They say that one of the principles of good journalism is to be objective and neutral about what or who you write about. Considering the circumstances between the brand F.P. Journe and our publication, we will do our best to keep this post as objective and neutral as possible. Sometimes, no matter how nice you are to people and how hard you work, you still run into arrogant executives in the watch industry that disrespect you or that think that because they work for a very special brand, you as a watch publication are obliged to take their attitude and still write about their watches.
Back in 2013 during the SIAR, we promised the F.P. Journe brand that we would never write about them as long as we owned this website. Today, we are breaking this promise just to pamper a very close and dear friend of ours that recently acquired the only F.P. Journe Chronomètre Souverain Boutique Edition ref. CS that has made it to the American continent. Not only our friend wanted for us to do a special review of this special timepiece that he now owns, but we also felt that this watch is well worth talking about.
Francois-Paul Journe, is a name that is very well respected and highly awarded in the horological arena thanks to his vision and unparalleled watchmaking talent. Awarded in several occasions with prizes at the GPHG —Grand Prix d'Horlogerie de Genève— and well known for his tailor-made watches sold in the mid 80s, F.P. Journe quickly gained recognition among the elite of watch collectors throughout Europe and the rest of the world. After presenting his first wristwatch in 1991 —named 'Tourbillon Souverain'— that incorporated for the first time a 'remontoire' system and a movement —including its gear trains— fully made of 18K gold, this modern horologist has situated himself within the upper echelon of watchmaking in just two decades.
The F.P. Journe Chronomètre Souverain Boutique Edition ref. CS is fitted with a rose gold case measuring either 38 or 40 mm in diameter —the watch featured here measures 40 mm— and features central hours and minutes, subsidiary seconds and power reserve indicator. What makes this timepiece more special and Boutique limited, is the very special dial created with a Guilloché 'Clous de Paris' rose center and an hour chapter ring in rose mother of pearl. Available in platinum —silver center and blue mother of pearl— or 18K rose gold, this exceptional timepiece is far from conventional and not readily available at least within this side of the world. Originally fitted with a dark brown strap, we decided to swap its original strap —for this review— for a navy blue one in order to accentuate the blue Arabic numerals on its dial.
Its dial, clean and captivating, features a 56-hour power reserve indicator at 3 and subsidiary seconds between 7 and 8 o'clock. The finish of the dial is superb and its layout remains true to the look of all other F.P. Journe timepieces. This is a dial that is better appreciated in person and under the loupe. Hopefully our images are good enough to convey the level of work and attention to detail that was put into creating this dial. As with all other F.P. Journe's watches, its motto in Latin 'Invenit et Fecit' —Invented and Made— remains the focal point at 12 o'clock, all rounded out by its beautifully blued hands.
Its beating heart, the in-house manual wound calibre 1304 is fully visible via the display case back. This beautiful movement is fully made in 18K rose gold, beats at a frequency of 21,600 vph —3 Hz—, is fitted with 22 jewels and is composed of 164 parts. The movement features two barrels in parallel, No. 8 escapement and a balance with four inertia weights.
Fitted with a nicely finished hand-sewn alligator strap with pin buckle, the watch wears comfortably and true to its size. The front of the buckle is highly polished and signed F.P. Journe, while the backside is sandblasted.
With unparalleled wrist presence and ultimate elegance, this F.P. Journe Chronomètre Souverain Boutique Edition is a watch that we really like, regardless of our differences with one of the executives at the brand. For the money, you not only get a superb timepiece with amazing design and craftsmanship but also a timepiece that was awarded the "Favorite Men's Watch" award at the GPHG —Grand Prix d'Horlogerie de Genève— in 2005. Monsieur F.P. Journe, "Honor to whom deserves honor".
Sticker Price $32,300 USD. For more info on F.P. Journe click here.