Watch out : 99 pieces only ! It might be the ultimate collector’s piece of this end of 2013. A piece made by one of the most skilled independent watchmaker. A tourbillon, of course. But not a traditional one. A François-Paul Journe one.
The story starts 30 years ago. At that time, the man we now call « F.P. Journe » is just a young graduated from the watchmaking school. He’s based in Paris, not yet in Geneva. He’s a true lover of haute complications, but he doesn’t have the means to buy one. In a nutshell, no money, but plenty of time and a watchmaker diploma in his pocket. So why not make his own tourbillon ?
What F.P. Journe did not know at the time was this dream would take five long years to see the light of day. Five long years the man spent building all parts of the watch, but also his own tools. Journe not only made the movement, he also made the decoration and all the engravings, demonstrating the exceptional skills he would later use in his manufacture.
What we see today as a straight forward career was not that obvious at the time. He was not an easy child. No one could channel his energy. And his desire to understand everything was often perceived as impertinence. This attitude resulted in many discipline problems at the schools he attended in Marseille, his hometown.
Since the normal curriculum did not suit him at all, and on the advice of his uncle Michel Journe, himself a watchmaker based in Paris, François-Paul enrolled in the watchmaking school in Marseille. Michel Journe was one of only three specialists in the restoration of antique clocks and watches, often unique, from the sixteenth, seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. His reputation stretched far beyond France. His clients consisted of museums and high-flying collectors. François-Paul Journe got his inspiration out of him. And maybe the strengh to start building his own tourbillon.
F.P. Journe T30 : Back to the future
In a couple of days, F.P. Journe will unveil the 30th anniversary piece of this amazing first tourbillon. If the 2013 edition is very close from the 1983 one, a few things changed.
First, the original pocket watch turned into a wristwatch. The first choice of a pocket watch had its seeds in the love Journe had of traditional watchmaking, added to the fact that the large caliber of pocket watches are easier to work than wristwatches’ – especially when you’re a young watchmaker with nearly no experience, who just turned 20 !
Then, the lateral pallet escapement, which is more compatible with a wristwatch, replaces the detent escapement of the original, and the winding and time setting with a key have now been replaced by the 3 o’clock crown.
Apart from that, the 2013 piece is very similar to the original one. This wristwatch presents the same materials used 30 years ago : a case in guilloche silver enhanced by 2 gold bezels in rose gold 4N. The transparent sapphire back reveals the tourbillon movement of classic construction made in grained and gilded brass, identical to the original of 1983. Two parallel barrels distribute energy to a wheels train, arranged in the axis of the watch, which runs the Tourbillon revolving in 1 minute. The movement features high quality components, with nowadays elaborate polishing, beveling and finishings that weren’t possible at the time.
The movement is protected by a case back cover in silver guilloche. The dial in grained silver is engraved with filled roman numerals and a steel hour circle, identical to the original tourbillon of 1983. The hours are indicated by blued steel Abraham-Louis Breguet hands, identical to those of the original pocket watch.
The 1983 original piece is still in M. Journe’s personal collection. The 2013 edition will be edited in a very limited collection of 99 pieces at $99,000. It was presented as a Premiere on October 18 in Tokyo, also celebrating the 10th Anniversary of the first F.P. Journe Boutique. From now on, the piece identified as 1/99 will travel around the world in Journe’s flagship stores. Keep an eye on this quite uncommon road-trip!
F.P. Journe T30 : Technical Specifications
- Calibre 1412
- Manual winding / 29 turns of crown
- Movement in brass, grained and golden 3N
- Overall diameter : 32.60 mm
- Cased-up diameter of movement : 32.00 mm
- Overall height of movement : 5.95 mm
- Height of winding stem : 2.50 mm
- Diameter of stem thread : S1.20 mm
- Escapement 15 teeth
- 90° Anchor fork
- Balance with 4 inertia weights
- Flat Anachron balance spring with Breguet overcoil
- Fixed stud holder
- Spring pinned to collet
- Pinned GE stud
- 2 barrels in parallel
- Frequency : 21’600 VPH, (3Hz)
- Inertia : 11.00 mgcm2
- Angle of lift : 52°
- Amplitude : 0h dial up : > 280°
- 24h dial up : > 260°
- Center hours and minutes at 12h
- Small second at 6h
- 2 positions winding crown
- Engraved base plate, grained, golden 3N
- Grained bridges, golden 3N
- Screw heads polished and beveled, with chamfered slots
- Blued screws
- Pegs with polished rounded ends
- 18K gold 4N and silver guilloche
- Double back Sapphire crystal and cover in gold and silver guilloche
- Diameter : 40 mm
- Height : 10.00 mm
- Grained silver with numbers and hour circle engraved and filled
- Blued steel Abraham-Louis Breguet hands
- Number of parts_ Jewels : 19
- Movement without dial : 178
- Cased on leather strap : 220
Main Characteristics: Tourbillon chronometer, revolution in 60 seconds, 2 positions winding crown
Power reserve: Approximately 56 hours
More resources about F.P. Journe T30 on the official F.P. Journe Website.