The Chronomètre Optimum is a testament to François-Paul Journe’s watchmaking philosophy; to design and manufacture timeless watches that will still function 200 years later, much like his immediate works after graduating, restoring 18th and 19th century marine chronometers and pocket watches.
The Chronomètre Optimum
It was in the the late 1980s, when François-Paul Journe envisioned the Chronomètre Optimum to be the watch that he would design for himself - “with three-hands, two mainsprings and a remontoir d'égalité”. It was in 2001 that the original concept for the Chronomètre Optimum was reworked, taking over 10 years to reach production in 2012.
In the design, Monsieur Journe used familiar pieces from the Chronomètre Souverain and Tourbillon. Like the Souverain, the Optimum utilises a double-barrel layout, operating in parallel. Borrowing from the tourbillon, the Optimum uses the one-second remontoir d'egalité system. The latter is displayed within the small aperture on the dial side, and it provides constant force to the escapement, acting as a transmission and balancing system for the transfer of power between the mainspring and the escapement. The patented, EBHP direct-impulse bi-axial escapement functions without any oil or any form of lubricants. Connected to this, a "natural" dead-beat seconds is displayed on the caseback.
The combination of these systems offers a more stable delivery of energy to the movement. According to Journe himself, the Optimum is thus the ultimate chronometer, achieved by the maximum possible reduction of internal friction in the movement.
The manual-winding, Calibre 1510 is made from 18k rose gold, with Côtes de Genève, constructed with 44 jewels, oscillating at a rate of 21,600 vibrations per hour. As expected from F. P Journe, the movement is expertly finished and elaborately decorated, with contrasts established between the circular graining on the baseplate and Genevian stripes on the bridges.
Sized at a contemporary 40mm, this Chronomètre Optimum features a rounded bezel, thin lugs and the manufactures' signature ‘flat crown’ with a rope-like pattern, made larger for the Optimum. The entire watch is polished and mirror finished, while the crown itself is engraved. The solid gold dial is textured, displaying a separate whitened silver guilloché dial for the hours and minutes, along with a running-seconds at 9 o’clock.
The words "Invenit et Fecit" are inscribed above the two subsidiary dials (Latin for “Invented and Made”) in classic F.P Journe style - a nod to signing conventions of a century ago. The power-reserve indicator is located a 6 o’clock, heading from 0 to 40+. Impressively, the Chronomètre Optimum has a power-reserve of 70 hours, with 50 full-hours possible without any loss of amplitude.
This 40mm, platinum F. P. Journe Optimum watch is in excellent condition, fitted to a bespoke light grey saffiano Luxembourg strap with curved-ends, measuring 20 x 19mm. The set also includes the original inner and outer boxes, the manufacture's guarantee card and the original black alligator strap from F. P. Journe.
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