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Some have said that in comparison to many of the brand’s more bold dial designs (the Centigraphe comes to mind) the Anniversary Tourbillon is perhaps too simple. I don’t really understand these types of complaints. It is as if each watch lovers feels that every new timepiece should appeal to them. I often hear comments about new watches such as “I am sorry, but I just don’t like it.” Why are they sorry? Unless the timepiece was made strictly to appeal to their tastes, there is no reason to feel sorry for not liking something. In fact, the Anniversary Tourbillon has the dial it does because it is a re-creation of Journe’s first creation – that much is obvious. Further, the design clearly appeals to him. He doesn’t expect everyone who likes his brand to enjoy each new watch he makes. Besides, brands like this one are about a singular watchmaker producing items for him (or her) self, and if people agree with their taste all the better.

F.P. Journe is rather protective and particular about his designs. He feels that the industry is rife with copycats and not a lot of creativity or originality. That really isn’t a surprise if you think about it. It is an industry which is based on not only emulating the past, but also being conservative. Even people in the industry itself sometimes say that the last new good idea in the watch industry happened 100 years ago. Personally, I would not agree, but it is a industry built around tradition. Nevertheless Journe is still independent for a reason, and understandably gets frustrated when he sees what he feels are his ideas being “borrowed” by other brands. He isn’t beyond taking legal action either. The dial of the Anniversary Tourbillon reminds me of a lawsuit he filed (and ultimately did not prevail) against Jaquet Droz some years ago.

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What you’ve got to love about F.P. Journe is the character and fire behind the watchmaker. Most people think of watchmakers as quiet, studious types that are the most excited when working under a microscope. People like Francois-Paul aren’t like that at all. He is grateful for the people who helped him in his career (he openly thanks Jean-Claude Biver), and is quick to point to other watchmakers whose work he genuinely enjoys. One thing that he likes to lament, which probably says something good about him, is when brands produce watches with complications for no reason.

You see, a lot of watches today are based around design, emotion, and trying to capture the spirit of something. Few however, make very fluid utilitarian sense. F.P. Journe watches are more about producing fine instruments than anything else. There is a sweet sense of minimalism in his design ethos. In fact, he stated that when designing new movements, the most laborious and painful task is the art of removing, rather than adding components. Then again, Journe is the first to admit that technologically speaking, mechanical watches aren’t state of the art technology that needs obsessing over. Yet he personally does, and in his quixotic pursuit of horlogical perfection he creates items of incredible enjoyment. Each has a story, and just seeing one F.P. Journe piece out in the wild isn’t even close to seeing a large portion of the collection together.

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The case back on the Anniversary Tourbillon’s 40mm wide case pops open neatly to reveal the in-house designed and made (“invenit et fecit”) caliber 1412 manually wound tourbillon movement. Again, it is a visual recreation of the movement inside of his original pocket watch. Much of the movement is made from brass and the screws are large and mostly blued. It has a power reserve of about 56 hours and operates at 21,600 bph. If the movement and overall watch seems to be inspired by Breguet’s original work, well than that is because they are. F.P Journe will produce a total of just 99 pieces in the Anniversary Tourbillon watch collection, with a price of $99,000. fpjourne.com

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