Two Watches Born of François-Paul Journe’s Genius

By Sotheby's
F rançois-Paul Journe is considered a technical genius in the field of watch making, and as the only three-time winner of the Aiguille d'Or grand prize, he quickly rose to fame in the competitive watch industry. With only 21 short years since the founding of his independent watchmaking brand F.P. Journe, collectors had started noticing the numbers of phase lifts among its collection.

Launched in 1999, the Tourbillon Souverain d'Egalité marked the first use of a constant force remontoire in a wristwatch. The historic remontoire mechanism regulates the uneven force delivered by the mainspring, transfer power between the mainspring and escapement. It married a near-forgotten vestige of antique pocket-watches with the latest technology, defining the F.P. Journe approach. The genius is in the combination of the remontoire with the tourbillon, that takes to the horological tradition of complicated modern wristwatches to its height.

Although the Tourbillon Souverain has been in F.P. Journe’s production for 21 years, only the ones that were produced from 1999 to 2003 were classified as the D’Egalit model. Those that were produced afterward were called Avec Seconde Morte, as they include a fascinating deadbeat seconds function. Within the D’Egalit ever made, about 240 to 410 pieces in total, collectors further identify four significant generations of the model produced, differentiated by the size of the dial screw and case back engravings.

While the earlier Tourbillon Souverain is one of collectors’ most desired pieces, in recent years the market has shown a great appreciation for all of F.P. Journe’s earlier rhodium-plated brass movements. Possessed of an appealing asymmetrical watch face, the Resonance’s appearance as a simple dual time timepiece belies the very exciting and technologically advanced movement. As its name suggests, the Resonance adopts a pair of balance wheels that not only powers the two time-zones displayed, but also serves as an exciter and resonator. In other words, its purpose it to provide more inertia to the movement resulting in greater accuracy.

Undoubtedly the earlier Tourbillon Sourverain will capture the heart of any discerning collector, while the Resonance is no doubt a very important part of F.P. Journe’s heritage. Both showcase the watchmaker’s fluency in classicism as well as his innovative technical feats.

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