F. P. Journe
Tourbillon Souverain | 3rd Generation | Brass Movement
rose gold dial
F. P. Journe
Tourbillon Souverain | 3rd Generation | Brass Movement
rose gold dial
This F.P. Journe Tourbillon Souverain falls within the first ninety tourbillons sold by the watchmaker, dating back to 2001. Housed in a platinum case, it is one of only a handful of publicly known examples with a rose gold dial, with only five of these having surfaced within the third series of the Tourbillon Souverain. With its delicately textured dial, large screws and two-tone sub-dial, it embodies much of the appeal of the watchmaker's early work.
The dawn of Montres Journe
Prior to launching his own brand, Francois-Paul Journe had already proven his skill as a talented watchmaker. Having spent time restoring clocks and pocket watches from the likes of Janvier and Breguet, he had equally completed complex commissions for Asprey and Cartier, among others. In his own time, the young watchmaker had also already assembled a pocket watch integrating a tourbillon, by following the writings of George Daniels, as well as a handful of prototype wristwatches integrating a tourbillon and remontoir d’égalité systems. However, Journe had not yet established his own brand, lacking the capital to do so.
One day, while out to lunch, his friend Camille Berthet suggested a subscription model. The idea was simple; a few trusting clients would have put the money forward for a watch that was yet to be made. In exchange for this good faith, they would receive a 50% reduction on its retail value, allowing the watchmaker to raise just enough money to start the production of pieces under his own eponymous brand. The project behind the Souscription Tourbillon was born, with twenty close clients and friends of the watchmaker committing a deposit, sight unseen. These early wristwatches became the foundation of the F.P. Journe manufacture we know today.
An early Tourbillon Souverain
The Tourbillon Souverain was the very first production wristwatch from Montres Journe, originally made between 1999 and 2003. Produced in 2001, this piece was one of the earliest Tourbillon Souverains sold by the manufacture. As such, it reveals physical characteristics only found on the earliest pieces.
This piece falls within the third generation of the Tourbillon Souverain, produced, between 1999 and 2001. The third series is distinguished by its flat remontoire cock, large screws on the dial and characterful two-tone sub-dial. Within the third series, only 5 examples are publicly known with rose gold dials, with yellow and white gold being the most common. Considering F.P. Journe only used rose gold dials from the third series onwards, this makes these pieces all the more elusive, with the metal being extremely scarce within the total Tourbillon Souverain production.
In 2004, F.P. Journe began manufacturing movements from rose gold, having developed the brand sufficiently to further the manufacturing process. Interestingly, it is the manufacture's earlier brass-movement pieces that command more interest from collectors, representing the watchmaker's first brushstrokes.
The quintessential design
The design of the Tourbillon Souverain, building on Journe’s earliest prototypes, has come to define the visual aesthetic of all tourbillons from the manufacture to this very day. The dial layout reinforces this artisanal spirit, with exposed screws and stark, contrasting surfaces. This aesthetic was honed by Francois-Paul Journe during the creation of the prototypes building up to the Souscription, which had the sub-dials screwed directly onto the base plate of the movement, made of traditional gold-plated brass. With the majority of F.P. Journe pieces having been produced with white or yellow gold dials, this rose gold dial is as rare as it is attractive.
The unusual rose gold dial is wonderfully 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’ or more literally 'Designed and built by F.P. Journe') 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.
When held in the sunlight, this piece displays an intensity and shimmer typically only found on the earliest of examples. One of the more immediately identifiable characteristics of these earlier dials are the large exposed dial screws, featured on this example, which were later reduced in size moving into the fourth generation of the Tourbillon. Furthermore, this piece also displays a distinctive two-tone subdial, with a silver outer minute track and subtle, off-white guilloché pattern in the centre.
The one-second Remontoir 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. The watch is housed in a 38mm platinum case, integrating F.P. Journe’s signature 'flat crown’ with a rope-like pattern.
The 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 watch comes on our Stockholm grey leather straps (measuring 20 x 19mm). It is also accompanied by a Certificate of Origin from F.P. Journe. This watch will come with a complimentary service through FP Journe Paris.
To find out more about François-Paul Journe and his early pieces, you can read our Collector's Guide to early F.P. Journe.
|Brand:||F. P. Journe|
|Movement:||mechanical manual-winding brass movement calibre 1498 with one-second remontoir d'egalité|
|Functions:||tourbillon, hours, minutes, sub-seconds|
|Features:||rose gold dial, two-tone sub-dial, display-back, power-reserve display|
|Case:||38 mm platinum|
|Crystal:||sapphire front and display-back|
|Strap:||Stockholm grey leather strap, F.P. Journe alligator strap with platinum pin buckle|
|Year of production:||2001|
|Box & papers:||Certificate of Origin from F.P. Journe|
This Tourbillon Souverain is in excellent overall condition, with some light marks throughout, consistent with wear. The rose gold dial is very well preserved, displaying a strong level of intensity and light oxidation, most commonly associated with the earliest pieces from the watchmaker. It keeps excellent time and all the functions are working as expected. It's guaranteed for authenticity and comes with a two-year warranty from A Collected Man. This watch will come with a complimentary service through FP Journe Paris.
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