This example, is one of few pieces from the Black Label series, created exclusively for existing F. P Journe clients
. Only twelve pieces are received by the boutiques in any year, with just two pieces for each model in the collection.
The black dial has a hobnail, Clous de Paris
pattern in the centre, while the outer track holds the embossed decorative Arabic numerals. The signature F.P. Journe
style hands are polished steel, matching the dark tones of the dial. 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 a Côte de Genève motif on the bridges.
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 dial variations but its attraction has not faded.
This watch comes on a Helsinki strap with curved-ends (measuring 20 x 19mm) and its original platinum tang buckle. The original F.P. Journe black alligator strap is also supplied.
Viewings can be arranged in Central London by appointment.