F.P. Journe LineSport Centrigraphe
The F.P. Journe LineSport Centrigraphe upholds the Maison’s reputation for high-end horological creations. Recently, a suitably attired Angus Davies visited the company’s Genevan boutique in order to view this mouthwatering exemplar of haute horlogerie.
When dining in a Michelin star restaurant, it is not appropriate to order a paragon of haute cuisine and then smother it in Heinz ketchup. Likewise, it is unbecoming to drape furry dice from the rear view mirror of a Bentley. Peerless creations should be respected.
Close to Geneva’s retail boulevards, yet seemingly a world away from the throng of shoppers, there is a sanctuary for those individuals blessed with a discerning temperament. The headquarters of F.P. Journe is located on Rue de l’Arquebuse. The company’s premises serve three roles: it houses the firm’s administrative functions, it’s a boutique and, most pertinently, it plays host to some of the finest watchmaking to be found anywhere on the planet.
As the heavy door was opened for me and I was warmly received my host, I entered a familiar world. At least twice per annum, I make my pilgrimage to F.P. Journe’s venerated Manufacture. The walls are bedecked with horological artefacts and books, while light floods into the vast room, providing the most discriminating eyes with the means to view excellence at close quarters. Accompanying the many visual spectacles in my midst, there was a soothing soundtrack of ticks and tocks. The sumptuous furniture, optimally positioned around the room, exuded refinement. Attired in a lounge suit, I felt appropriately dressed for the occasion and prepared to appraise the new F.P. Journe LineSport Centrigraphe.
Image – F.P. Journe LineSport Centrigraphe in platinum
The F.P. Journe LineSport Centrigraphe is now available in platinum or 18-carat 6N gold. The chosen case material determines the hue of the dial. The 18-carat 6N gold case is paired with a silver guilloche dial ‘covered in ruthenium’. This latter treatment suffuses the dial with a becoming shade of grey.
Matte 5N golden hands articulate the hours and minutes efficiently. Their curvaceous lines subscribe to F.P. Journe’s proven design language and successfully pair functionality and beauty to glorious effect.
There is nothing perfunctory about any aspect of an F.P. Journe timepiece and this includes the indexes. Applied Roman numerals, formed of 18-carat 6N gold, impart information with incredible poise. This high-end brand has cleverly manipulated the scale of the numerals, imbuing the dial with yet another sprinkling of allure. A white chemin de fer subscribes to tradition and makes reading off the minutes just that little bit easier.
However, I have left the pièce de résistance to last. Positioned centre stage, three chronograph registers, conjoined with a mirror-polished frame, share equal prominence. Each register is the same size, employs silver guilloché and incorporates svelte red hands. A 20-second counter is positioned at 2 o’clock, a 10-minute counter resides at 6 o’clock and a 1 second counter is located at 10 o’clock. This latter indication garners the most attention, frenetically circumnavigating the register once every second.
This remarkable chronograph can measure elapsed time to an incredible 1/100th of a second. Moreover, it can display this information in a highly lucid, simple to interpret form.
F.P.Journe has chosen to house this watch in a case formed of 18-carat 6N gold. This grants the appearance of the watch with a distinctive red tone, even surpassing the ebullient behaviour of the more commonly used 5N red gold. This shade bestows the F.P. Journe LineSport Centrigraphe with an amazing aesthetic appearance.
The bezel tastefully blends black and golden tones, while the crown, positioned at 4 o’clock, upholds another of the brand’s legendary design codes.
At 2 o’clock, a patented rocker device starts, stops and resets the chronograph. While some brands obsess about the precision of a chronograph, they seem to forget about the importance of the wearer’s interaction with the pushers. The rocker is far more intuitive to use than regular pushers, hence the period from observing an event to actuating the chronograph is shorter, providing a more accurate measurement of elapsed time. François-Paul Journe repeatedly demonstrates he has a capacity to see the minutiae which has eluded his contemporaries.
The bracelet has a frosted finish, save for its vertical flanks which are highly polished. Once again, this subtle detailing sets this watch apart from competing watches, but not at the expense of beauty and good taste.
The Calibre 1506 is a hand-wound movement, visible via the exhibition caseback. Consistent with most of F.P.Journe’s movements, it is constructed in 18-carat rose gold.
There are two aspects common to any F.P. Journe movement: technical prowess and finishing. The Calibre 1506 fitted to the F.P. Journe LineSport Centrigraphe perpetuates this reputation.
François-Paul Journe has chosen to equip the chronograph with its own train, driven directly from the mainspring. When many chronographs are actuated, the amplitude of the balance diminishes, impairing precision. By having two separate trains, the Calibre 1506 addresses this issue, ensuring the time indications are not compromised. The power reserve of the watch is 80 hours when the chronograph is inactive. When the chronograph is operational, this falls to 24 hours.
Monsieur Journe has also equipped with movement with a free-sprung balance. By adjusting the four masselottes which are fitted to the spokes of the balance wheel, a competent watchmaker is able to alter the moment of inertia, increasing / decreasing the rate. This delivers superior precision when contrasted with the common curb adjuster.
Gold is one of the least reactive metals in existence, making it less likely to corrode. However, most watchmakers avoid the material as it is very soft and can be easily marked with a wayward tool. Nevertheless, the time-served watchmakers at F.P. Journe evidently manipulate tools with dextrous aplomb. Clearly an F.P. Journe watch is intended to last for generations.
The bridges are adorned with Côtes de Genève motif and golden engraved text. The baseplate is decorated with perlage and the crown wheel is adorned with a sunray motif. Each screw head is polished to a brilliant gleam and features a chamfered slot. The pegs have polished rounded ends.
Viewing the movement through a pane of sapphire crystal reveals that every visible jewel, pin and screw resides within a polished sink. The anglage provides a gleaming edge between the bridge surface and the flank. There is an extraordinary seemliness to every element of this movement.
My affection for the F.P. Journe LineSport Centrigraphe is clearly manifest. I have considered each element of this watch and feel unable to find fault. It proffers an ownership experience most self-respecting horophiles should aspire to experience.
Indeed, the word ‘experience’ seems most apt when entering the domain of F.P. Journe and its revered founder, François-Paul Journe. There is a sense of occasion. Watches are presented on sumptuous brown trays, gloves are always worn when handling timepieces and loupes are provided in order to view each square millimetre of perfection.
I have never taken a ‘wrist shot’ of an F.P. Journe watch as it seems almost disrespectful. These watches, like the aforementioned peerless creations I mentioned earlier, deserve due reverence. In fact, next time I visit the company’s boutique I may well consider wearing a black tie ensemble.
- Model: F.P. Journe LineSport Centrigraphe
- Reference: CT2
- Case: 18-carat 6N gold; diameter 44mm; height 10.95mm; sapphire crystal to the front and sapphire caseback
- Functions: Hours; minutes; chronograph
- Movement: Calibre 1506; hand-wound movement; frequency 21,600 VpH (3Hz); 50 jewels; power reserve 80 hours when chronograph idle / 24 hours when chronograph operational
- Strap: 18-carat 6N gold bracelet with adjustable folding clasp
- Price: CHF 81,900 including taxes (RRP as at 19.7.2019)