As much as I love watches, I love the people who are occupied with our specialized hobby even more! So, you can imagine that I immediately began scheming about how to route my travels through New York when I opened my inbox one morning several weeks ago to find this message: “You are invited: invitation to the F.P. Journe Tourbillon Anniversary Event.”
When you hear the name François-Paul Journe spoken out loud, the vision of a men’s quartz watch is probably not what immediately springs to mind. Essentially, the Élégante 48mm is an upsized addition to F.P. Journe’s Élégante collection, which made its debut two years ago as a ladies’ watch. As far as high-end analog quartz watches go, this one is pretty darn neat. It’s also quite polarizing.
If you’ve never been to visit François-Paul Journe’s atelier in the heart of Geneva, now would be a very good time to visit it. Aside from the astounding watches you will likely encounter on display, there are a great number of other interesting objects a fan of good watchmaking shouldn’t miss. Including the nearly one thousand books, historical manuscripts, letters, and catalogs once belonging to the extensive horological library of departed historical expert Jean-Claude Sabrier.
One of the most incredible timepieces François-Paul Journe has ever created is the Sonnerie Souveraine. This chiming masterpiece took six years to develop and warranted ten patents. Joshua Munchow revisits the reasons why this masterpiece and its maker are legends in their own time, while Ian Skellern provides original photography and video of the stainless steel-encased grand sonnerie.
Only Watch, the biennial charity auction on behalf of Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy research, has firmly established itself as a landmark event on the watch scene. This year’s sixth renewal of the event, serving as the kickoff for the autumn Geneva watch auction week, saw Patek Philippe donating the landmark piece for the event, a blue-dialed, steel-cased Reference 5016A-010, which hammered for more than $7 million.
Following the Swatch Group’s takeover of Harry Winston, a continuation of the Opus series with an Opus 14 seemed in doubt to me, though at Baselworld 2015 Dr. Nayla Hayek, chair of the Swatch Group’s board of directors and CEO of Harry Winston, quietly let it be known that a Harry Winston Opus 14 is forthcoming. What better reason to take a look back at the history-making timepieces of the Opus series.
In 1995, Piaget was part of the Vendôme group that would later become Richemont. Piaget entered the highest end of the watch market by releasing a grande sonnerie wristwatch, which was developed by François-Paul Journe. At the time, Journe was a freelance movement designer and hadn’t officially founded F.P. Journe yet.
As part of my “enthusiast collector” role here at Quill & Pad I will be taking a look at watches that strike my fancy, and sharing the visual results with you along with a few observations on photography, the watches themselves, and the collectors who own them.
Let’s get started, shall we? Our subject for this episode: the F.P. Journe Tourbillon Souverain with remontoir d’égalité.