Ferdinand Berthoud

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Ferdinand Berthoud
Ferdinand Berthoud.jpg
Ferdinand Berthoud
Born 19 March 1727
Died 20 June 1807
Citizenship Swiss

Ferdinand Berthoud (19 March 1727 – 20 June 1807) was a Swiss chronometer-maker.


He was born at Plancemont, Neuchâtel, Switzerland. Having served his apprenticeship with his brother, Jean-Henri, a pendulum maker, he set up a clockmaking business in Paris in 1745 and gained a great reputation for the excellence and accuracy of his marine chronometers. He succeeded the pioneering work of Henry Sully.[1] He was appointed Clockmaker to the Navy in 1762 and Clockmaker to the King in 1773.[2] At the king's insistence he travelled to England to view the chronometers of John Harrison.

Together with his great rival, Pierre Le Roy, Berthoud contributed to the development of the chronometer, .[3] He was made a member of the Institute of France and elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of London in 1764.[4] Among other works he wrote Essai sur l'horlogerie in 1763.

He died in 1807 at his home in Groslay near Montmorency, Seine et Oise. He had married twice, firstly Mademoiselle Chati of Cean, and then Mademoiselle Dumoustier of Saint Quentin, but had no children. His business passed to his nephew, Louis Berthoud (1759–1813).

Main clocks[edit]


  • Essai sur l'horlogerie [2]
  • Histoire de la mesure du temps par les horloges 1 [3]
  • Histoire de la mesure du temps par les horloges 2 [4]


  1. ^ Chisholm 1911.
  2. ^ "Ferdinand Berthoud". Retrieved 13 December 2010. 
  3. ^ Britten's Watch & Clock Makers' Handbook Dictionary & Guide Fifteenth Edition p.122 [1]
  4. ^ "Library and Archive Catalogue". Royal Society. Retrieved 13 December 2010.