A Very Rare and Beautiful Watch: F.P. Journe's Resonance Comes To Auction

A Very Rare and Beautiful Watch: F.P. Journe's Resonance Comes To Auction

T o aficionados, François-Paul Journe, aka F.P. Journe, is one of the most influential and ground-breaking watchmakers of the modern era. And his Resonance watch is arguably, the company's most iconic model. It has become synonymous with his technical ingenuity, mechanical creativity and reverence for horological history - and Sotheby’s is delighted to present one of the rarest and very earliest examples of this quintessential Journe watch ever to have come to the market.

The Resonance model was released in 2000, with this manual winding, platinum, dual-time example numbered eight of the only ten, pre-production, pre-souscription models made in 1999, thus preceding the commercial release. As such an early example, it was most likely made, either in part or in entirety, by F.P. Journe himself.

With the market for Journe growing in recent years, thanks to popular interest in independent watch brands, Sotheby’s Charlie Foxhall believes this to be a momentous opportunity for a collector. “For it to be one of the most important models he’s ever made and also one of the very first ever created is quite significant.”

“For it to be one of the most important models he’s ever made and also one of the very first ever created, is quite significant.”
- Charlie Foxhall, Sotheby's Specialist

As an apprentice to his uncle, Michel, a restorer of antique timepieces, a young François-Paul Journe received a thorough education in classical watchmaking and showed promise from a young age. He advanced to study horology and joined his uncle’s workshop in 1976 as a full-time employee where he began experimenting with building his own watches. In 1985, he opened his workshop, fighting to establish his name within a competitive industry. His tenacity and endless drive to push the boundaries of watchmaking almost inevitably led him to experiment with resonance. 

"This is the only Resonance from this series, that has come to market, with this [white gold] colour dial"

As a phenomenon, resonance was first discovered by the Dutch scientist Christiaan Huygens in the 1600s. It refers to the way in which components within a clock, when placed within a certain proximity of one another, become synchronised in their actions – something that Huygens discovered with pendulums. The advantage of this effect in a timepiece is balance and greater accuracy in timekeeping but before Journe, it had never been applied to wristwatches. Journe began experimenting with this in the mid-90s, finalising the design towards the end of the decade. With Journe well documented as being heavily influenced by the historical titans of watchmaking, it is no wonder that he followed in the footsteps of one of his primary inspirations, Breguet, who first experimented with using resonance in pocket watches.

It is believed that the first generation of Resonance models, from which this particular lot originates, were produced with dials in yellow gold, rose gold and white gold as seen in this example. This is the only Resonance from this series, that has come to market, with this colour dial and it is fair to assume, on that basis, that it a very rare attribute indeed. Other detail characteristics of early Journe timepieces are the shallow engravings on the case back and the use of a rhodium-plated brass movement. Since those early models, the Resonance has been reimagined many times over the last two decades in different variations, including a 20th anniversary edition in 2020. As a part of the F.P. Journe brand heritage, there is perhaps no better model that so succinctly captures its founder’s ambition and ability.

"There is perhaps no better model that so succinctly captures its founder’s ambition and ability"

Luxury Week

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