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In the world of watch making, specifically high complications the grande sonnerie lives on its own pedestal. Both the grande sonnerie and petite sonnerie hold an elevated place, far above even split-second chronographs, perpetual calendars and above even the once considered untouchable tourbillion. While the first complications emerged in the 1940s the first grand sonnerie wasn’t born until1992 at the capable hands of no one other than Philippe Dufour. Only recently did Patek Philippe unveil their first grande sonnerie timepiece. In the world of watchmaking it is a very small fraternity who is capable of producing such a piece. They are in fact that special, and François-Paul Journe unveiled his Sonnerie Souveraine in 2006, on his own.

Defined a sonnerie is a watch which features an active striking mechanism that chimes the quarters and hours without activation from the user. A grande sonnerie strikes the hours and the quarters each quarter. For example, at 2:15, with a grande sonnerie, the watch would create two chimes (dongs) for the hours, and then one strike (ding dong) for the first quarter. At 2:30, the watch would emit two chimes for the hours, followed by two strikes for the two quarters. A petite sonnerie watch would strike only the quarters, at 2:14 you would hear just one chime for the first quarter. In comparison, a minute repeater, strikes the hours, quarters, and minutes, but it is activated by the wearer.

The trick behind the grand sonnerie is the power consumption, whereby a minute repeater is not faced with this issue making it an easier to construct. In a repeater, the chime mechanism is recharged by a slide prior to sounding. On the other hand, a sonnerie, siphons away power from the timekeeping mechanism throughout the day. The Sonnerie Souveraine by F.P. Journe is a grande and petite sonnerie as well as a minute repeater.

Take into account that F.P. Journe’s first wristwatch, wasn’t a simple watch, it was a tourbillion – the very first wrist-bound tourbillion with remontour d’egalite, ever. This watch was revealed in 1999, and just one year later, Mr Jorne would begin work on his sonnerie. It took six years before the Sonnerie Souveraine would be revealed to the public. Keep in mind F.P. Journe watches are developed by one man, François-Paul Journe. This project took six years to develop, however it should also be taken into consideration Journe released a number of other pieces during this time.

 

You might expect the Sonnerie Souveraine to be highly complicated to wear by the user but this is perhaps its most impressive characteristic, it is in fact, extraordinarily straight forward. Technically speaking however, the watch itself is highly complicated, requiring six years of development and during the creation of the watch F.P. Journe received ten patents for the new design required for its construction. During this build process the Sonnerie Souveraine was actually the first timepiece to be made in its entirety within the Journe downtown Geneva manufacture.

The idea however behind this watch isn’t to be a halo piece that lives inside a safe, rather it was designed to be a functional real world wristwatch. Even the case was designed with functionality in mind, made with steel construction, which as it turns out has the best resonance traits. The Sonnerie Souveraine is however sensationally complicated to produce and takes a single watchmaker over three months to assemble all 582 pieces. Despite the complexity in building the watch, the use couldn’t be more straightforward. The button at two o-clock activates the minute repeater. The button residing at four o’clock alters the watch from grande to petite mode, or switches the watch into silent mode. The time is read on the right hand side of the face while a power reserve dial can been seen at 11:30. That is all there is to it.

After taking the first prize in the 2006 Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève, it received ten patents during its development and only four are built per year and it is the prized watch of one of todays greatest watchmakers, few would argue over the watches value.

Upon purchase the Sonnerie Souveraine is not labeled with a series number, but the owner’s name on the case and the movement. According to Journe this gives the watch its own soul and own identity. To ensure your watch may be serviced for years to come each timepieces comes delivered with extra internal components.

 

 

ORIGINAL ARTICLE ON www.hodinkee.com

 

Join Hodinkee as they delve inside the F.P. Journe Factory to learn more about the making of their grande sonnerie. The first ever grande sonnerie & petite sonnerie complication watches were created in 1992 by, none other than, Philippe Dufour. The complication is so special that François-Paul Journe launched his Sonnerie Souveraine timepiece in 2006, by himself.

Take this into account as you watch the making of F.P. Journe’s most impressive complication – The F.P. Journe Grande et Petite Sonnerie.

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Sometimes, less is more. That  seems to be the current trend in the higher echelons of horology.

Despite the world being enthralled by technological advances, the finest watchmakers stick to relatively simple designs. They believe that their costumers are not looking to be flashy. The US President of Patek Philippe, Larry Pettinelli, says “Our customers aren’t usually trying to show the world that they’ve made it, most people don’t recognize our watches from 10 feet away unless they’re collectors.”

Here are some examples of Patek Philippe’s latest timepieces:

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These pieces are beautiful and amazingly built– everything you have come to expect from Patek. They are not over the top  and people enjoy that. Even complicated-watch fans are starting to acknowledge the absurdity of certain gizmos.

It seems that simple is the new way to go.

 

Celebrating the 10 Years Anniversary Tourbillon, F.P. Journe presents an exclusive series that is limited to only 10 pieces. Such a combination of numbers could not go unnoticed, combining the 10th Anniversary of the first F.P. Journe Boutique in Tokyo, jointly with the inauguration of the 10th Boutique in Beirut.

In 2003, the first F.P. Journe Boutique of Tokyo opened. It is located in Omotesando, the St Germain des Prés of Tokyo, and is settled in one of the most beautiful architectural realisation of spirituality by Tadao Ando. The boutique has become a place of reference for the admirer of contemporary chronometry, as well as all other F.P. Journe Boutiques around the world.

François-Paul Journe proposed a unique solution for the delegation of these 10 exclusive timepieces: ‘Our ten Boutiques have each proposed us candidates among our faithful collectors. Their name will be randomly selected by draw during our annual fair in January 2014.’

Celebrating the 10th Anniversary of the First F.P. Journe Boutique, the Anniversary Tourbillon in Platinum presents an identical movement to the original Tourbillon of 1983, but is manufactured with 18kt rose gold which is visible through the sapphire display back. The dial is in grained in silver with a blackened hour display that is even rarer than the dial of the Black Label edition reserved for the Boutique. It is maintained by a screwed steel polished circle. The hours are indicated by the classic Breguet hands.

The platinum case measures 40mm x 9.5mm and has double sapphire crystals.

The movement is the Swiss manual-wind F.P. Journe in-house caliber 1412 with 19 jewels, 21,600 v/h and a power reserve of 56 hours. It has a grained base plate of 18kt rose gold with grained bridges of 18kt rose gold.

The escapement has 15 teeth, a 90° anchor fork and a balance that comes with 4 inertia weights. Some of the features include: a flat Anachron balance spring with Breguet overcoil, fixed stud holder that is free-sprung with a spring pinned to collet, a pinned GE stud, and 2 parallel barrels. The screw heads are polished and beveled with chamfered slots, blued screws, and pegs with polished and rounded ends.

The dial is grained in silver with the hours displayed in blackened engraved silver that is fixed by a steel polished circle (patented system) with white steel Breguet hands.

deBoulle Collection Oval Peridots Diamond Bangle Bracelet 18K Yellow Gold (37563)

 

F.P.Journe combines a rich knowledge of the history of time with the example set by the great masters and modern technologies, in an ongoing quest for precision, innovation and excellence. The watches they produce are truly timeless and represent the pinnacle of watchmaking technology.


The Chronomètre Optimum encompasses the finest components in the history of watch making. All of them will be reunited for the first time in a single magnificent timepiece. The extraordinary technical expertise that has gone into this watch makes its principal quality to give time … with almost as close to absolute precision as one could ask.

– The double barrel has two springs in order to ensure stability of the driving force of this emblematic movement. It is made with 18ct rose Gold, a specificity of the brand.

– The constant-force remontoire (patent EP1528443.A1) balances the driving force applied to the escapement to make it constant. By adding an extra gear representing an independent system wound in short spurts by the mainspring, the escapement ensures the balance’s isochronism. This remontoire, made of titanium for the first time, maintains its balance in different positions, for greater efficiency.

– The EBHP High-Performance Bi-axial Escapement has also been patented (patent EP11405210.3). This two-wheel direct impulse escapement functions without oil and is the only direct impulse escapement to start up on its own. But not only does it function without lubricant, it also has far greater output than the majority of escapements: 50 hours without loss of amplitude.

– The balance with a spiral with Phillips curve guarantees better stability.

– The back of the 18ct rose Gold movement reveals, a surprising natural dead beat second defined by a seconds circle screwed onto the movement’s bridges.


The Chronomètre Optimum comes with a 40 or 42 mm Platinum or 18ct red Gold case, with a white or red Gold dial, on leather strap, Platinum or 18ct red Gold bracelet. Exceptional timekeeper, the Chronomètre Optimum joins the iconic timepieces and complications of Haute Horlogerie.