For many years, FP Journe’s Centigraphe remained one of the finest ever chronograph movements to be largely unrecognized, speaking volumes to François-Paul’s maniacal approach to complication but minimally popular. 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. If one did not study that history, the paradoxically ultra-modern yet classical exterior design would never belie those roots. This is particularly the case for this rose gold dial on rose gold case, a rare combination which is one of the most metals I have ever seen a Centigraphe wear.
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, guilloché chronograph 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. The Journe aesthetic was then reinforced by the metallic holder which sets those subdials off, heavily designed numerals inbetween, and signature-shape 40mm case.
The Centigraphe design is eccentrically over-the-top, undeniably. Yet its design is not nearly as outrageous as the level of engineering its rose gold calibre 1506 employs. We’re talking a (sort of) foudroyante chronograph whose 1/100th counter will 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. If it was hard for the public to initially digest the aesthetic this movement demanded, well, genius is often abrasive until studied closely.
This example sports only extremely light signs of use. The case has very delicate and fine surface scratches in direct light. Its rose gold dial is without fault, movement similar. It comes with an original alligator strap, buckle, inner and outer boxes, and warranty card from a well-regarded retailer.
Find this Centigraphe here from Watch4moi for 190000 USD.