Pay­ing Trib­ute —

WatchTime - - Watch talk -

— De­spite be­ing a com­par­a­tively young watch brand, F.P. Journe has re­vis­ited on numer­ous oc­ca­sions the tech­nol­ogy, ma­te­ri­als and dec­o­ra­tive tech­nique of the 18th cen­tury – “the golden age of time mea­sure­ment” – in their quest to make mod­ern watches in­spired by horol­ogy’s rich his­tory. With the new­est spe­cial edi­tion of its ground­break­ing Tour­bil­lon Sou­verain, the watch­maker pays trib­ute to 18th cen­tury clock­mak­ing ar­ti­sans with the ad­di­tion of a han­den­graved Ré­gence Cir­cu­laire dial. e dial’s ge­o­met­ri­cal mo­tifs are an artis­tic hall­mark of the so-called Re­gency era of Great Bri­tain, circa 1811-1820. It takes two days for a Geneva-based ar­ti­san to hand-en­grave each dial, start­ing with draw­ing the pat­tern onto the raw white-gold base, then in­cis­ing the pat­terns into it with the use of var­i­ous types and shapes of burins, the lat­ter pre­pared ahead of time so as to be per­fectly suited and sized to the artist’s hands. Af­ter rough­ing out the sur­face’s grained and cham­plevé dec­o­ra­tions, the dial maker pro­ceeds to per­fect the back­ground tex­ture and to ex­e­cute a fi­nal fin­ish­ing of all the lines; all the pro­cesses re­quire an im­mense amount of pa­tience and dex­ter­ity. In the fi­nal step, an­other ar­ti­san ap­plies the fi­nal pol­ish­ing that gives the dial its el­e­gant, shim­mer­ing look.

Journe be­ing Journe, the watch’s in­ner heart, F.P. Journe’s in-house-made Cal­iber 1403, is just as re­mark­able as its face. The move­ment of the Tour­bil­lon Sou­verain is one of the watch­maker’s most notable tech­ni­cal achieve­ments, equipped with the con­stant force mech­a­nism that he first in­vented in 1983 and an in­de­pen­dent sec­onde morte (or dead­beat sec­onds) sys­tem. The lat­ter fea­ture, an­other in­no­va­tion from the early days of watch­mak­ing and ex­ceed­ingly rare in con­tem­po­rary time­pieces, en­sures that the sec­onds hand re­mains stopped, i.e. “dead,” un­til a full sec­ond has elapsed, re­sult­ing in a more ac­cu­rate read­ing of the time on the hours and min­utes sub­dial at 3 o’clock and the sec­onds sub­dial at 6 o’clock. The large tour­bil­lon at 9 o’clock is also, of course, a horo­log­i­cal in­ven­tion from time­keep­ing’s em­bry­onic era. Com­plet­ing the pic­ture at 12 o’clock is a hand-type in­di­ca­tor for the watch’s 42-hour power re­serve. The 18k rose-gold case of the Tour­bil­lon Sou­verain Re­gence Cir­cu­laire mea­sures 40 mm in di­am­e­ter and just shy of 10 mm thick. The back is fit­ted with a sap­phire win­dow to re­veal the move­ment, with its many gold parts (an­other Journe hall­mark) adorned with cir­cu­lar stripes on the bridges, Geneva waves on the base­plate, pol­ished and beveled screw heads and pol­ished, round-ended pegs. De­liv­ered on a brown al­li­ga­tor leather strap and lim­ited to just 20 pieces, the watch is priced at 171,000 eu­ros.

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