François-Paul Journe in his atelier in Geneva, a converted gas lamp factory | Source: New York Times

Behind the Brand: An Inside Look at F.P Journe Luxury Watches

F.P Journe designs timepieces like no other brand. Operating out of a 19th-century gas lamp factory in the Plainpalais district of Geneva, the brand is the only watchmaker left in central Geneva. Refusing to follow his fellow watchmakers into the industrial suburbs of Switzerland, founder François-Paul Journe has always been a determinedly independent thinker in modern world watchmaking.

After leaving school at 14, François-Paul Journe discovered his passion for watchmaking during his horology education in Paris. After studying, he began making watches for luxury brands such as Cartier and Piaget and was soon determined to strike out alone. Reasoning that he was tired of “making pearls for swine,” F P Journe began his namesake company in 1999.

The first watch was a tourbillon wristwatch, which came at a time when no other watchmaker was producing them. Journe’s innovation then drove him to recreate the 18th-century sympathique invention, otherwise known as a pendulum clock that mechanically set and regulated a pocket watch. Having been working on the groundbreaking system since 1983, it was finally debuted in the form of the Chronomètre à Résonance in 2000. Today, the watch remains to be the only wristwatch to operate on the resonance principle.

Image: A young F P Journe Source: Christie’s
Image: F.P Journe’s first tourbillon watch Source: A Collected Man

Since the Chronomètre à Résonance, F P Journe has won three impressive Aiguille d’Or awards in the years of 2004, 2006, and 2008, and F P Journe watches regularly sell under the hammer for over A$1.5 million. In fact, waitlists for the watches can stretch years, in the same way, that they do for older watch brands like Rolex and the most affordable new F P Journe model you can currently purchase is the tantalum cased Chronomètre Bleu at a value of A$38,000.

Continuing to focus on complex precision chronometers, the watchmaker has released a number of interesting models in recent years and determinedly creates something new for each model. The first-ever F P Journe women’s watch was released in 2014 in the form of the Elégante. A watch that’s renowned for its electromechanical movement and ease of use. The brand has also created the first-ever sports watch with an aluminium case, with all models underlined by the company signature, Invenit et Fecit, meaning invented and made.

Image: F.P Journe Chronomètre Bleu Source: F.P Journe
Image: F.P Journe Octa Sport Aluminium Source: F.P Journe

Looking for more timepiece inspiration? Read about Grand Seiko, Cartier and Rolex.

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