One of the many benefits in studying watches over a long time horizon is that you get to see heavily-debated pieces come full circle. One can see a piece initially sell over retail and fall below retail five years later in the secondary market. From there, controversial watches tend to move in one of two directions: The first option is a slow fall to obscurity and eventual fade away. The second option is a slow ascension to the status of modern classic. The Vagabondage I & II have clearly been the latter. Today, I feature this rare Vagabondage II Platinum that recently came to market as a bit of a celebration.
The Vagabondage I was Journe’s first production watch in a non-round case. The polished and brushed tortue shape Journe settled on is a completely unique proportion. The series of Vagabondage pieces were intended to showcase unique digital display modes through mechanical watchmaking. Think Zeitwerk, but in Journe’s mad style. The first iteration saw a revolving hour dial with a highlighted window, surrounded by railroad minutes. The recently announced third features the world’s first mechanical digital jumping seconds complication. But this, the second iteration features a completely digital time display with a traditional petite seconds and power reserve indication. The whole complication is entirely floating on its own little island within the case, raised slightly above a smoked crystal, supported by pillars woven into the movement design.
There’s something particularly artful about this arrangement to me. The contrast between ultra-modern digital time and a traditional petite seconds track speaks truth to what I like in many of Journe’s works. The smoked crystal displays the mechanics, but not in an ostentatious way. You mostly see the out-of-window hour & minute discs with a ton of rose-gold plate perlaging. But that’s all you need. The complication here is self evident. Digital displays are not a straightforward engineering task. That Journe was able to accomplish one with such a subdued design speaks volumes to the man’s ability.
This example is one of the 69 (yes, 69. Another reason to love it.) limited-run platinum cases from 2010. An additional 68 pieces were also made in rose gold. This particular model is one of very few pieces that doesn’t feature FP Journe’s signature on the dial. It comes to market with a full set from a trusted seller, K2. There’s nothing not to like. Except perhaps the asking price, which remains undisclosed. Whatever the ask is today, my bet is that it will be at least doubled in another decade’s time.
Find this Vagabondage II here from K2 Luxury for an undisclosed sum.