Francois-Paul Journe attended the Marseilles watchmaking school when he was just 14 years old, and then went to work for his uncle, a restorer, in Paris. During this time, he developed a passion for watches and their history, and decided that he wanted to make timepieces from start to finish. He gradually developed a reputation with collectors who commissioned his work; then with established watch companies who commissioned him to make new movements. This prompted him to move to Switzerland where, in 1999, he created and presented his first FP Journe branded collection in Basel. His word of mouth reputation spread, due to not only the striking look of his pieces, but also the technical novelties that he manages to merge with such a rich sense of history.
His timepieces have the look of classic pieces, but are put together in a completely modern way, with modern parts and mechanisms. Most of them are extremely complicated models, which require several weeks to make - which is why the company only puts out 850 - 900 per year (starting at around $19,800). The brand's motto is "Invenit et Fecit", which means "He invented it and made it" - referring to the fact that the company makes the watches from start to finish. Journe, himself, often designs new movements - going as far as to invent completely new systems; and plans to expand, even more, in coming years.
The Souveraine collection of timepieces has several models, including the Chronometre Bleu, Chronometre Souverain, Centigraphe Souverain, Choronometre A Resonance, Tourbillon Souverain, Repetition Souveraine, Chronometre Optimum, and Sonnerie Souveraine. These pieces are manual winding, high-precision wristwatches that feature complicated mechanisms. The mechanisms in this collection of timepieces are both innovative and exclusive. Three of these watches have received the "Golden Hand" at the Grand Prix d'Horlogerie de Geneve, and one (the Chronometre Souverain) received the Best Men's watch in 2005.
The F.P. Journe Sonnerie Souveraine is one of the winners in this collection that was a winner of the "Golden Hand" (2006). This hand-wound, 1505 Caliber men's timepiece is 42 mm in diameter and 12.3 mm thick, with a Sapphire glass casing bottom. It is a Grand-Strike Clockwatch, which is quite complex due to the limited energy in a wristwatch. However, this watch achieves the full clock-watch capability without compromising the sound or reliability of the chime. The watch has a single mainspring, which provides 24 hours of grand strike, without using the minute-repeater. The movement will run for 5 days, if the chime is in silence mode; as the chime uses almost 60% of the main-spring's energy. Francois-Paul constructed a new movement of this watch, using new mechanical principles, in order to "make it safe to use by an eight-year-old child".