Daniele Canale

Ferdinand Berthoud

Ferdinand Berthoud, one of the most successful master watchmakers, made fabulous creations that remain indelible on history of watchmaking art.

Ferdinand Berthoud is born in Plancemont in 1727 where he begins working with his brother Jean-Henry who builds case clocks.

In 1745 he opens in Paris his own watchmaking and he is especially appreciated for the quality and precision of his chronometers for the navy.

In 1762 was given to his factory the control of the watches of ships; and in 1973 the King of France entrusts him with the realization of the royal watches and urges him to go to England in order to watch the chronometers produced by John Harrison.

He is nominated member of the “Istituto di Francia " and in 1764 "Fellow of the Royal Society" of London.

Berthoud is also an author of numerous treatises and technical manuals of watchmaking as:

  • Essai sur l’Horlogerie,
  • Traite des Horloge Marines,
  • Histoire de la mesure du temps par les horloges  1°, 2°  Vol.

He also publishes many other works and researches containing a mass of useful information concerning the history, theory and practise of the art of watchmaking, deepening also the Harrison’s and Sully’s inventions and in particular he works with Le Roy in developing mechanisms for chronometers; and, in general, with everything was known at Berthoud’s time.

F. Berthoud, two years elder than his contemporary Breguet, ends a brief notice about his brilliant colleague, writing: “Il n’a rien publiè”.

In 1797, Louis Berthoud, descendant of Ferdinand, associates with Georges Perret forming the "Perret & Berthoud".

In 1798 the two partners founded a new watchmaking called "Universal Watch"; from that moment the history of Berthoud Co. is closely connected to that of Universal Watch.

He dies in 1807 at his home in Groslay, near Montmorency and, after two marriages without children, he leaves his watchmaking to his nephew Louis.



Watch List


Silver case engraved on the back - Diam. Mm. 52