Typically, the watch trade, collectors and even we are inclined to have fun high-end watchmaking via issues. There’s one thing fascinating in regards to the concept of mixing a number of features in a restricted area, ensuring that the motion runs completely regardless of its complexity. However to me, and to an increasing number of fanatics, there’s one other concept which may surpass every little thing else, and that’s to make the right time-only watch: an over-engineered watch that solely shows the time. It is a matter we mentioned with one among our recurring collectors right here, and watchmaker François-Paul Journe has made this discipline his speciality. And for example this, we thought it was excessive time to revisit the F.P. Journe Chronomètre Optimum.
The Chronomètre à Résonance and even the Tourbillon Souverain Vertical are already nice examples of this style of Haute Horlogerie. We are able to even point out watches such because the Breguet Custom 7047 Fusée Tourbillon or the Armin Strom Resonance as watches that fall precisely on this definition. Overbuilt, overly-complex, over-engineered watches that solely show the time. Making a watch that stacks 10 issues is actually not simple, however taking the thought of the time-only watch and redefining its idea to make it much more succesful – which means extra exact or much less delicate to exterior components – takes us again to the very coronary heart and essence of watchmaking. And, in a method, it’s genuinely fascinating.
François-Paul Journe is actually no stranger to the complication watch. Certainly, the person has demonstrated his expertise with a perpetual calendar, a number of chiming watches and even the Astronomic Souveraine with its mixture of calendar indications, constant-force tourbillon and chiming complication. But when I had to bear in mind one model of watches by Journe, it will undoubtedly be his chronometers – whether or not the traditional Chronomètre Souverain, the Tourbillon Souverain, the Chronomètre à Résonance, and my favorite of all of them, the Chronomètre Optimum we’ll be re-discovering at present. All of those watches have one thing in widespread, and that’s to ship the absolute best chronometry on a time-only watch. And, as you’ve guessed by its identify, the Optimum may properly be the crowning achievement of F.P. Journe on this discipline.
The F.P. Journe Chronomètre Optimum is the results of a quest that began in 2001, with the thought of making a watch with superior precision that echoes the very essence of conventional watchmaking in a wristwatch format. François-Paul Journe is extensively recognized for his ardour for historical past and his respect for a few of the biggest names in watchmaking historical past, comparable to Berthoud, Breguet or Janvier. They actually had an incredible affect on his work and most of his watches within the Souveraine assortment have been designed following ideas developed/perfected by a few of these males. As defined by Journe himself, every watch within the assortment has its personal benefits. The Chronomètre à Résonance “achieves a relentless fee when uncovered to motion on the wrist. This watch may be very correct as a result of its fee is just not affected when the watch is worn.” For the Tourbillon Souverain, he explains that “the traditional tourbillon is just not typically an excellent watch, however mixed with a relentless power remontoire, its stability is assured“, which may be defined by the truth that the tourbillon was first developed for pocket watches. Lastly, the Chronomètre Souverain “has the identical accuracy because the Chronomètre à Résonance however doesn’t cancel out the consequences of being worn“.
The SCience behind the F.P. Journe Chronomètre Optimum
The entire philosophy behind the Chronomètre Optimum is “an ongoing quest for precision, innovation and excellence”, a watch “endorsing the accomplishment of F.P.Journe’s chronometric analysis“. With the Chronomètre Optimum, Journe condenses a few years of analysis and improvement, implements concepts he had over your entire course of his profession, and combines a number of present options that had been already examined in earlier watches. However that’s not all, as this watch additionally comes with a good quantity of innovation, particularly for the unique configuration of the escapement. And the result’s a watch that’s solely dedicated to the effective artwork of chronometry.
At first, you possibly can regard this Chronomètre Optimum as an evolution of the Chronomètre Souverain. The “plus” model of this watch, in a method. But when this isn’t solely improper, it will be one way or the other quite reductive. The Optimum encapsulates the best applied sciences the model has developed in a single watch. So let’s break down the motion to know what makes it such an overbuilt timepiece.
Trying on the 18k gold plate and bridges, a signature ingredient of most fashionable actions by F.P. Journe, the very first thing to catch the attention is the dual-barrel configuration, one thing that was already discovered on the Chronomètre Souverain. This double-barrel with its two springs ensures the steadiness of the driving power. As a result of the barrels are mounted in parallel (and never in sequence), they’re the primary hyperlink within the chain to ship steady torque to the gear practice and escapement. The parallel configuration isn’t there to extend the size of the facility reserve (that may be the target of barrels mounted in sequence) however to smoothen the supply of vitality. As such, and if not the one “trick” used on this motion to create fixed power, it’s already step one to enhancing the chronometry over the entire vary of the facility reserve.
The second step within the kinetic chain is the constant-force remontoire, which is there to steadiness the driving power delivered by the barrels after which utilized to the escapement, to make it fixed. This method, which was already a central ingredient of the very first wristwatch by Journe (the Tourbillon Souverain prototype accomplished in 1991), has additionally been carried out within the Chronomètre Optimum. The entire concept of the remontoire d’égalité is so as to add an additional gear within the gear practice to cancel the impact of the reducing torque on the escapement. That is an unbiased system that’s wound briefly spurts by the mainspring, after which releases the identical quantity of vitality each second – thus, the torque delivered to the escapement is smoothened and this ensures the steadiness’s isochronism. On the Chronomètre Optimum, the remontoire is made, for the primary time, in titanium, thus being lighter.
Following the course of the kinetic chain, we arrive at crucial ingredient of the F.P. Journe Chronomètre Optimum, which is its very particular and patented escapement. Generally known as the EBHP or Excessive-Efficiency Bi-Axial Escapement, this machine, most likely essentially the most noticeable ingredient of the watch, was designed alongside the remainder of the motion again in 2001. Nonetheless, within the meantime, Journe devoted his vitality to the creation of different fashions, such because the Sonnerie Souveraine, the Centigraphe or the Répétition Souveraine. However he returned to this concept and began to design and conceive this EBHP escapement. As François-Paul explains: “The essential premise was to make a watch with much less inside friction, a relentless power on the escapement to make sure isochronism and an escapement with out lubrication to make sure stability.” The 2 barrels in parallel, which remove the lateral strain to which the good wheel is subjected, exert a extra steady power on the wheel practice, whereas the remontoire improves isochronism, ensuring that the watch will get fixed amplitude for the primary 45 hours of energy reserve.
Then comes the unique dual-wheel escapement, an idea impressed by the work of Abraham-Louis Breguet and his pure escapement. The specificity of the EBHP is that it’s a two-wheel direct impulse escapement that features with out oil and is the one direct impulse escapement to start out up by itself. Because of this the escapement wheels provide impulses on to the axis of the steadiness. The Excessive-Efficiency Bi-axial escapement options an arbour and wheels fabricated from titanium and is able to delivering fixed amplitude for the primary 50 hours of the facility reserve. As well as, the chronometric steadiness with inertia weight is fitted with a spiral with Phillips curve, which ensures higher equilibrium.
The watch itself
Sufficient in regards to the (fascinating) motion. The F.P. Journe Chronomètre Optimum is, in any case, a watch… and a reasonably gorgeous one, to be sincere. The watch is designed in typical Journe vogue, because the show, the case and the weather of the dial are following the custom began with the Tourbillon Souverain or the Chronomètre à Résonance. Visually, the case is precisely what you’d count on from a Journe watch; a domed bezel, robust lugs, a flat crown with a rope-like sample, a caseback with deep engravings…
Accessible both in 18k crimson gold or in 950 platinum as offered right here, it may be ordered in two sizes, which means 40mm or 42mm – with a choice right here for the 40mm and its slimmer bezel profile. It’s worn on a traditional alligator strap closed by a pin buckle matching the case materials, however platinum or gold bracelets are additionally out there. The color of the dial will depend on the fabric chosen and is essentially matching, which means gold-coloured when ordering a crimson gold mannequin, or matte silvered when going for the platinum version.
As for the show, the F.P. Journe Chronomètre Optimum is clearly counting on the design language created by Journe in his early days, with off-centred indications on a silver guilloché dial with Clou de Paris sample, framed by a metal polished ingredient and visual screws. The fingers and the numerals are additionally typical FPJ. This dial, along with the hours and minutes, encompasses a small seconds subdial and two components that echo one another; the facility reserve indicator within the decrease half and an aperture displaying the remontoire in motion within the higher half.
Just a few notes in regards to the specs and a few notable factors of this Chronomètre Optimum. The motion is completed with nice care, as standard with F.P. Journe, with skinny Geneva stripes, round graining on baseplate, polished screw heads with chamfered slots and bevelled bridges, all in 18k rose gold. This calibre 1510 is operating at a 3Hz frequency and might retailer as much as 70 hours of energy reserve. However, as defined above, the optimum vary of operation considerations the primary 45 hours of the facility reserve, as indicated by the gauge on the dial, which reminds you that after 40 hours, and even when the watch continues to be operating, it’s preferable to wind the motion to learn from its finest chronometric performances.
The F.P. Journe Chronomètre Optimum is a part of the model’s everlasting assortment and is priced at CHF 87,900 in gold and CHF 91,800 in platinum. It’s actually a formidable worth for a “time-only” watch… however, as you’ve seen on this article, the Chronomètre Optimum is way from being only a time-only watch. It’s the very best time-only watch of the model. And one which finest pays tribute to the very essence of watchmaking!
Extra particulars at www.fpjourne.com.