An FP Journe Vertical Souverain Tourbillon
Describing technical innovation within a largely antiquated art is a mildly-hilarious thing. However, to properly describe this Journe, that is the task I have been set. The tourbillon is a complication which constantly rotates an escapement to even the effects of gravity on its balance spring. I’d refer you to this article by Breguet if it’s the first you’re hearing of it (though I suspect if you’re reading this you likely know more than I). To celebrate his manufacture’s 20th, Journe decided to make the tourbillon complication actually functional within the context of a wristwatch.
A tourbillon counters gravity’s pull on (namedrop) the hairspring, right? Well, when a watch is on a wrist, the force of gravity is at a 90-degree angle to the direction of the balance’s oscillation. That renders the entire complication irrelevant. It was a technology invented for a pocket watch, where the balance would actually be effected by gravity in daily use. Leave it to the madman Journe to move the entire escapement vertical in order make that tourbillon useful again, in the roundabout re-engineering job that is this anniversary Souverain. As a little extra bonus, the rate of rotation was increased in this model to once per 30s to add even more visual drama (as if the displayed gold movement and dial finishing weren’t enough).
What I really admire though, is that this is the opposite of an easy way out. Journe could have released a limited edition in some strange material to celebrate his anniversary. But this is a brand which stands for so much more than profit. The choice Journe made here, to engineer a new and highly involved complication instead of tweaking details, speaks volumes about what he stands for. FP Journe is a horologist in the highest possible sense of the word. He is, very clearly, in love with the art of mechanical watchmaking.
These very rarely surface on the secondary market. It is marked as new. This example comes with a full set from a trusted source.