The Chronomètre Souverain
In 2005, the Chronomètre Souverain won the ‘Favourite Men’s Watch’ award the GPHG (Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève), the most prestigious award ceremony in the watch industry. Since then, the Chronomètre Souverain has seen a number of variations in the design, more recently featuring a green dial to celebrate the opening of Journe's first boutique in Dubai.
The brown dial has a hobnail, Clous de Paris pattern in the centre, while the outer track holds the embossed decorative Arabic numerals. The tobacco brown colour of the dial is achieved through a combination of gold and ruthenium, which was achieved after multiple adjustments to the formula. The signature Journe-style hands are off-white, and complement the warm brown tones of the dial. The outer-track holds embossed decorative Arabic numerals (also off-white in colour). Between 7 and 8 o’clock, is a subsidiary seconds, with a power-reserve indicator at 3 o'clock, showing 56 hours. Overall, the dial layout is cleanly designed and highly-legible.
An interesting aspect of this timepiece lies in the power reserve, as when winding, instead of the indicator heading from 0-56, it goes the other way towards 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 on this Chronomètre Souverain is not meant to tell you how many hours there are left, but instead how many hours since you have wound the watch.
While this piece is undeniably attractive, it is the movement that F.P. Journe is famed for. Part of the manual-winding Souverain collection, it is certainly independent haute horlogerie at its finest, as the in-house, Calibre 1304 is made entirely of 18k rose gold seen through the sapphire caseback. The movement has two mainspring barrels in parallel, which work together, powering the movement.
Most impressively, is the chronometric balance fitted into the movement, which helps to provide the accuracy that F.P. Journe has based his watchmaking around. As M. Journe explains thusly:
"Chronometry was invented by the 18th century English and French watchmakers, when their respective governments organised a competition that would reward the first watchmaker capable of making a timekeeper that could be carried on board a ship."
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 Côte de Genève on the bridges.
This watch comes on a Geneva strap with curved-ends (measuring 20 x 19mm) and its original rose gold pin buckle. The original F.P. Journe brown caramel alligator strap is also supplied.
Viewings are currently suspended for the time being.