Conversation pieces 2019


F.P. Journe Tourbillon Souverain Vertical

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April 2019


F.P. Journe Tourbillon Souverain Vertical

At first glance, you might think that this tourbillon, fixed vertically in a “light shaft” pierced through the dial, is a simple choice of aesthetics, as we have seen in many recent tourbillons.

A

t first glance, you might think that this tourbillon, fixed vertically in a “light shaft” pierced through the dial, is a simple choice of aesthetics, as we have seen in many recent tourbillons. But you would be doing an injustice to François-Paul Journe, who would never be satisfied with making solely aesthetic improvements of no technical significance.

As it is, the reasoning behind this watch is crystal clear and offers genuine progress in matters of chronometry. It is a well-known fact that the tourbillon was designed by Abraham-Louis Breguet to compensate for the effects of gravity by continually changing positions. It is a device specifically designed for pocket watches which, as their name indicates, spend most of their time in a vertical position, slipped into the watch pocket of their owner’s waistcoat, and raised and consulted vertically.

30 SECOND VERTICAL TOURBILLON WITH CONSTANT FORCE AND DEAD SECOND
30 SECOND VERTICAL TOURBILLON WITH CONSTANT FORCE AND DEAD SECOND
Hours and minutes at 3 o’clock, small second at 6 o’clock, power reserve at 12 o’clock, vertical tourbillon at 9 o’clock. Power reserve 80 hours ± 2h. Manual winding calibre 1519 / 29 turns of crown. Platinum PT 950 or 18K 6N gold case 42 mm by 13.60 mm. Movement in 18K rose 4N gold with hour dial in enamel on white gold. High-quality finish: guilloché Clous de Paris on bridges, circular Côtes de Genève on base plate, screw heads polished and bevelled.

Consequently, the tourbillon inherently serves little purpose in a wristwatch, which naturally changes position when worn. But placed flat during the night – or for days on end – the horizontal tourbillon of a wristwatch will vary in amplitude. So, as François-Paul Journe explains, “I have designed this vertical tourbillon to keep it constant. Whether the watch is worn or placed flat in the case of a pin buckle, or on its side in the case of a folding clasp, the tourbillon always remains vertical and consequently maintains the same amplitude.” Which is in itself a guarantee of better chronometry and “corrects the defect” of a tourbillon mounted on a strap.

Designed for the 20th anniversary of his first Tourbillon Souverain, this Tourbillon Souverain Vertical rotates in 30 seconds instead of the customary minute, offering a quite fascinating spectacle which is reflected in the polished mirror sides of the light shaft in which it hangs. The watch is equipped with a remontoir d’égalité that supplies a constant force to the balance, ensuring that its amplitude does not vary. But here, the spring of the constant-force device is re-armed every second to drive a deadbeat seconds device that jumps precisely every second, with no danger of inaccuracy, which Journe calls a “natural deadbeat second”.

Beauty and efficiency come together in this vertical tourbillon, the first of its kind. It was just asking to be invented. And made. This has now been done, brilliantly. CHF 248,000