Not too long ago we were swooning over the Chronomètre FB 1. This was a watch that really pushed the aesthetic envelope and opened the eyes of the world to the brilliance of the Ferdinand Berthoud manufacture. Now have the Ferdinand Berthoud FB1 Malaspina Edition, a unique piece made to commemorate the theme of discovery with respect to the FB1’s marine chronometer genome.
Alessandro Malaspina was an Italian navigator during the 18th century, spending the majority of his life serving the Spanish navy. During the period between 1789 and 1794, he led what is now known as the Malaspina Expedition. This fruitful expedition gave way to the eventual mapping of the west coast of the American continent. To help him on his travels, Alessandro Malapsina used two Berthoud marine chronometers, the No. 10 and the No. 13. Fast forward to a couple of centuries and a bit later, we have a timepiece that celebrates not only Alessandro Malaspina’s professional triumphs, but also the endearing effect he had on the future of marine navigation.
Now, onto the piece. The Ferdinand Berthoud FB1 Malaspina Edition is a unique piece with a price-tag of 225,000CHF. So, what do you get for nearly a quarter of a million of your hard-earned Swiss Francs? Well, for starters you get a solid pink-gold case measuring 44mm in diameter and 13mm in height. The dial features vertical satin-brushing, with blue accents adorning the tracks and through the sub-dial. I love the contrast between the warmth of that pink gold case, hands and register cutouts with the cool blue of the dial accents.
At 12 o’clock you have the passing hours and minutes depicted in that blue sub-dial, while the passing seconds hand sits traditionally in the centre-hand stack. At 9 o’clock there’s a non-discreet power reserve indicator, and at 3 o’clock you have the Ferdinand Berthoud insignia. But, and as with many super high-end pieces, the real magic begins when you take stock of the movement.
Beginning dial side, you have a small glimpse into the inner works of the Calibre FB-T.FC2. You can see the second’s wheel-and-pinion, as well as the driving wheel of the tourbillon cage. Turning the piece over will reveal a world you’ve yet to see before. The Calibre FB-T.FC2 is an in-house manufactured chronometer. It functions as a manually wound calibre, capable of holding up to 53-hours’ worth of power within its barrel. The movement is made up of over 1,100 separate components, and features a massive tourbillon as well as a fusée-and-chain mechanism. This is an extraordinary movement, and it really goes to show just how much horological might Ferdinand Berthoud has within its coffers.
The Ferdinand Berthoud FB1 Malaspina Edition is a brilliant timepiece, well suited and well versed to go toe-to-toe with the very best of them. The fact that there’s only going to be one of them in the world is kind of heartbreaking, and I take my proverbial hat off of my head to the lucky collector who manages to acquire this little work of art.
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