‘Hong Kong 10th Anniversary’ FP Journe Centigraphe Souverain
FP Journe knows how to celebrate a boutique opening. Remember the Byblos? This is Centigraphe equivalent, 1 of 20 made to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Hong Kong boutique. The Centigraphe is FP Journe’s approach to the chronograph complication, and while he’s most well-known for for constant force tourbillons or resonance, the Centigraphe speaks just as eloquently to Journe’s maniacal ground-up approach to complication. The concept was borne between conversation between FP and Jean Todt (then executive at Scuderia Ferrari and later president of the FIA), but something François-Paul had contemplated for many years. The two met many times in order to ascertain just what a modern-day mechanical motorsport chronograph could be at its best. The result is a paradoxically ultra-modern yet classical exterior design which belies the motorsport roots, capable of measuring 1/100th of a second through a very cleverly designed foudroyanté.
Centigraphe literally translates to ‘time writer’ and the Centigraphe’s calibre 1506 wrote time so perfectly as to win the most prestigious award in horology in its first production year, the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève’s L’Aiguille d’Or. The dial was arranged to display three unusual, registers; the most prominent of which is a ‘seconds per round 1’ register capable of measuring one 100th of a second. When the chronograph is engaged, this hand screams across its discreet stops with a hypnotizing alacrity. I recommend a quick YouTube query if you’ve never seen a Centigraphe run before.
This Hong Kong LE differs in its titanium and rose gold case, ruthenium dial (I promise I didn’t make that metal name up), and unique sapphire partially-openworked registers. The Hong Kong Centigraphes were numbered in series, engraved on back. For me, this series has more appeal than most of Journe’s boutique editions because of the partial skeletonization, not just something lazy like changing the dial color. The rose gold calibre 1506 is a deeply impressive bit of watchmaking, but the design necessitates a large rear plate that hides most of it. Here, you can see the 1/100th counter move to engage with the escapement wheel, multiple vertical and horizontal clutches, and gear train linking chronograph power directly to the barrel to eliminate torque loss from effecting timekeeping. It’s a genius bit of watchmaking that actually lets you in on the party trick.
This example comes as part of Phillips upcoming New York Watch Auction. Condition looks quite strong overall. No serious bashes, light wear. It comes with all its original accessories, and chances to pick these up seem to be increasingly scarce.