDINAND BERTHOUD SA
Rue des Moulins 20
Case postale 128
2114 Fleurier, Val-de-Travers (NE)