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F.P. Journe Chronometre Souverain
The Sovereign reigned with a regal face
François-Paul Journe has an astute ability to design stunningly sublime timepieces which bear his own unique design language. The Chronomètre Souverain is no exception with gorgeous guilloché to beguile prospective wearers.
F.P. Journe offer an extensive range of models which include the most complex of complications; tourbillons and minute repeaters. However, it is this relatively simple model which has arrested my attention.
The Chronomètre Souverain has been inspired by 19th century marine chronometry but I would suspect that this watch today is more likely to navigate the Champs Elysées, Bond Street and Fifth Avenue with its aristocratic persona.
The dial is silver with glorious guilloché at its centre featuring a hobnail pattern, clous de Paris. Clean blued steel hands elegantly convey hours and minutes.
Subsidiary seconds are located on a small subdial located between 7 o’clock and 8 o’clock. It has a Moiré finish with a blued steel hand detailed with a round counterweight.
A second rail, runs along the perimeter of the subdial, a microcosm of the minute rail depicted on the chapter ring.
A key detail of the dial is the interface between the subdial and the chapter ring. Examine the dial and the Roman numerals depicting the hours appear equal. But some numerals are more equal than others.
Scrutinise the dial more closely, the numerals closest to the subdial are slightly smaller and the weight of the font is lighter than those located on the opposite side of the dial. On first glance, all appears in balance and in harmony but by altering the size and boldness of the numerals the subdial does not deprive the wearer of a full set of numerals.
Adjacent the crown is a power reserve indicator. A blued hand arcs from north to south as increasing energy is imparted to the spring barrels.
F.P. Journe certainly chose an arduous route to ascend. Most watchmakers would not locate the power reserve near the crown as the area is already congested with the winding apparatus. François has embraced the challenge in pursuit of aesthetics and the result is splendidly stylish.
The chapter ring features a minute rail and another example of the guillocher’s craft, satiné circulaire.
The prospective purchaser has the choice of platinum or red gold. I personally prefer the platinum case. It blends with the silver dial with tasteful restraint.
The 40mm case is highly polished and features a charming crown with a recherché rope like pattern facilitating grip.
F.P. Journe are fine exponents of haute horology. The watches are not merely a pretty face and curvaceous body but have immense intelligence beneath the noblesse veneer.
The Calibre 1304 is a manufacture movement as demonstrated by the strapline on face of all F.P. Journe watches, “Invenit et Fecit”, invented and made. The strapline refers to the conception, manufacture and assembly of the watches in company’s Genevan workshop.
The manually wound movement is made of 18-carat rose gold. Admire the finissage through the sapphire caseback and you will acquire a warm glow. All is well with the world of haute horology.
The plates are 18-carat rose gold with perlage prevalent. The bridges are constructed of the same noble metal with Côte de Genève motif perfectly presented.
Screw heads are polished. Slots are chamfered. The artisan's endeavour ubiquitously shown.
The F.P. Journe Chronomètre Souverain is not encumbered with numerous complications. Its beauty is the simple presentation of its harmonious form.
There is substance behind the style and I am not alone in this opinion. The watch won the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève back in 2005 and it retains its fresh-faced appearance now.
The look appears elegantly understated. It does not try to be regal. It is regal.
This is no pretender to the crown. It is a king among timepieces, a worthy sovereign.
- Model: F.P. Journe Chronometre Souverain
- Case: Platinum; diameter 40.00 mm; height 8.60 mm; water resistant to 3 bar (30 metres); sapphire crystal to front and back.
- Functions: Hours; minuntes; subsidiary seconds; power reserve indicator.
- Movement: Calibre 1304; manual winding; Frequency 21,600 vph; 22 jewels; Power reserve 56 hours.
- Strap: Black leather platinum pin buckle.