Ferdinand Berthoud was born on the March 18th 1727 to a family of distinguished clock and watchmakers in Plancemont in the heart of the Val-de-Travers region of the canton Neuchâtel, Switzerland. At the age of fourteen he was taken on by his brother, jean-henry, as a clockmaker’s apprentice in couvet, also receiving a sound scientific education.
On April 16th 1745, aged 18, he moved to Paris, where he continued to hone his skills as a clockmaker. He employed his talents as a journeyman for the Parisian community of master watchmakers. During the reign of Louis XV (1710-1774), 18th century Paris was undergoing an unprecedented period of intellectual influence and scientific inquiry.
This was the age of enlightenment. Knowledge was the holy grail of all scholars, writers and philosophers, whose research enjoyed the encouragement and support of the french royal academy of sciences. This was the specific context in which Ferdinand Berthoud’s expertise as a scientific engineer, his manual skill and his gift for mechanics were able to flourish, marking him out as one of the greatest horologists of all time.
Ferdinand Berthoud on MrWatchMaster: