This is a rare and eccentric showing of playfulness from Mr Journe, not likely to be repeated. Like much of Journe’s work, there is a story behind the visually striking watchmaking on display. This partially openworked dial is not executed in a remotely traditional way. In addition, it is one of just a few watches to display his movement from the dial side. Leaving no stone unturned, it is not the standard Chronomètre Bleu movement either. Modern collectors tend to go mad for numbered limited series and Journe’s collectors are some of the maddest of the bunch. Nonetheless, this small production from 2014 is worth peering through the insanity.
To commemorate the opening of their tenth-ever boutique, in Beirut, FP Journe settled on a 99-piece limited edition run of a special Chronomètre Bleu. It was named for the oldest Phoenician port, a UNESCO world heritage site, ten miles north of town. This port made Beirut a cultural and trade center, and the watch was made as a nod to the city’s heritage. While the dial cut pattern may seem a bit random, it was made to represent the Mediterranean sky with rays of bright sunshine emanating through. The webbed cut pattern is iconoclast to Journe collectors, but a rare touch of romanticism in design for Journe.
About all that remains the same here is the CB’s perfect 40mm tantalum case. The exposed 18k rose gold movement was given much extra attention for this series. The upper surface received a full guilloché decoration with sub-plate perlage. Quite unique, the manufacture name is not applied or printed but engraved directly on to the top plate. Finally, a lovely detail easy to overlook: the J of ‘Journe’ is inscribed in the Phoenincian alphabet letter ‘Yodh’, meaning both hand and ten, as a full circle nod to the port town, level of handcraft on display here, and tenth boutique opening.
This example is in the kind of condition you’d hope for. The tantalum case is going to hold up well to daily life and has here. Only the very lightest surface wear is visible. It comes with its full set from a well-regarded retailer.
Find this Byblos here from Watch4moi for 235000 USD.