Stripped down for performance, the Chronomètre Souverain shows the versatility of François-Paul Journe’s style in the antithesis of complicated watchmaking. The new model, inspired by early 19th-century marine chronometry, reveals Journe at the top of his craft in two superbly executed horological illusions.
On the dial, Journe achieves a pleasing balance and harmony by altering the size and boldness of the numerals. It is done so neatly that the trick is not immediately apparent. Through the display back, the balance and escapement are mysteriously detached from the movement, beating without apparent motive power. Journe has put the connecting train under the dial, leaving only the centre wheel to emphasise the isolation of the balance.
The manually wound, 21,600v/h movement in 18-carat gold baseplates and bridges shows why the simplest mechanisms are often the most attractive. Twin barrels, in the classic configuration of precision watches, work in parallel to deliver stable power for much of their 50-hour indicated reserve.
The 1998 F.P. Journe free-sprung chronometer balance with inertia adjustment on four opposing weights, is dynamically adjusted in six positions, with the emphasis on constancy of rate. F.P. Journe designs his watches from the dial down, paying for looks with mechanical ingenuity. Placing the power-reserve indicator in its least favourable position on the dial meant its mechanism had to co-exist with the winding apparatus.
The 13-ligne movement fits into a 40mm diameter case in platinum or red gold, water resistant to 3ATM. The Chronomètre Souverain demonstrates all the ingenuity and discipline of real horology, and in it, François-Paul Journe displays his skill in devising strikingly original features that draw attention, not to themselves, but to the beauty of the timepiece as a whole.
Dimensions of the Movement
Overall diameter: 30.40 mm
Casing-up diameter: 29.60 mm
Overall height: 3.75 mm
Height of winding system: 2.30 mm
Diameter of stem thread: S0.90 mm
Four inertia weights
Flat Anachron microflamed spring
Mobile stud holders
Nivatronic laser-welded to collet
Pinned GE stud
Frequency: 21,600 v / h, (3Hz)
Inertia: 10.10 mg /cm2
Angle of lift: 52°
Amplitude: 0h dial up : > 320°; 24h dial up : > 280°
Two mainspring barrels in parallel
Time adjustment via crown in position 2
Pallets escapement with 15 tooth escape wheel
Two position crown
Central hours and minutes
Sub-second at 7h30
Power reserve at 3h00
Partly circular grained baseplate, meulé soleil
Polished screw heads, chamfered slots
Pegs with polished rounded ends
Platinum or red gold
Diameter: 38 mm – 40.00 mm
Height: 8.60 mm
Silver dial with Hobnail pattern guilloché in the centre
Moiré finish in small-seconds subdial and power-reserve sector
Satined chapter ring