Simply Complicated

​Chronomètre Souverain

At first glance, the ‘Chronomètre Souverain’, or the ‘CS’ as it has come to be known by the F.P. Journe faithful, is among the simplest watches the brand makes. Why, then, can one argue that this watch is quintessentially Journe? And perhaps that it is as important and iconic as the brand’s ‘Tourbillon’ and ‘Resonance’? 

The ‘CS’ is the basis for many important collaborations and limited pieces by the brand including the Tokyo edition and the Dubai edition, to name a few. The dial of the ‘CS’ is unmistakably Journe with its distinct Arabic numerals, asymmetric positioning of the small seconds and the power reserve, and signature ‘Journe hands’. Despite being among the entry level options for a brand, it has a remarkably complex manually wound movement while the dial layout and iconic typography is everything one wants in a Journe watch. 

F.P. Journe

It is difficult, nearly impossible, to talk about modern watchmaking without mentioning F.P. Journe. François-Paul, as he has come to be known, is among the most influential and prolific watchmakers of the modern era. It has been said that he is our generation’s Abraham Louis Breguet, and for good reason. In 1976, Journe qualified as a watchmaker at the École d'Horlogerie in Paris and went on to work in his uncle’s Parisian workshop, repairing pocket watches and complicated clocks. In 1983 he completed his very first watch: a pocket watch with tourbillon and remontoir d’égalité. This feat was followed by numerous awards and a great deal of recognition up until the creation of his eponymous brand in 1999, F.P. Journe Invenit et Fecit.

1999 was a coming-of-age year for Journe as he released his first Souscription Tourbillon Souverain with remontoir. The Souscription was made in an edition of twenty pieces to raise money for his brand. It was considered a novelty unlike any other, the crème de la crème of watchmaking, and has entered watchmaking lore. It was the world’s first wristwatch to have a remontoir mechanism to transfer power between the mainspring and escapement. This incredible achievement was just the first of many in the coming years.

In 2000, Journe introduced the Chronomètre à Résonance and in 2008 the Centigraphe Souverain. François-Paul’s numerous technical achievements include a grande sonnerie and an astronomic watch. The movements of all F.P. Journe pieces are made in 18k rose gold. These feats have established the manufacture as one of the top watchmakers in the world, all in a very short period of time. In fact, they have won Geneva’s Grand Prix d’Horlogerie three times, more than any other manufacture in history. François-Paul’s motto “Invenit et Fecit” is Latin for “Invented and Made”. This label can be found on all the dials of his watches as it certifies the piece as an original creation and labor of Journe’s making.