The Tourbillon Souverain
The Tourbillon Souverain was the very first production wristwatch from Montres Journe, originally made between 1999 and 2003, with a Remontoir d’Egalité; rather than a dead-seconds complication. This example, represents the fourth generation of the Journe Tourbillon, produced between 2001 and 2003 (indicated by ‘03T’ engraving on the caseback).
In 2004, Journe began manufacturing movements from 18-carat gold, having developed the brand sufficiently to further the manufacturing process. Interestingly, it is François-Paul Journe's earliest brass-movement pieces which command more interest from collectors. It is estimated that only 2,000 brass-movement examples were ever produced, across all lines, and were manufactured exclusively between 2001 and circa 2004. Among these, it is estimated that somewhere between 220 to 320 fourth-generation Tourbillon Souverains were produced, making this example as rare, as it is desirable. Brass-movement F. P Journe pieces are highly-sought after, owing to their unique place in the brand’s history and rarity.
An Evolutionary Design
The Tourbillon Souverain is quintessentially an F.P Journe, in both its design language and movement. Housed in a classical 38 mm dress watch case, it is made distinctive by F.P. Journe’s signature 'flat crown’ with a rope-like pattern. The white gold dial is delicately textured, and displays a separate silver guilloché dial for the hours and minutes. The words ‘Invenit et Fecit’ are inscribed below the tourbillon (Latin for 'Invented and Made') in classic F.P. Journe style - a nod to signing conventions of a century ago. At 12 o’clock, a power reserve indicator of 42 hours is displayed. Overall, the dial layout is clean and highly legible.
Interestingly, fourth-generation dials are known to have a more subdued, shimmering finish than their earlier counterparts. This white gold dial is however made distinctive by its granular texture, which is noticeably more defined when compared with other fourth-generation dials, despite having a tempered shimmer and intensity.
The one-second Rementoir d'egalité system is displayed in one of two large apertures on the dial side, providing constant force to the escapement, acting as a transmission and balancing system for the transfer of power between the mainspring and the escapement.
This manual-winding, F.P. Journe caliber 1498 tourbillon movement is rhodium-plated brass, with Côtes de Genève, constructed with 25 jewels and a shock-absorber mechanism. It further features a straight-line lever escapement, and monometallic 4-arm balance with 4 timing weights, adjusted to 5 positions. It includes a self-compensating free-sprung flat balance spring. The movement is engraved 'Chronometre A Tourbillon' and 'Remontoir d'egalité'.
The earliest works of François-Paul Journe, effortlessly blend traditional 19th-century watchmaking with modern haute-horology, in perfect harmony. Housed in a 38 mm platinum case, this F.P. Journe Tourbillon is one of few pieces that represent its original, inspired design – the classic 38 mm case, since no longer in production.
Monsieur Journe’s mastery is evident in the look, feel, and romance of his craftsmanship - inspired by his immediate works after graduation, restoring 18th and 19th century marine chronometers and pocket watches. These earlier, rarer pieces are being earmarked by discerning collectors as ‘the ones to buy’, with such effects beginning to impact auction results in measurable fashion.
The watch comes on our bespoke Cairo cream grained leather strap (measuring 20 x 19mm). It's also accompanied by its original early style F.P. Journe boxes, stamped guarantee card and product literature, within the complete early set.