In the lucrative world of horology it is essential for a watchmaker to have a great cover story. I have discovered that buyers are as interested in the history of the brand as their timepieces. As a watch writer I feel these biographies add substance to an editorial. There are so many different characters in the watch industry, which makes it a very exciting place. Some of these personalities are flamboyant and some more understated. I would certainly place François-Paul Journe in the latter category.
In 1976 François-Paul Journe graduated from the highly prestigious Ecole d’horlogerie in Paris. Subsequently this led to apprenticeship with his Uncle Michael and the development of his first chronometer with a tourbillon. Impressively he constructed every part by hand including the gold and silver case. For the next twenty years he created many complications and received numerous awards. In 1999 he unveiled his first collection of watches (under the name F.P. Journe) at the world watch fair in Basel. Presently he is widely acknowledged by his numerous contemporaries as a watchmaker of distinction.
A few weeks ago I wrote an article for Luxurious Magazine featuring the brands phenomenal Vagabondage II. This watch is beautifully crafted and has a very modern aesthetic. In contrast, the Anniversary Tourbillon is a more delicate affair and has a classical silhouette. It also (by today’s standards) has a small case size, which measures 40mm x 10mm. These delicate proportions should appeal to collectors with more traditional tastes. The dimensions are very similar to the Breguet Tradition (reviewed January 2013) so I would imagine it would feel very comfortable and lightweight on the wrist. For that reason this watch would be a viable option to wear for most occasions.
Visually the watch is a modern day interpretation of his first tourbillon pocket watch François-Paul Journe completed in 1983. Time is displayed by off centre hours (12 o, clock) and small seconds (6 o’ clock). I love the grained silver dial with bold Roman numerals and blued steel Abraham-Louis Breguet hands. Other stylish features include a wonderful engraved crown and a double case back. This entire elegance is encapsulated in luxurious two-tone 18-karat gold and silver guilloche. Overall the composition is refined and the finishing is absolutely first class.
Beneath the magnificent exterior lies a highly complicated manual winding movement. The Calibre 1412 comprises 19 jewels and oscillates at a frequency of 21,600 vibrations per hour. Each of the mechanisms 178 components has been hand finished and decorated to the highest level. By lifting the 18-Karat outer case (back) the fortunate recipient can view all this intricate engineering. Functionally the Anniversary Tourbillon features hours, minutes and small seconds. The watch also has a respectable power reserve of 56 hours.
The Anniversary Tourbillon is equipped with a high quality leather strap and is limited to only 99 pieces. Priced for the discerning collector at: $99,000.