Typically, the watch trade, collectors and even we are likely to rejoice high-end watchmaking by way of problems. There’s one thing fascinating concerning the thought of mixing a number of capabilities in a restricted area, ensuring that the motion runs completely regardless of its complexity. However to me, and to an increasing number of fans, there’s one other thought which may surpass all the pieces else, and that’s to make the right time-only watch: an over-engineered watch that solely shows the time. This can be a matter we mentioned with one in all our recurring collectors right here, and watchmaker François-Paul Journe has made this subject his speciality. And as an instance 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 will 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 problems is actually not simple, however taking the thought of the time-only watch and redefining its idea to make it much more succesful – that means extra exact or much less delicate to exterior parts – takes us again to the very coronary heart and essence of watchmaking. And, in a means, 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 remember one fashion of watches by Journe, it could 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 right this moment. 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 title, the Optimum may effectively be the crowning achievement of F.P. Journe on this subject.
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 number of the biggest names in watchmaking historical past, comparable to Berthoud, Breguet or Janvier. They actually had an amazing 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 could be very correct as a result of its fee shouldn’t be affected when the watch is worn.” For the Tourbillon Souverain, he explains that “the traditional tourbillon shouldn’t be typically an excellent watch, however mixed with a relentless drive remontoire, its stability is assured“, which could 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 results 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 complete course of his profession, and combines a number of current options that have 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 completely dedicated to the high-quality artwork of chronometry.
At first, you could possibly regard this Chronomètre Optimum as an evolution of the Chronomètre Souverain. The “plus” model of this watch, in a means. But when this isn’t completely mistaken, it could be by some means 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 grasp what makes it such an overbuilt timepiece.
Trying on the 18k gold plate and bridges, a signature aspect 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 soundness of the driving drive. As a result of the barrels are mounted in parallel (and never in collection), they’re the primary hyperlink within the chain to ship secure torque to the gear prepare and escapement. The parallel configuration isn’t there to extend the size of the ability reserve (that may be the target of barrels mounted in collection) however to smoothen the supply of vitality. As such, and if not the one “trick” used on this motion to create fixed drive, it’s already step one to enhancing the chronometry over the entire vary of the ability reserve.
The second step within the kinetic chain is the constant-force remontoire, which is there to steadiness the driving drive delivered by the barrels after which utilized to the escapement, to make it fixed. This method, which was already a central aspect 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 thought of the remontoire d’égalité is so as to add an additional gear within the gear prepare to cancel the impact of the lowering torque on the escapement. That is an unbiased system that’s wound in brief 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 aspect of the F.P. Journe Chronomètre Optimum, which is its very particular and patented escapement. Referred to as the EBHP or Excessive-Efficiency Bi-Axial Escapement, this machine, in all probability essentially the most noticeable aspect of the watch, was designed alongside the remainder of the motion again in 2001. Nevertheless, 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 drive on the escapement to make sure isochronism and an escapement with out lubrication to make sure stability.” The 2 barrels in parallel, which eradicate the lateral strain to which the good wheel is subjected, exert a extra secure drive on the wheel prepare, whereas the remontoire improves isochronism, ensuring that the watch will get fixed amplitude for the primary 45 hours of energy reserve.
The complicated structure of the Chronomètre Optimum, with from left to proper the Excessive-Efficiency Bi-Axial Escapement with two escape wheels and the fixed drive remontoire topped by a pure useless beat second (working counterclockwise).
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 capabilities with out oil and is the one direct impulse escapement to start out up by itself. Which means that the escapement wheels provide impulses on to the axis of the steadiness. The Excessive-Efficiency Bi-axial escapement options an arbour and wheels product of titanium and is able to delivering fixed amplitude for the primary 50 hours of the ability 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 concerning the (fascinating) motion. The F.P. Journe Chronomètre Optimum is, in spite of everything, a watch… and a reasonably gorgeous one, to be trustworthy. The watch is designed in typical Journe trend, 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, sturdy lugs, a flat crown with a rope-like sample, a caseback with deep engravings…
Accessible both in 18k pink gold or in 950 platinum as introduced right here, it may be ordered in two sizes, that 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 accessible. The color of the dial relies on the fabric chosen and is essentially matching, that means gold-coloured when ordering a pink 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 aspect and visual screws. The palms and the numerals are additionally typical FPJ. This dial, along with the hours and minutes, includes a small seconds subdial and two parts that echo one another; the ability reserve indicator within the decrease half and an aperture exhibiting the remontoire in motion within the higher half.
A number of notes regarding the specs and a few notable factors of this Chronomètre Optimum. The motion is completed with nice care, as typical 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 working at a 3Hz frequency and may retailer as much as 70 hours of energy reserve. However, as defined above, the optimum vary of operation issues the primary 45 hours of the ability reserve, as indicated by the gauge on the dial, which reminds you that after 40 hours, and even when the watch remains to be working, it’s preferable to wind the motion to profit from its greatest 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 powerful worth for a “time-only” watch… however, as you’ve seen on this article, the Chronomètre Optimum is much from being only a time-only watch. It’s the very best time-only watch of the model. And one which greatest pays tribute to the very essence of watchmaking!
Extra particulars at www.fpjourne.com.