Steel FP Journe Chronomètre à Résonance RN
Steel and Journe are almost antonyms, in FP precious metal is the standard. That is, except for one short blip around 2015 (forgetting minute repeaters and the Holland & Holland). Collectors will know, there are two closely linked, but slightly separate major transitions in FP Journe’s history. The first came when his movement’s base metal changed from brass to gold in 2004. Paradoxically, brass is the gold standard as far as collectors are concerned today. The second came when all cases for all models bumped up from 38mm to 40mm in 2015. As a means of saying goodbye to the case proportion that had seen FP Journe from souscription to widespread fame and lesser notoriety, each major model line received a runout: 38 sets of their five icons in steel, all sold together. A final hurrah for classic proportion, dressed down rather than up. The sets are not often separated, but one just has been for this auction season. This Resonance is, arguably, the most desirable of the quintet.
If Patek Philippe owns the perpetual calendar chronograph and Hublot owns separating fools from their fortunes, then FP Journe owns resonance as a complication (despite Armin Strom’s notable efforts). Yes, like many things Breguet invented it. But one rather austere and genius Frenchman brought it back to greater effect than it had ever enjoyed in pocket watches. I always describe Resonance as a married couple in watch format; the individual balance wheels (there are two) begin to mirror and echo each other over time, regulated toward a mirroring by nothing but the air between them. Dogs start to move like their owners. Strangers to new lands will adopt the speech patterns of those around them in small ways to stand out less. Two people on a first date will start to mirror small tweaks in body language to show attraction. Everything I just listed has credible studies supporting. It’s the broadest possible application of Newton’s Third Law on display. But this is more romantic, a wristwatch tribute to the power of pairing.
With just 38 examples, the steel Resonance is a tricky thing to value. Sotheby’s hammered one in ’21 for 233K USD. Earlier this year, Christie’s sold another for 280K. This will be the fifth sold ever to my knowledge, though there are likely others. Your guess is as good as mine. The steel sets always command a premium, a sort of paradox to the way the rest of the market likes to do things. Complication with minimal pretension, relaxed first generation Resonance good looks, and it goes with Nikes. I kinda get it.
This example appears hardly worn at all, the case is unmarred by even light surface wear. It comes with nothing but the watch, as you’d expect of a set separated. Nonetheless, incredible watch you’ll rarely get the opportunity to acquire.