From the Collection

By A Collected Man

Following on from our recent conversation with Mr. François-Paul Journe, we decided to take a closer look at three particularly early F.P. Journe watches: the Chonometre A Resonance, Octa Calendrier and the Octa Lune. Each of these pieces feature a rhodium plated brass movement, rather than the solid 24kt gold movements Journe have become so known for. The appeal of a brass movement Journe is that there were a limited number produced between 2001 and circa 2004, which is estimated to be around 2000 pieces in total, across all lines. These rarer pieces are being earmarked by certain collectors as ‘the ones to buy’, and the effects are beginning to ripple through auction results.


F. P. Journe Chronometre A Resonance at A Collected Man rare independent watch specialist

F. P. Journe Chronometre A Resonance

The first piece we are looking at is the Chronometre A Resonance; a movement which is comprised of two balance wheels, beating in complete synchronicity with no mechanical connection whatsoever. The complication is explained by François-Paul himself thusly, “The complication is very easy for me to explain because I’ve worked hard on understanding it in both complex and simple terms. I looked for the easiest way to explain it. In a watch, never mind which, there is energy which dissipates, when you listen to a watch, the tic tac of the balance is dissipating energy. In a resonance chronometer, there are two balance wheels which are placed sufficiently close to one another, and the dissipated energy of each is caught by the other, leading to a unique type of frequency regulation.” The complication first emerged in pendulum clocks, and so the story goes, it was discovered in 1665 by a Dutch mathematician named Christiaan Hygens, who had reported that two pendulum clocks, hanging from the same mounting beam, would beat in such perfect duplicity, that the sound of the escapements were indistinguishable from one another.


F. P. Journe Chronometre A Resonance movement at A Collected Man independent watch specialist

F. P. Journe Chronometre A Resonance movement

The concept was later researched and developed by Antide Janvier, to be refined by Abraham-Louis Breguet. Early sceptics suggested that air-resistance was playing a role, however, extensive testing by Breguet, and more recently by François-Paul has rendered this to be untrue. François-Paul on the subject of resonance denial exclaimed that “to deny the existence of resonance is like suggesting water doesn’t exist.”


F. P. Journe Octa Calendrier at A Collected Man independent watchmaker specialist

F. P. Journe Octa Calendrier

The second piece is the Octa Calendrier with a retrograde day indication, which was originally sketched on a table-cloth during 1994. The Octa Calendrier would become the first wristwatch to integrate an annual calendar and large date in an automatic wristwatch with a power reserve of 120 hours. The day indication rather satisfyingly advances daily, one mark at a time until reaching the end of the month, at which point it would snap back to the first position. The retrograde approach is something that is seldom seen, because of its relative complexity to the tried and tested concealed circular disc approach. The piece was awarded the Jury’s ‘Special Prize’ at the 2002 Geneva Watchmaking Grand Prix.


F. P. Journe Chronometre A Resonance and Octa Lune movements at A Collected Man independent watchmaker specialist for collectors

F. P. Journe Chronometre A Resonance and Octa Lune movements

And finally, we arrive at the Octa Lune, a wristwatch which was also based on the automatic caliber 1300, but displays the date, moonphase and power reserve of an impressive five days. The original goal for the 1300 caliber movement was to make a base for something which could be adapted to feature many various complications, without increasing the case thickness. François-Paul recalls from the time of development, “The creation of the Octa caliber was a real challenge for me, partly in terms of chronometry or timekeeping, and partly with respect to the day-to-day comfort of the piece.” F.P. Journe’s ability to make asymmetric dials feel perfectly balanced, we believe, to be unparalleled. The balance of his traditional approach to the fundamentals, teamed with his modern approach to design have concreted his position within the horological hall of fame.


F. P. Journe Octa Lune at A Collected Man rare independent watch specilalist

F. P. Journe Octa Lune

All three pieces will be made available shortly in our online store, with the Octa Lune available now.

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