François-Paul Journe has an affinity with the tourbillon. As a young watchmaker working at his uncle’s restoration workshop, he had been fascinated by the mechanism and wanted to have a tourbillon watch for himself. That is until he found out how much they cost. While most would have given up at this point, Journe thought to himself that if he couldn’t afford to buy one, then the next best thing he could do was to build one himself. And so he spent the next five or so years building a tourbillon pocket watch. And when he eventually started F.P. Journe, his first production watch was a tourbillon, the now revered Tourbillon Souverain. This has become a mainstay of F.P. Journe and to celebrate it, Journe has a new version called the Tourbillon Souverain Régence Circulaire, and boy is it a beauty.
Apart from the tourbillon, Journe is also fascinated with the 18th century because he fondly regards that period of time as the golden era of watchmaking. To pay tribute to that period, the latest Tourbillon Souverain features what the brand calls a Régence Circulaire dial, which features a hand-engraved dial with motifs inspired by the 18th century. The end effect, as you can see from the press photos here, looks absolutely stunning.
The dial is made out of white gold and each dial is sent to a highly skilled artist in Geneva for engraving. The Régence Circulaire motif is first drawn on the raw white gold dial and thereafter the artist starts incising the pattern into the metal and uses various burins to complete the engraving. In all, it takes each artist about two days to finish a single dial.
The dial configuration is classic Tourbillon Souverain. In a clockwise direction, at 12 o’clock there is a power reserve indicator and at 3 o’clock you have the sub-dial for the time. At 6 o’clock, you have another sub-dial for the running seconds, or in this case dead beat seconds, since the seconds hand ticks like a quartz watch. And finally, at 9 o’clock there is the tourbillon. The Tourbillon Souverain Régence Circulaire watch comes in an 18k red gold case and like the regular Tourbillon Souverain watches, the case measures 40mm wide and 9.9mm thick. Each watch comes with a matching red alligator strap.
The hand-wound movement is visible through a sapphire caseback and it is just as gorgeous as the dial. Like most modern F.P. Journe pieces, the Tourbillon Souverain Régence Circulaire’s movement is made out of red gold. And apart from the tourbillon, it has another interesting mechanism called the Remontoire or constant force mechanism, which ensures constant power delivery to the escapement. It is this remontoire that allows Journe to put a dead beat seconds complication into the watch. Obviously, the movement is highly decorated with circular stripes on the bridges, Côtes de Genève on the base plate, polished and beveled screw heads, and more. Power reserve is 42 hours.
The Tourbillon Souverain is easily one of Journe’s signature watches and this special version of it with an intricately hand-engraved dial only makes it more appealing and desirable. The F.P. Journe Tourbillon Souverain Régence Circulaire watch is priced at 171,000 CHF and is a limited edition of just 20 pieces. fpjourne.com