Even though he has created many very complicated watches, French watchmaker Francois-Paul Journe has always been interested in accuracy above all. His newest timepiece, the Chronomètre Optimum, which made its debut last week at the F.P. Journe boutique in New York City, takes the quest for timekeeping precision to a new level.
The Chronomètre Optimum, which Journe calls the “masterpiece” of his eponymous brand’s Souveraine collection, incorporates in its manufacture movement all of the technologies that Journe has developed — which have previously debuted in other Souveraine watches — to ensure ideal timekeeping precision and stability.
The new watch includes a double barrel with two springs, in a parallel arrangement that helps to reduce friction by eliminating the lateral pressure on the wheel. It also incorporates Journe’s patented, constant-force remontoire device, here made of titanium for the first time, which balances the driving force applied to the escapement by means of an extra gear that is wound in short spurts by the mainspring. Another patented invention, Journe’s EBHP high-performance bi-axial escapement, uses two wheels and functions without lubricant in order to reduce friction. Journe says he has based this invention on direct-impulse escapements created in the 18th century. The balance spring uses a Phillips curve, which is meant to ensure better equilibrium. Finally, Journe has incorporated the “natural” dead-beat seconds function that made its debut in the brand’s Tourbillon Souveraine watch, which debuted in 2004. Here, it is incorporated into the back of the movement, in a seconds circle screwed onto the bridges. (Click on photos for larger images.)
The watch is available in two sizes — either 40 mm or 42 mm in diameter — in either rose-gold case with rose-gold dial or platinum case with white gold dial. The movement, Caliber 1510, is manual-wound and, as in other Journe timepieces, made of 18k rose gold.
The dial of the Chronomètre Optimum features an off-center hours and minutes display, a small-seconds subdial at 9 o’clock, and a hand-type power reserve indicator at 6 o’clock. The movement holds a power reserve of 70 hours.
Prices are $90,800 for the platinum model in 40-mm case; $92,400 for platinum in 42-mm case; $86,400 for rose-gold in 40-mm case; and $88,800 for rose gold in 42-mm case. Journe says that the Chronomètre Optimum will not be restricted to a set number of pieces, but production is, of course, limited to the number of pieces that his small, boutique company can make per year in its Geneva workshop. Journe takes great pride in the watch, which represents a pinnacle in his quest for ultimate timekeeping precision. “My watchmaking philosophy,” he says, “is to make watches that will still work in 200 years.”
Click below for F.P. Journe’s official video of the Chronomètre Optimum.
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