Switzerland makes over 30 million mechanical watches every year, with a huge variety of models. Today, some customers are particularly interested in finding a timepiece that looks very different as well as appealing to them both technically and aesthetically. This is what makes watches by F.P. Journe so coveted by collectors. They make less than 900 pieces per year, and they cease production of a calibre when a new one is introduced.
An example is provided by the ‘10 Years Anniversary Tourbillon,’ celebrating the tenth anniversary of the first Boutique in Tokyo, and the inauguration of the brand’s tenth Boutique in Beirut. It is based on François-Paul Journe’s first watch, a tourbillon pocket watch that he made in 1983. Just ten of the Anniversary edition were made, in platinum with grained silver and blackened hour display dial, from which one was assigned to each F.P. Journe Boutique and thence to collectors by draw. The beautiful movement, in 18-carat rose gold, can be seen through the sapphire case back.
Another beautiful timepiece is the new Chronomètre Optimum, an emblematic timepiece of haute horology, encompassing the finest components in the history of watch making, brought together for the first time in one watch. These features are: a double barrel, the patented constant-force remontoire, the EBHP High-Performance Bi-axial Escapement, also patented, the spiral with Phillips curve; and a surprising natural dead beat second visible on the back of the movement. The watch, in platinum or red gold, also with an 18-carat rose gold movement, is a collector’s item, but one that you will certainly want to wear.
In some pieces, the technical brilliance of the movement is accompanied by dazzling jewellery. The Tourbillon Souverain, for example, is the only tourbillon wristwatch with the constant-force remontoire and dead beat seconds feature. The latter is a complication that, historically speaking, runs back to pendulum clocks in which the second hand moves one second at a time, when the second has actually elapsed. Most mechanical watches have a sweeping second hand because the regulator oscillates at between 6 and 12 beats per second. The almost imperceptible rhythm of the second hand of a mechanical watch set them apart from quartz movements in the years of the quartz revolution, and so the dead beat complication in a mechanical watch is rather unusual. In the Tourbillon Souverain by F.P. Journe, the dial layout features an independent seconds display at 6 o’clock, with the hours and minutes on a subdial at 3 o’clock, balancing the tourbillon at 9 o’clock. At the top of the dial there is a 42-hour power reserve indicator; the intricacy of the movement can be viewed through the sapphire caseback. A work of art that, in the jewellery models shown in the photographs, is framed by precious metals and diamonds.
All watches by F.P. Journe are signed ‘Invenit et Fecit’ (invented and made), expressing the fact that each of the marque’s movements was invented, constructed and assembled in their Geneva manufacture. For further information and Boutique addresses, see www.fpjourne.com