Jade Dial FP Journe Tourbillon Souverain
I always laugh a bit, quietly to myself, when first point of interest someone mentions about their watch is rarity. Rarity is great, market-marking even, but not interesting. FP Journe created Black Label, which I always thought was a Johnnie Walker for masochists, to reward their clients with something less common. Boutique exclusives for VIPs, Black Labels are highly collected . . .and simply not that exciting. If you prioritize rarity but seek something that actually holds a notably distinction, Journe has done hardstone dials.
Stone dials aren’t just for Day-Dates. One doesn’t tend to associate independent watchmaking, particularly FP Jorune with stone dials. Manufacturing a dial from stone is a delicate affair that requires a high failure rate and high patience. But some have executed the art with a level of finesse that can make a red jade Datejust look boring. FP Journe is amongst the most expressive independents to utilize stone, look at the way this dial is cut. Rolex have a high failure rate with a circle, but this? If you look far and wide in Journe, you’ll find lapis, ruby, mother of pearl, and this jade amongst others. Jade dial Journes were created initially for the East, given its cultural importance, and more recently for only the closest friends of the brand. Research has indicated fewer than 10 jade dials exist today. Most are in these ‘TN’ tourbillons, but there are Chronomètre Optimum and Octa Quantième in jade as well.
Values have exploded in recent years. In 2016, one hammered at Christie’s for 152K USD, just as independent watchmaking was become a phrase in collector consciousness. Earlier this year, Christie’s sold another at 1.2M. We see this result corroborated with a recent Phillips result too. It seems this is now decidedly a watch off into the millions. And while most million dollar watches are 60s Daytonas or Pateks owned by people you’d recognize, in this instance I sort of understand it. Because it’s not just rarity. It’s rarity, extreme manufacturing effort, and objective beauty coming together in what is probably the most desirable modern independent. We’re not at peak Journe yet in my estimation, but irrespective this may be the peak Journe, at least for me, on a purely aesthetic level. Others as well, if market is any indication.
This example presents in excellent condition, and it’s quite easy to see any wear on this high polish platinum bezel. It comes with all the original bits, from a well-regarded Shanghai retailer.