Where to begin with F.P. Journe. Started by the man himself in 1999, Journe had previously spent quite a few years restoring and producing movements and also made a couple of pocket watches during that time. It took quite a few years before his brand went from something only a hardcore collector could appreciate to being appreciated by a more mainstream audience and today, he is considered by many as one of the most successful and important independent brands to have emerged.
In my opinion, F.P. Journe has hit the sweet spot, producing around 900 pieces a year only. This ensures that they are exclusive enough that people consider any Journe a rare piece, but not so rare that it becomes esoteric. There are brands like Roger Smith and Philippe Dufour, both of who are considered godfathers of high horology, but they make so few pieces a year that the average watch collector would not know about them. Mention F.P. Journe though, and you’ll have collectors jumping with joy.
One of the pillars of F.P. Journe and certainly a flagship, the Tourbillon Souverain was the first watch released by the brand and has existed in the Journe portfolio since its inception in 1999. With the third generation of this model now in production, the Tourbillon Souverain has seen a multitude of iterations throughout the years, with different dial and case configurations. None though is as special as the example you see here today.
This is the F.P. Journe Tourbillon Souverain Regence Circulaire and it is a second generation model from the brand. Made in a series of only twenty examples in 2018, it features a beautiful, artisanal hand-engraved dial.
Inspired by the 18th century where watchmaking began flourishing, Francois-Paul Journe adopted this ‘Regence Circulaire’ motif for the dial, which was inspired by the geometrical patterns of the Regency Period. Produced by Genevan artisans, it begins with a raw white gold dial which is painstakingly hand engraved with specialized tools before being decorated and layered with textures. Each example is slightly different through its hand-made nature, making every piece unique.
The dial is a work of art, producing a fantastic reflective light show through its multi-textured surface and changing its look depending on the lighting conditions.
This F.P. Journe Tourbillon Souverain Regence Circulaire is powered by the FPJ Caliber 1403 which is crafted entirely in 18k rose gold and features, on top of a Tourbillon, a remontoir d’Egalite, and an independent dead beat seconds function, enhancing timekeeping accuracy and efficiency. The layout is a familiar one with the Tourbillon on the left, the time display on the right, and the dead beat seconds beneath, all cased in a 40mm 18k rose gold case.
While the Tourbillon Souverain in itself is already considered one of the flagships of F.P. Journe, this particular example takes it a notch further through its unique hand-made dial and overall rarity. This is certainly not a piece you will see around and this is a rare opportunity to acquire an extremely special F.P. Journe.