The Origin Story
The Centigraphe Souverain speaks very much to François-Paul’s meticulous approach to complications, both technically and design wise. Drawing on research carried out by the watchmaker fifteen years prior, the concept was resuscitated after a conversation with Jean Todt, then executive director for Scuderia Ferrari and current president of the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile.
The two first met in Paris, and over the course of several meetings discussed what the ideal modern day mechanical chronograph could look like for the world of motorsport. From Heuer to Rolex, the association between the complication and the automative world has been a long-standing one, but one which hasn't necessarily progressed technically since the mid-20th century. Given Journe’s explorative nature for developing complications, and having already produced a chronograph wristwatch within his Octa series, the Centigraphe seemed like an appealing challenge.
The Centigraphe Souverain was eventually presented in 2007, at which time François-Paul Journe credited Jean Todt for inspiring it, since referring to the former rally driver as the Centigraphe’s “godfather”. Throughout the lifespan of the Centigraphe Souverain model, thirty percent of all profits were donated to the ICM institute, furthering the development of treatments for nervous system disorders. Support that continues to this day through subsequent iterations of the Centigraphe. A year after its introduction, the Centigraphe Souverain won L'Aiguille d’Or award at the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève, the most prestigious award ceremony in the watch industry.
The Centigraphe Souverain was exclusively produced between 2008 and 2018, whereas the Boutique Edition variant was only made between 2010 and 2016. Though not limited like the Black Label series, which were only sold to existing clients of F.P. Journe, examples of the Boutique Edition are equally scarce in many cases, with only a few appearing publicly. The complication is now only found within the brand's lineSport collection.
Housed within a 40mm rose gold case, the Centigraphe is made distinctive through a patented chronograph "rocker" on the side of the case, in place of more traditional pushers for operating the chronograph functions. It features a centralised dial layout, distinguished by a polished steel ring securing three subsidiary dials. The unusual black dial and red indications offer a rich contrast against the rose gold case.
The words "Invenit et Fecit" are inscribed beside the subsidiary counter at 6 o’clock, in classic F.P. Journe style. On the left side of the dial, the first of three sub dial hands revolves around the counter in one second, on a scale marked in hundredths of a second. The subsidiary hand at 2 o’clock revolves once every twenty seconds, with the scale itself divided by each passing second. The third register at 6 o’clock is graduated for 10 minute intervals.
The tachymeter scale converts time units for 1 kilometre into speeds ranging from 6 km/h - walking pace - to 36,000 km/h. Each subsidiary dial displays the time scale in red and is marked at the centre "S" or "M" - "PR", abbreviating "seconds" or "minutes", per revolution. An intuitive feature of the 100th of a second counter is that it can be stopped anywhere along its one-second revolution around the dial, even between two 100th of a second divisions. This flying seconds, or “foudroyante”, ticks once each time the escape wheel rotates.
This manually-wound F.P. Journe caliber 1506 movement is manufactured entirely from 18-carat rose gold, matching the case. It is constructed with 50 jewels, and features an in-line lever escapement, 15-tooth escape-wheel and free-sprung balance - adjustable on four inertia weights, with a self-compensating Anachron balance-spring. The barrel features a maintaining power system, in order to ensure driving force does not decrease during winding. The mainspring supplies a minimum of 80 hours power reserve without the chronograph running, and 24 hours even with operation.
The hand finishing is expertly conducted, mixing a combination of circular graining with sunburst and wave patterns. All screw heads are polished and all edges neatly chamfered with a Côte de Genève motif on the bridges.
This Boutique Edition Centigraphe Souverain comes with its original F.P. Journe boxes and guarantee card. It comes fitted to one of our Zürich straps (measuring 20 x 19mm) with curved-ends, and includes the original F.P. Journe alligator strap and rose gold pin buckle.