October 27, 2016
by Kenny Yeo
The F.P. Journe Centigraphe Souverain Anniversaire is a limited edition version of one of the most interesting watches François-Paul Journe has ever designed. It is also a commemorative piece made to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the brand’s boutiques around the world.
It’s not an overstatement to say that François-Paul Journe is one of the most successful and lauded independent watchmakers around. He started small, and over the years built up F.P. Journe to have 11 boutiques around the world. It is safe to say that much of his success can be attributed to his keen business acumen, but that would be forgetting the fact that he is a bona fide watchmaking genius. And to celebrate F.P. Journe’s successes, the brand has announced the F.P. Journe Centigraphe Souverain Anniversaire watch, and as a real fan of the brand (if you couldn’t tell), I’m very happy to see it and can’t wait for a chance to see it in person.
To understand the allure of this watch, you need to appreciate the genius of the F.P. Journe Centigraphe Souverain (hands-on here). The Centigraphe Souverain was first introduced in 2007 and it caused quite a bit of a stir because of its chronograph complication. The gist of it is this: the F.P. Journe Centigraphe Souverain claims to be able to measure up to 1/100th of a second (hence the name Centigraphe), but with the use of a pretty conventional 3Hz movement.
A 3Hz movement would technically mean that the watch can only measure up to 1/6th of a second. That’s because it makes 6 beats per second. So to measure to up to 1/100th a second would theoretically require a movement that operates at 100 beats per second, in other words, 360,000bph, or 50Hz.
So how does the F.P. Journe Centigraphe Sourverain accomplish this? The easiest way to understand this is to think of the running chronograph seconds hand as a quickly spinning foudroyante with a free gear. This allows it to be stopped at any point in its travel, which therefore allows it to give a very good approximation of the elapsed time to the nearest 1/100th of a second.
Alright, with that out of the way, what’s new about the tenth anniversary edition F.P. Journe Centigraphe Souverain Anniversaire? Well, the dial registers are still in the same position, which means the 1/100th second-register is at 11 o’clock, while the 20-seconds register and 10-minute registers are at 2 o’clock and 6 o’clock, respectively. It’s really about the unique mix of materials and subtle design flourishes that makes this watch special.
The F.P. Journe Centigraphe Souverain Anniversaire comes in a 40mm titanium case with an 18k red gold crown and 18k chronograph rocker. It has an attractive gray ruthenium dial decorated with 18k red gold accents. The hour and minutes hands, hour indexes, and minutes track are all rendered in red gold. The chronograph registers are also unique in that they have a sapphire disc, allowing owners to peek into the fantastic movement within. And completing the look is a burgundy alligator strap with an 18k gold clasp.
The movement is the Calibre 1506, and like most of F.P. Journe’s other movements, it is constructed entirely in 18k rose gold. It’s also finished to an extremely high degree, featuring beveled bridges, circular graining on the baseplate, polished screw heads with chamfered slots, and more. It’s a manually wound movement and provides 80 hours of power reserve if the chronograph isn’t running. When the chronograph activated, the watch can run for 24 hours.
The F.P. Journe Centigraphe Souverain Anniversaire is made to celebrate the 10th anniversaries of F.P. Journe’s Tokyo and Hong Kong boutiques, and so they will only be available at these two locations. The Hong Kong boutique will offer 20 pieces of the F.P. Journe Centigraphe Souverain Anniversaire, while the Tokyo boutique will have just 10 pieces.
But don’t worry, the F.P. Journe Centigraphe Souverain Anniversaire will be made available at subsequent boutiques that celebrate their tenth anniversaries. So in 2017, when it is the tenth anniversary of the Geneva and Boca Raton boutiques, they too will start offering the F.P. Journe Centigraphe Souverain Anniversaire, but in limited numbers, of course. Paris, Beijing, and New York will get theirs in 2018; Bal Harbour in 2019; Miami in 2022; Los Angeles in 2023; and finally, Beirut in 2024.
It’s an interesting way to roll out an anniversary watch, and ensures that F.P. Journe fans and collectors around the world will be able to look forward to getting their hands on one at some point. The F.P. Journe Centigraphe Souverain Anniversaire is priced at 62,600 CHF, which is roughly $63,328. fpjourne.com