‘The Chronomètre Souverain (Reference CS), though the ninth watch to be added to his regular collection, is the watch that Journe most wanted to make from the beginning. The goal was to create a watch that was a clear evolution of an early 1800s marine chronometer, thus precision chronometry was the focus:’ 1
“I’d have to say the [CS] is my favorite, since it is the watch I wanted to do from the beginning. It uses two barrels, but unlike other brands, they’re not used to create a 10-day power reserve. Instead, they make sure that the 50-hour power reserve is flatter [more consistent]. It has two long but very loose springs, so it doesn’t have a tendency to go fast and then slow. This is a major achievement, but if I started out with a watch like this, people would say it was too simple. That’s why I had to make the tourbillon, the resonance, and the grande sonnerie [note: the grande sonnerie was in the works, but not yet released when the CS debuted] before this one,” said Journe.1
One of the things many people notice first about the CS is that the placement of the power reserve indicator – it’s placed at the 3 o’clock position which is unusual because the crown and winding gearwork get in the way. Journe nonetheless felt that next to the crown was the correct place to put the power reserve indicator. I.e. put the indicator next to the thing whose action it is indicating. This created a significant challenge for him, but in his view it was a challenge that was worth undertaking because this was the best location for the indication. This is a common thread throughout Journe’s creations. He doesn’t do things the easy way, he does them in what he considers to be the proper way. He ended up solving the problem by creating a new ultra-flat (less than 0.5 mm) power reserve indicator system set on a ball bearing, and placing this system between the stem and the dial. Journe patented this innovation and made it his new standard power reserve indicator, including retrofitting it to his watches which were released before the CS….’ 1
‘Another interesting feature of the power reserve indicator is that it points to ‘0’ when fully wound, and points to ‘56’ when the power reserve is depleted. This has actually been the standard practice since the beginning for Montres Journe watches in the Souveraine Collection (but not the Octa Collection). Journe wanted to emphasize the connection between the chronometric focus of the Souveraine watches and that of marine chronometers of old, so he used the traditional marine chronometer convention for the power reserve indicator, which indicates the numbers of hours since the watch was last wound. This is the opposite of the standard convention for a power reserve indicator, which shows the number of hours of power remaining.’ 1
This specific watch here is a very, very special version of the CS. It’s part of the Anniversary series (to celebrate the anniversary of the opening of their first boutique in Tokyo). Only 20 Anniversary CS watches were made, and as you can guess, they were quickly snatched up by Journe collectors. In addition to being a numbered limited edition, with an amazing dial (you have to see this thing in person!), it is housed in a Titanium case! As far as the Journe dress watches go, only the limited edition Anniversary watches get the cool titanium cases.
1 – F.P. Journe: The First 30 Years by Kiran Shekar
This desire for an F.P. Journe watch stems from the fact that Journe is quite simply considered one of the very top watchmakers alive today. Max Büsser, founder of the watch company MB&F said of Journe, “François-Paul is in my opinion the heir to Abraham-Louis Breguet. He has managed over the last twenty-five years to master and synthesize the past with the future of watchmaking. Locked in his head are quantities of projects that will amaze the connoisseurs.”