F.P. Journe - The Hong Kong Watch Auction: XIV Hong Kong Friday, May 27, 2022 | Phillips
  • Manufacturer: F.P. Journe
    Year: Circa 2010
    Case No: 566-TN
    Model Name: Tourbillon Souverain, “China 2010”
    Material: Platinum
    Calibre: Manual, cal. 1403, 26 jewels
    Bracelet/Strap: Crocodile
    Clasp/Buckle: Platinum F.P. Journe pin buckle
    Dimensions: 40mm diameter
    Signed: Case, dial, movement and buckle signed
    Accessories: Accompanied by F.P. Journe Certificate stamped Montres Journe Hong Kong Limited dated 28th July 2010, instruction manual, CD, outer packaging and fitted presentation box.

  • Catalogue Essay

    Entering the world of haute horology, only a handful of names occupy this prestigious list of acclaimed brands that are determined by collectors as the grails of such category, and the youngest firm to be recognized is none other than, François-Paul Journe. Epitomizing connoisseurship and exclusivity, Journe timepieces are exceedingly rare with an extremely low annual output of less than 1,000 pieces worldwide. With an emphasis in creating innovatively sound complications, functions, paired precisely and logically with its finishing and materials, Journe has successfully blended the perfect balance of art and mechanical engineering.

    Established in 1999, F.P. Journe has been awarded a total of 7 awards at the prestigious GPHG since his first award in 2002 complimenting his horological creations as the best in the category. In 2004, the F.P. Journe Tourbillon Souverain was awarded the Aiguille d’Or “Golden Hand” at the GPHG.

    To understand the history behind Journe’s tourbillon pieces and why it is perhaps different to ones manufactured by others, we have first to dive into the history of François-Paul Journe, the man himself. Starting his journey to watchmaking at the age of 14 at the Marseille Horological School, it was quickly evident that academics was not his forte. Journe went into apprenticeship under the guidance of his uncle Michel Journe, who owned a small antique clock restoration shop in Paris. Having enrolled yet again, this time to the Paris School of Watchmaking, Journe began working with his uncle full time after his graduation. While his uncle was not just any watch restorer but an antique clock restorer with only a handful of professionals at the time who could restore them, it was during this time there that François-Paul Journe was exposed to original timepieces by Janvier and Breguet, which has played a vital role in the inspiration behind Journe’s timepieces. However, with that said, it was not entirely the major factor that enabled François-Paul to create his own watches under his very own brand. The pivotal moment came through the great George Daniels, being the personal mentor for F.P. Journe.

    The very first of them all was the pocket watch, with no surprise, equipped with a tourbillon and spring detent escapement, it took Journe over 5 years to complete. At the time of the start, Journe was only 20 years of age. An impressive and freakish achievement, it is important to know that during the 1970s, watchmaking schools taught their student restoration of timepieces and not “watchmaking”. The fact that Journe was able to create entirely by hand and by himself with only the guidance of Daniels’ writings and his uncle’s assistance to guide him through. It was quickly evident that François-Paul Journe was not just an ordinary man, but a truly talented and passionate watchmaker who will be remembered as one of the greatest in our generation.

    In 1991, François-Paul Journe decided that if he was going to make a profession and a career out of watchmaking, the value would be to create wristwatches and not pocket watches. In the same year, Journe introduced the very first wristwatch that he created via the Tourbillon no. 1 equipped with a remontoir d'égalité, which became the inspiration behind the firm’s Tourbillon Souverain. Exhibited at the Baselworld 1991, the Tourbillon no. 1 would receive little to no interest with the only interest coming from IWC’s Günter Blümlein who has a vision to create 125 examples for the 125th anniversary of IWC. However, the plan was not executed, and Journe ended up wearing the watch on his wrist for many years to come, gaining interest from collectors over the years. In 1994, Journe had completed three tourbillon wristwatches that was inspired heavily by the Tourbillon no. 1, where two of them were sold to clients and one of which he kept for himself. In the same year, Journe parted way with THA, the movement manufacture company created by himself, Vianney Halter and Dennis Flageolet to start his own.

    In 1999, F.P. Journe would release his very first serially produced wristwatches which was the Tourbillon Souverain Souscription series of 20 pieces, each individually numbered on the dial. However, the series was not made available if it wasn’t for Journe’s decision to take on a souscription model which was first used by Breguet, where 50% of the payment of the watch was paid upfront in exchange for acquiring the very first of his production pieces. While its influence still pays its tribute to the Tourbillon no. 1 as reflected in its aesthetics and design, it no longer featured a solid caseback allowing the wearer to admire the in-house caliber, which was now made in brass instead of gold.

    After the success of the souscription series, the very first production pieces was the Tourbillon Souverain “first generation” which was produced from 1999 up until 2003. These examples featured a 38mm diameter case with most examples cased in platinum with rare examples in pink gold. Powered by the manual-wound cal. 1498, it offers 42 hours of power reserve through a single barrel. On the dial side, two apertures are present one for the tourbillon and the other for the remontoire d'égalité. Originally invented by John Harrison for his marine chronometers, the remontoire d'égalité is a constant force mechanism that ensures a balanced transmission of energy from the mainspring to the escapement.

    In 2004, the “first generation” Tourbillon Souverain was discontinued and made way for the “second generation” Tourbillon Souverain, this time with an additional deabeat seconds display (ref. TN) a.k.a (Tourbillon Nouveau) replacing the aperture found in examples from the “first generation”. While its aesthetics may look almost identical to its previous model, Journe mentioned that everything was re-designed for the ref. TN with only the tourbillon carriage from its old model retained. Early examples of the model featured a 38mm diameter case and later examples featuring a larger 40mm diameter case. The most significant upgrade was the fact that Journe went back to producing these movements in gold hence the new cal. 1403. Still in production today, the “TN” has never really changed much at all since its introduction in 2004, though what is notable is that the array of interesting and rare dials increased after Journe acquired its own dial maker. This would be a pivotal moment for the firm as the options for dial creations were practically unlimited.

    This brings us to some special Tourbillon Souverain “second generation” examples that have been created in the past. While some collectors may have witnessed the use of mother-of-pearl dials, hardstone dials including jade and rubellite, brightly coloured lacquered dials also appeared such as the Ferrari red inspired by the former GM of Scuderia Ferrari, Jean Todt made for the Institut du Cerveau et de la Moelle épinière of which Jean Todt is vice president. However, the red lacquered dials witnessed in the examples made for the Institut du Cerveau et de la Moelle épinière was not the first.

    In 2010, F.P. Journe celebrated the opening of their boutique in Beijing being the 6th worldwide following after Tokyo, Hong Kong, Geneva, Paris and New York. The opening of the Journe Boutique in Beijing was an important moment for the firm as they expand their expertise and exceptional craft to the largest up and coming community of collectors from the specific region. With a prime location located in the Yintaï Centre, it is only a 2-minute walk away from Tienanmen square. To commemorate this special event, F.P. Journe created an exclusive and extremely rare, limited edition series of Tourbillon Souverain (TN) timepieces featuring a vibrantly coloured red lacquered dial displaying the 5 stars as seen on the national flag of the People’s Republic of China representing the 5 regions of the PRC replacing the hour units for the power reserve indication as seen in regular examples of the model. This was the first ever Tourbillon Souverain to feature a red dial. With the brand’s involvement in China, the trend has changed where more and more collectors from the region are starting to admire the intricacy and the difference between haute horology versus mass-produced luxury watches, which proved Journe’s shared vision with George Daniels to focus on creating non-utilitarian watches on point.

    Chosen as the official horological patron for the diplomatic relations between France and China for over 50 years, F.P. Journe created a limited edition series in 2014 of the Octa Lune model to commemorate the monumental anniversary, further solidifying Journe’s status as the best in the industry not only in the western part of the world but also the up and coming region of Asia, more specifically China.

    The present example F.P. Journe Tourbillon Souverain “Chine 2010” limited edition in platinum is one out of the five examples created. Exceedingly rare and important due to its bold design and important commemoration of one of their most important markets, the present specimen is furthermore well-preserved and complete with its full set of accessories is a rare opportunity for collectors and lovers of F.P. Journe to acquire an example that no one knows when another will resurface again as these pieces were offered to the utmost loyal collectors based in the specific region. To our knowledge, only 1 other example of the 5 examples made is known in private hands. The remaining 3 examples in private hands are unknown. To this day only two limited edition F. P Journe timepieces were specifically made for the Chinese market. A testament to the importance of the Chinese market, a piece of horological art and the most iconic Journe complicated wristwatch, the present example ticks all the boxes. PHILLIPS is extremely humbled and excited to be entrusted by the owner of the present timepiece to offer this rare and exciting wristwatch at our Hong Kong Watch Auction: XIV.

  • 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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An extremely rare, highly impressive and commemorative platinum wristwatch with tourbillon regulator, deadbeat seconds, remontoir d'égalité, power reserve indication, Certificate and presentation box, one of a limited edition of 5 pieces made to commemorate the opening of F.P. Journe Boutique in Beijing

Circa 2010
40mm diameter
Case, dial, movement and buckle signed

HK$3,900,000 - 7,800,000 

Sold for HK$8,720,000

Contact Specialist

Thomas Perazzi
Head of Watches, Asia 
+852 2318 2001

The Hong Kong Watch Auction: XIV

Hong Kong Auction 27 - 28 May 2022