Vogue Watches

Raising the bar: FP Journe Chronomètre Souverain Nacre boutique edition

FP Journe replica has become a phenomenon in the watch world, offering extremely rare, gorgeous, avant-garde timepieces and in a relatively short period of time a true benchmark in independent watchmaking. The brand’s Chronomètre Souverain Nacre edition perfectly captures all these points. Although the collection is already an award-winning design, this version stands out from its peers, thanks in large part to its attractive blue mother-of-pearl dial.

François-Paul Journe himself has stated in the past that the Chronomètre Souverain is his favorite timepiece and the first one he wanted to create. While not the first, Chronomètre Souverain was introduced to his collection in 2005, just six years after the launch of his first collection in 1999. The timepiece was an instant hit, even winning the Grand Prix d’ Genève watch in the men’s watch category. For those unfamiliar, GPHG is similar to the Oscars, but for timepieces. Debuting in 2012, the Nacre Boutique Edition is available in rose gold and platinum with case sizes of 40mm and 38mm, respectively. The Nacre version is also available in Octa Automatique and Octa Automatique Lune; however, the Chronomètre Souvrain is the only version still in production since 2019.

plan the details
The dial of this particular timepiece has to be the star of the show. Blue mother-of-pearl shines between the white studded Paris guilloché on the inside of the dial and the platinum case on the outside. The brand’s logo, Arabic numerals and rails surrounding the second sub-dial and minute track are painted bright blue. The blued steel hands contrast with the white background of the dial. An interesting hint is that Francois-Paul chose to resize the numbers rather than cut into them when other dial elements invaded the digital space. Another feature is how the power reserve indicator moves towards 0 when the watch is wound. This design was chosen to pay homage to the marine chronometers of the early 1800s,

FP Journe timepieces have always exuded a very classic elegance. In the 1990s, the trend for watches was big and bold, but Journe mostly stayed between 38mm and 42mm, with very few exceptions. With its 9mm thickness and 40mm case size, this piece offers the perfect sweet spot for most collectors. The highly polished platinum case is uncomplicated, nothing special except for the rope decoration on the crown. The strap is Journe’s traditional blue double-sided alligator leather and is attached to the case by a curved quick-change spring lever. The curved spring bars allow the strap to move independently of the case and allow for shorter lugs. The beauty of Journe’s designs is that, while simple and elegant, every tiny detail has been carefully considered to create his vision for the perfect timepiece.

inner work
The Chronomètre Souvrain is powered by the Calibre 1304, a stunning 18-karat gold in-house hand-wound movement, perfectly decorated and pleasing to the eye. Each layer of the movement has a different finish, starting with the Côtes de Genève on the upper bridge, then the circular graining on the bottom plate, and finally the pearl pattern on the main plate. Every edge is beveled and the screws are mirror polished. A unique feature of this movement is that Journe hides the drivetrain under the baseplate, revealing only the twin barrels that give the movement a 56-hour power reserve. The focus of this twin-barrel movement is to provide steady power to the free-spring balance escapement beating at 21,600vph, not to extend the power reserve.

competing with
Journe distinguishes his brand from others in many ways, as can be seen in the demand for these pieces; however, this timepiece shares some similarities with the Gronefeld 1941 Principia Automatic, especially this one Turquoise dial version. In terms of complexity, they’re both relatively simple, with the Gronefeld missing the Journe’s power-reserve indicator, but including an automatic rotor. Both are from small manufacturers that produce very few timepieces, and the watchmakers that bear its name are still producing their watches. This one is made of steel, but overall the feel on the wrist is very similar. The light blue colour scheme, blued steel hands and blue strap complement the feel of the Chronomètre Souvrain.

Now the opposite complication arises, and one can also compare the feel of this Patek Philippe 5905P to the Journe. Both are crafted in platinum with a highly polished case and fastened to the wrist with a blue alligator strap. The two are more similar in price than the Gronefeld; however, the Patek Philippe is much more complicated than the Journe, giving the owner an annual calendar and flyback chronograph. Comparing these two timepieces, the classic and clean aesthetic feels very close.

The demand for Journe has grown exponentially over the past few years. This watch is designed for niche collectors who want to differentiate themselves from the exclusive bags that collect FP Journe timepieces. The collector was drawn to the overall beauty of the watch. Blue mother-of-pearl is very rare; one might argue that it is generally reserved for a more feminine look; however, this is clearly not the case here. Owners of these particular editions of the Chronomètre Souvrain are specifically looking for this model to complete their collection.

final thoughts
Journe is known for his attention to detail. There are many dial variations in this collection; however, this rare piece will stand the test of time and stand out among collectors. Since the rest of the nacre has been discontinued, one might want to try adding it before it’s no longer available. cheap men watch