Regarded as one of the hottest horological prospects in the world right now, it is immensely impressive that F.P. Journe has only been around for the length of time that it has. Founded in 1999, F.P. Journe burst onto the watchmaking scene with a 20 piece limited run of Tourbillon Souverain Souscription watches that cash-strapped Francois Paul used to finance his brand, just like Abraham Louis Breguet did over 200 years ago. 20 odd years later, however, the F.P. Journe brand has become a horological powerhouse with waiting lists growing ever-longer and auction results growing ever more impressive.
Here, I have a highly desirable F.P Journe Chronomètre Souverain ‘Havana’ Edition, named as such because of the brown dial it is fitted with. The Chronometre Souverain is the time-only manual winding watch from F.P. Journe and it has been produced in many variants, with different case and dial combinations. It can be said, that without a doubt, the Havana model is one of the most attractive variants and as such, one of the most in-demand.
While you may think it is just another brown dial, it should be known by now that F.P. Journe doesn’t do anything the easy way. This Havana dial is made by mixing ruthenium with gold in order to achieve the rich and reflective brown tone of this watch and by doing it this way, the Havana dial achieves a huge amount of depth. This combined with a hobnail, Cloys de Paris pattern in its center, and you get a wonderfully rich brown dial that can be dark in its tone to a light milk chocolate-like color, depending on the lighting conditions.
Aside from the dial, on display through the sapphire crystal caseback is the impressive in-house cal. 1304. Made entirely of 18k rose gold, the cal. 1304 has two mainspring barrels that work in parallel to power the movement over the course of its 56-hour power reserve. Gorgeously constructed and in plain sight thanks to it being manually wound, the cal. 1304 presents the same visual delight from the rear of the Souverain as the dial does from the front.
While the F.P. Journe Chronometre Souverain Havana is still in production, there is a long waitlist for it and it is seemingly growing as time goes by. For those after a pure, no-nonsense time-only dress watch, the Chronometre Souverain Havana is an excellent choice, being restrained and elegant in its design but with just enough kick to keep you interested.