F.P. Journe - The Geneva Watch Auction: XIV Geneva Friday, November 5, 2021 | Phillips
  • Manufacturer: F.P. Journe
    Year: 1999
    Case No: 001/99T
    Model Name: Tourbillon Souverain à Remontoir d'Egalité "Souscription"
    Material: Platinum
    Calibre: Manual, cal. 1498, 25 jewels
    Bracelet/Strap: Leather
    Clasp/Buckle: Platinum F.P. Journe pin buckle
    Dimensions: 38mm Diameter
    Signed: Case, dial, movement and buckle signed
    Accessories: Accompanied by F.P. Journe Certificate of Authenticity confirming this watch is part of the first 20 pieces ordered in subscription, travel pouch.
    Literature: F.P. Journe Invenit et Fecit by Jean-Pierre Grosz is dedicated to Francois-Paul Journe and his oeuvre.

  • Catalogue Essay

    Journe likes to joke that he might have been a butcher if his cousin were not the head of the watchmaking school of Marseilles. The truth is, after having been expelled from school, his parents placed him in the watchmaking program headed by his cousin. As a result of his aptitudes, Journe continued his studies in Paris joining his uncle’s restoration workshop following his graduation, where he got the opportunity to restore some of the most important timepieces in horological history. In 1985 he set up his own workshop creating bespoke pocket watches for top collectors and developing movements for large brands.

    Fascinated by tourbillon watches- Journe’s first pocketwatch was a tourbillon - he decided to transpose Abraham-Louis Breguet’s invention into a wristwatch but also to improve it via the addition of a remontoir system - a constant force device used to provide an equal amount of energy disregarding the winding level of the mainspring, thus resulting in greater accuracy and amplitude. This was the very first time this system, invented by John Harrison for the H2 marine chronometer, was ever used in a wristwatch.

    The first prototype was made in 1991 (he subsequently made two more) but it wasn’t until the mid-1990s that Journe decided to set out to create his eponymous brand. He left Paris for Geneva where he believed it would be easier to produce a series of watches and opened his first atelier on the Rue des Maraichers.

    Journe also faced a new problem: how to finance the launch of his brand and the creation of his first model. A friend suggested that he use the subscription system already used by the great Abraham-Louis Breguet whereby a few trusting clients would make a down payment for a watch that had not been made in exchange for a discount on the retail price. This would allow Journe to finance his workshops, tools and components.

    Journe thus made his first 20 “Souscription” (subscription in French) tourbillons delivered in 1999, each featuring its individual number on the dial.

    The present tourbillon is most probably one of Journe’s most important series produced watches in terms of historical relevance as it bears number 1/20. It is fresh to the market and comes from the original owner who had the rare vision and audacity to support a young watchmaker who would become one of the biggest names in the market 20 years later.

    This is the very first of his “Souscription” pieces that was ordered and the very first F.P. Journe wristwatch made in series (albeit only 20 pieces were made). It is the equivalent of Basquiat’s Cadillac Moon, a first and a milestone in what both artists would become.

    To own one of Journe’s subscription tourbillons equals to owning a piece of horological history, but to own the first one (1/20) is a grail that only one single collector will be able to call his or her own.

  • Artist Biography

    F.P. Journe

    Swiss • 1999

    Founded by watchmaker François-Paul Journe in 1999, the F.P. Journe brand is relatively young, but already is as highly regarded by collectors as many distinguished manufacturers with centuries-old heritage. In the minds of the world's savviest collectors, Journe is producing some of the finest wristwatches the market has ever seen. Mastering his craft from restoring historical timepieces, he was the first to create a wristwatch incorporating two escapements that benefit from the phenomenon of resonance — the Chronomètre à Résonance.

    Key models include the Résonance, tourbillon wristwatches incorporating a remontoir and the limited edition Vagabondage series. Especially sought-after are his earliest "souscription" watches, made in 1999.

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A historically important and extremely rare platinum tourbillon wristwatch with remontoir d’égalité, number 1 of a 20 pieces subscription series

38mm Diameter
Case, dial, movement and buckle signed

CHF300,000 - 600,000 

Sold for CHF3,539,000

Contact Specialist

Alexandre Ghotbi
Head of Watches, Continental Europe and the Middle East Director

The Geneva Watch Auction: XIV

Geneva Auction 5 & 7 November 2021