F. P. Journe
Chronomètre Optimum | platinum
Believed to (currently) be the only one of its kind, this lapis lazuli Chronomètre Optimum is part of a small, yet significant collection of F.P. Journe watches, made with stone dials. Be it jade, ruby, mother of pearl, Damascus steel or blackened-gold, the brand's exotic dials are true testament to the independent watchmaker's philosophy; continuous experimentation and refocusing in the art of craftsmanship. No two dials are alike.
In the the late 1980s, François-Paul Journe envisioned the Chronomètre Optimum to be the watch that he would design for himself - “with three-hands, two mainsprings and a remontoir d'égalité”. It was then in 2001 that the original concept for the Chronomètre Optimum was reworked, taking over 10 years to reach production in 2012.
In the design, Monsieur Journe used familiar pieces from the Chronomètre Souverain and Tourbillon. Like the Souverain, the Optimum utilises a double-barrel layout, operating in parallel. Borrowing from the tourbillon, the Optimum uses the one-second rementoir d'egalité system. The latter is displayed in one of two large apertures on the dial side, and it provides constant force to the escapement, acting as a transmission and balancing system for the transfer of power between the mainspring and the escapement. The patented, EBHP direct-impulse bi-axial escapement functions without any oil or any form of lubricant. Connected to this, is a "natural" deadbeat seconds, displayed through the caseback.
The combination of these systems offers a more stable delivery of energy to the movement. According to Journe himself, the Optimum is thus the ultimate chronometer, achieved by the maximum possible reduction of internal friction in the movement.
This manual-winding, Calibre 1510 is made from 18k rose gold, with fausses-côtes embellishments, constructed with 44 jewels, oscillating at a rate of 21,600 vibrations per hour. As expected from F. P Journe, the movement is expertly finished and elaborately decorated, with contrasts established between the circular graining on the baseplate and Genevan stripes on the bridges.
Sized at a contemporary 40mm, this platinum Chronomètre Optimum features a rounded bezel, thin lugs and the manufactures' signature ‘flat crown’ with a rope-like pattern. The entire watch is polished and mirror-finished, while the crown itself is engraved. The lapis lazuli dial of this Chronomètre Optimum is the only known example produced for the reference to date, and displays a separate silver guilloché dial for the hours and minutes, along with a running-seconds at 9 o’clock. The 12 o'clock numeral adds a further unique detail, with textured-gold decoration.
The lapis lazuli dial is a rich blue, opaque gemstone, speckled with pyrite which looks like gold. For decades, dial-makers have experimented with a variety of stones, to add different colours and textures to dials. The process is time-consuming, costly and requires intricate, specialist skill, making them relatively rare. For this lapis dial Optimum, a precise part of the stone would’ve been chosen (with the most attractive colour and graining), before cutting, grinding and polishing to an exact thickness, only fractions of a millimetre. The result, is an original display of craftsmanship and design.
The words "Invenit et Fecit" are inscribed above the two subsidiary dials (Latin for “Invented and Made”) in classic F.P Journe style - a nod to signing conventions of a century ago. The power-reserve indicator is located a 6 o’clock, heading from 0 to 40+. Impressively, the Chronomètre Optimum has a power-reserve of 70 hours, with 50 full-hours possible without any loss of amplitude.
The watch comes on a bespoke Carcassonne strap with curved-ends (measuring 20 x 19mm), as well as the original dark brown alligator strap from F. P. Journe.
Viewings can be arranged in Central London by appointment.
|Brand:||F. P. Journe|
|Model:||Chronomètre Optimum - lapis lazuli|
|Movement:||manual-winding Calibre 1510|
|Functions:||power reserve, hours, minutes, sub-seconds|
|Features:||lapis lazuli dial, display-back|
|Case:||40 mm platinum|
|Crystal:||sapphire front and back|
|Strap:||bespoke Carcassonne nubuck strap, dark brown alligator strap from F. P. Journe with platinum tang buckle|
|Box & papers:||full set - box and papers|
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