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Sunday, November 24, 2013

Old is New Again as F.P. Journe Recreates Groundbreaking Tourbillon Watch

F.P. Journe Historical Anniversary Tourbillon.

François-Paul Journe was in Manhattan recently as part of a world tour celebrating his 30 years as the founder and head watchmaker of F.P. Journe. He also was in the city to introduce the Historical Anniversary Tourbillon, a recreation of the watch that began his career as an independent watchmaker.

The tourbillon movement

Journe was barely in his 20s when he set about making a complex watch entirely by hand. It took him five years to create the tourbillon pocket watch, which launched F.P. Journe. Thirty years later the independent watch company based in Geneva, Switzerland, is now an international brand with nine boutiques around the world, including Manhattan, where Journe made his appearance.

The original pocket watch created by François-Paul Journe 30 years ago.

The anniversary wristwatch, limited to 99 pieces, is a reinterpretation of the original pocket watch, using some of the same materials, such as a guilloche silver case enhanced by two gold bezels in rose gold 4N.


The transparent sapphire back reveals the tourbillon movement of classic construction made in grained and gilded brass, identical to the original of 1983. Two parallel barrels distribute energy to a wheels train, arranged in the axis of the watch, which runs the tourbillon revolving in a minute. The lateral pallet escapement, which is more compatible with a wristwatch, replaces the detent escapement of the original, and the winding and time setting with a key have now been replaced by the 3 o’clock crown.

Made today in the company’s Geneva workshops, the movement features high quality components with modern polishing, beveling and finishing techniques that weren’t available 30 years ago. It encompasses a sobriety and a nobility of first generation tourbillon movements.

The movement is protected by a silver guilloche case back cover. The dial in grained silver is engraved with filled roman numerals and a steel hour circle, identical to the original tourbillon of 1983. The hours are indicated by blued steel Abraham-Louis Breguet hands, identical to those of the original pocket watch.

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