F. P. Journe
Chronomètre à Résonance | Ruthenium dial | 40mm platinum
This Limited Edition F. P. Journe Ruthenium Chronomètre à Résonance watch is one of only ninety-nine pieces, created between 2001 and 2003. Each of the series is individually numbered (XX/99-01R) and cased in platinum. The pairing of a quintessential complication by Francois-Paul Journe with the attractiveness of ruthenium coating on the dial and movement makes the watch both mechanically and visually impressive.
The Ruthenium Collection
Five watches were chosen for the Ruthenium Collection, representing the latter part of F.P. Journe’s brass movement production, and this was the first time that any of Journe’s watches were made with ruthenium-coated dials and movement plates. Each of the five of the pieces, including this early variant of the Chronomètre à Résonance, have since been discontinued in the collection
Chronomètre à Résonance
The Chronomètre à Résonance movement in this example is comprised of 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 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 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 his first 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 Francois-Paul Journe, I think of the Resonance.”
Housed in a 40 mm dress watch case, the watch is made distinctive by the ruthenium coated dial. The charcoal grey surface is delicately textured, giving the dial a mixture of tones and added depth. The ruthenium plating reflects light differently, transitioning to a smokey, silver hue from different angles. Two separate silver guilloché dials show the hours and minutes, with the two opposing dials capable of displaying multiple time zones. The words ‘Invenit et Fecit’ are inscribed below the two subsidiary seconds (Latin for ‘Invented and Made’ or more literally 'Designed and built by F.P. Journe') in classic F.P. Journe style - a nod to signing conventions of a century ago. At twelve o’clock, a power reserve indicator of 40 hours is also shown.
Interestingly, the power reserve indicator of this Chronomètre à Résonance is reversed from the norm, beginning at 40 and progressing to 0. This was deliberate by F.P. Journe, who borrowed this from marine chronometer clocks. The reasoning behind this lies in the idea that the power reserve indicator of the Chronomètre à Résonance is not meant to display how many hours are left, but instead how many hours have passed since the watch was wound.
This manual-winding, F.P. Journe caliber 1499 movement is ruthenium-coated brass, with Côtes de Genève, constructed with 36 jewels. It features a resonance-controlled, twin independent gear-train, straight-line lever escapement, monometallic 4-arm balance with 4 timing weights, self-compensating free-sprung flat balance spring, oscillating at a rate of 21,600 vibrations per hour. Further to this, a winding crown at 12 o’clock adjusts both time-zones, with a crown at 4 o’clock to synchronise the seconds’ hands.
In 2004, Journe began manufacturing movements from 18-carat gold; however - interestingly - it is François-Paul Journe’s earliest brass-movement pieces that command more interest from collectors. It’s estimated that only 2,000 brass-movement examples were produced, across all lines, and were manufactured exclusively between 2001 and circa 2004. These earlier F. P Journe pieces are highly sought-after, owing to their placement within the brand’s history and rarity. The Ruthenium Series only enhances these qualities, using the light-absorbing dark metal to create a unique aesthetic.
Combining many of the most desirable aspects of F.P. Journe’s manufacture, the Ruthenium Chronomètre à Résonance continues to represent a rare opportunity to acquire something of a landmark piece in the history of the brand. Ninety-nine examples may have been produced, though far fewer have reached the market since, demonstrating the affection many owners of the series clearly have for the execution of these models.
This Limited Edition, F. P. Journe Ruthenium Chronomètre à Résonance is accompanied by its original Ruthenium Collection boxes, Certificate of Origin and accompanying materials, within the complete set.
To find out more about François-Paul Journe and his early Ruthenium Collection, you can read Chapter III of our three-part series of articles.
|Brand:||F. P. Journe|
|Model:||Ruthenium Chronomètre à Résonance - 01R|
|Movement:||mechanical manual-winding Cal. 1499|
|Functions:||dual hours, minutes, subsidiary seconds|
|Features:||twin independent movement, power reserve display, ruthenium-coated dial, ruthenium-coated brass-movement, display back, blue steel hands|
|Case:||40 mm platinum|
|Crystal:||sapphire front and display-back|
|Strap:||Zürich taupe grained leather strap, black F. P Journe alligator strap with platinum buckle, additional platinum/white gold deployant clasp|
|Year:||sold in 2002|
|Box & papers:||original inner and outer boxes, Certificate of Origin, manual, strap changing tool, loupe, polishing cloth, servicing paperwork (dated September 2020)|
The watch is guaranteed for authenticity and comes with the remainder of its 24-month servicing warranty from the manufacture, along with a two-year warranty from A Collected Man.
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