F. P. Journe Tourbillon Souverain, Platinum

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This Tourbillon Souverain is one of the first 85 made and sold by François-Paul Journe, distinguished by its “08X/01T” engraving on the caseback. It also features a rather unusual rose gold dial, which is rarely ever found amongst the watchmaker’s early pieces.


It is no coincidence that Journe chose for his first pocket watch and wristwatch to be a tourbillon, the complication designed by Abraham Louis Breguet to counter-act the effect of gravity on the regularity of horological movements.

Overall, the Tourbillon Souverain consists of four generations: the Souscription, with 20 examples produced in 1999; the second generation, with either 16 or 17 watches made in 1999; the third generation, with around 60 pieces completed between 1999 and 2001; and finally the fourth generation, with an estimated 220 to 320 watches produced between 2001 and 2003. On top of these, one should also be aware of the Ruthenium models made between 2001 and 2003, in a limited run of 99 pieces.

According to Osama Sendi, otherwise known as The Journe Guy, an expert on F.P. Journe who has been studying the heritage of the brand for the past several years, the Souscription and the second series were actually made in parallel, rather than sequentially. Some of the Souscription Tourbillons were actually delivered as late as 2000, later than some of the earlier second-generation watches.

The changes we can observe across these four generations are interesting, as they mark the evolution from a single watchmaker individually crafting his pieces, to a more established company capable of consistently repeating the same quality. The quirks and unusual details of the early pieces – from the shimmer of the dial to the depth of the engraving on the caseback – help tell this story.