F. P. Journe Pre-Souscription Chronomètre à Résonance, 38mm, Platinum

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This F.P. Journe “Pre-Souscription” Chronomètre à Résonance is one of the earliest Résonance watches produced by the watchmaker, believed to be one of the first 25 pieces to ever leave the manufacture.

Made prior to the Souscription Résonance watches, it features a range of distinctive features from the two-tone sub-dials to the hand-applied shallow engravings on the caseback, with the intensity and character of this piece is particularly noteworthy. It was recently serviced, in February 2021, through the F.P. Journe boutique in Paris. 

The Chronomètre à Résonance is made using two balance wheels, inspired by a natural phenomenon called resonance. The complication is explained by François-Paul thusly:

“In a watch, never mind which, there is energy which dissipates. When you listen to a watch, the tick-tock 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.”

F.P. Journe

The discovery is said to have been made in 1665, by Dutch mathematician Christiaan Hygens, who 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.

The concept was later researched and developed by Antide Janvier, to be refined by Abraham-Louis Breguet. Early sceptics suggested that air-resistance played a role, however, extensive testing by Breguet (the first to test a dual-train resonance watch with a double-balance system, placing rings around the balance wheels, to negate the effects of air), and more recently by François-Paul, proved this to be untrue.

Whilst the concept was long established, the term 'resonance' was in fact coined by Monsieur Journe himself, likening the phenomenon to that of a stringed musical instrument, which resonates. Initially, unsuccessfully attempted in a pocket watch in 1983, Journe was able to hone the phenomenon of acoustic resonance in a wristwatch some fifteen years later, with the prototypes displayed at the Basel Fair in 1999. Ever since, the model has gained a cult status among collectors. As Rexhep Rexhepi, an independent watchmaker who previously worked for Journe, put it, “When I think of François-Paul Journe, I think of the Resonance.”

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