One of the greatest horological designers was Francois-Paul Journe. The innovative and inspirational watchmaker has brought inspiration to the latest generation with his efforts to precision, tradition, and creativity. A brand with recognizable style, from a man who crafted his first timepiece entirely by hand. The tourbillon pocket watch was F.P. Journe’s first brilliant creation, and then in 1991 he crafted his first tourbillon watch. While collectors clamoured for those first samples, in 1999 when he launched the first Tourbillon Souverain watches the rivalry for those was even greater. It was not until 2003 that the brand debuted the Tourbillon Souverain with the deadbeat second, and the absolutely brilliant movements in 18k rose gold, a first for the horological world. The brand has brought further inspiration to all the watchmakers longing for the intricate details each of these timepieces has displayed.
A New Angle
As F.P. Journe celebrated the 20th anniversary of this great creation, he introduced the tourbillon with the vertical cage, rather than the traditional horizontal design that graced other timepieces. The design was manufactured to allow the functions to be constant no matter the way the timepiece was placed, flat or on the side, as well the amplitude would also be consistent. The watch has been named the F.P. Journe Vertical Tourbillon for obvious reasons. This vertical masterpiece makes one revolution every 30 seconds, faster than normal and providing quite a show. Originally the horizontal tourbillon was developed for pocket watches that were vertical when placed in the pocket. So when a wrist watch was crafted it was placed in a more horizontal position, and therefore the performance was not as intended for the tourbillon. By creating the vertical version the tourbillon was allowed to provide optium performance. So why are there not more of them? To be clear, Journe did not invent the vertical tourbillon, he simply improved it.
Beauty And The Beast
The beauty of the tourbillon design change provided an open window underneath that gave a lovely view of moving parts, and just beautiful bridgework. It was spectacular to see the spinning tourbillon and the seconds hand, the Caliber 1519 Tourbillon Souverain, made in-house and decorated. The 42mm wide case is only 13.6mm thick, which is pretty amazing considering the orientation of the tourbillon. Most of the timepieces the brand produces didn’t include a tourbillon, but because of this beauty F.P. Journe felt that it complemented the horological efforts for this luxury timepiece and completed a true beast for his collection.