Watches: F.P. Journe Historical Tourbillon Anniversary Edition 2013

By Thierry Ané on November 5, 2013

Thirty years ago, F.P. Journe completed his very first watch. To celebrate this anniversary, he is releasing a 99-piece limited edition named Historical Anniversary Tourbillon.

While he was working as an apprentice in a shop owned by his uncle, Journe worked nights and weekends for more than five years to create his first masterpiece. In 1983, he finally completed a gold and silver tourbillon pocketwatch. The Historical Anniversary Tourbillon is a tribute to this first creation.

Surprisingly, the new wristwatch looks nothing like recent F.P. Journe’s creations. In order to understand where this design comes from, one has to go back to Journe’s first pocketwatch.

Looking at both models one immediately sees the same dial layout with the hours and minutes on the upper dial and a smaller sub-dial for the seconds. It is silver grained on the latest timepiece with the usual indications “F.P. Journe” and “Invenit et Fecit”.

The next source of inspiration comes from the pocket watch case. Realized in gold and silver, its back opens hunter-style to allow a view of the movement. The 40 mm case of the new timepiece retains these codes. Made of rose gold and guilloche-decorated sterling silver, it also features a beautifully decorated officer back that opens onto the movement.

There again, the movement construction of both timepieces is similar. It draws inspiration from 18th and 19th century pocket watch movements and is quite a departure from the movement constructions we are used to nowadays. The twin barrels that power the tourbillon face one another on the upper part of the movement, while the lower part makes room for the tourbillon (it is in fact aligned with the second sub-dial on the front). Unlike recent movements in Journe’s collection, this one is not in gold but is made of gilt brass with a soft grained finish.

This commemoration timepiece will certainly remain as a turning point in Journe’s work. It is a tribute to his past and to the history of watchmaking. I am quite sure that in a decade or so this timepiece will set auctions on fire.

For a technical description of the timepiece and additional pictures: