F.P. Journe Centigraphe Souverain Anniversaire: A “Rolling” Anniversary Piece
Anniversaries are a time for celebration and remembrance. Even though an anniversary can sometimes seem like it celebrates an arbitrary marking of elapsed time, the thought behind it is what counts. School-age couples may celebrate the first time they held hands on the playground, while entire countries often celebrate dates of founding.
No event is too small to celebrate in some way, but some events, such as wedding anniversaries (hint, hint), require much more elaborate planning and effort. Still, there is usually a special reason to celebrate an anniversary, and opening a business or new location is probably one of industrialized nations’ favorites.
In many cases, a company’s anniversary is nothing more than a chance for easy publicity. And some stand for something more than just a beginning; some stand for the continuation of great things and great causes – like the anniversary now being celebrated by F.P. Journe for the brand’s own boutiques.
For a brand as small as F.P. Journe, the number of boutiques worldwide is rather impressive: there are now no less than ten spread across North America, Asia, and Europe. Each new boutique is special to F.P. Journe, so it should come as no surprise that these are honored at regular intervals.
How? With anniversary celebrations and the launch of a special edition watch.
The first Anniversary Edition ever launched was the Chronomètre Souverain in 2005, which celebrated the second anniversary of the Tokyo Boutique. This was followed in 2006 by a special edition of the Chronomètre à Résonance, and in 2007 with the Tourbillon Souverain. Celebrating the fifth anniversary of the Tokyo Boutique in 2009, F.P. Journe created a special Octa Perpétuelle edition that, like the Tourbillon Souverain, was limited and split between all the boutiques with each one bearing the name of the boutique it was sold in.
And now F.P. Journe is celebrating a big one: the tenth anniversary of all of the boutiques with the release of the Centigraphe Souverain Anniversaire.
Hold on a minute
The observant may have noticed I said the tenth anniversary of all the boutiques. Given that the newest boutique in Beirut opened its doors in 2014, it is a long way off from having a tenth anniversary – as are many of the other boutiques that came after the original two, Tokyo and Hong Kong.
Rolling limited edition release
This is where a new idea comes into play: the rolling limited edition release. The Centigraphe Souverain Anniversaire models will be made for each boutique as that boutique reaches its own tenth anniversary and not before.
This means that you can purchase the Geneva edition in March 2017, followed shortly by the individualized Boca Raton watch. You’ll have to wait until 2018 for Paris. After that F.P. Journe will celebrate the tenth anniversary for Los Angeles in 2023 followed by Beirut in 2024. And this type of rollout means that any new boutiques would be in line to get their own editions when they reach the ten-year mark.
Each boutique gets the same watch, custom engraved with the edition number and specific boutique location on the case back. But that is not all that is unique about this watch; there is also substantial makeover (as far as that applies to F.P. Journe limited editions) for the display, which now features the famous F.P. Journe anniversary colors.
Every anniversary edition that the brand has created follows a similar theme: titanium case, ruthenium dial, and 18-karat gold movement. Design tweaks vary, but those three things remain the same. This design scheme has become synonymous with an F.P. Journe anniversary edition, and one can only assume that it will continue with any future anniversary edition creations. If those were the only other differences, it would be a decent change, but there is a fair amount more on the dial to consider.
Tweaks and changes
Color and material choice represent a big change as a majority of dial details are new. First there is the dark grey ruthenium dial as opposed to the standard silver or gold colors. Printed black on previous versions, the hour numerals and logos here are gold colored. This goes well with the hour and minute hands that are now also gold instead of the previous blued steel.
The triple subdial frame and the counter hands are the same, but the subdial faces are wholly new: they are made of sapphire crystal with the center portion transparent, allowing a view to the mechanism below (always a tasteful win in my book).
But this also allows for the colors to be applied in a way that increases visual depth, with the white applied to the rear, and the numerals and markers applied on the front, which makes them appear to float. Yet that is almost negligible when the differences in the design of the subdial counters are taken into consideration.
Gone are the overly detailed, small print scales that led to a rather busy chronograph; instead we have large simple numerals and scales. This enable the scales to be easily read in any situation where calculating speed isn’t your concern (which is the main thing the previous scales attempted to make easy). This is probably a welcomed change by those who may not be able to easily read all that small print.
Outside of the serious design changes, a few more gold accents were added to contrast with the new titanium case. The screws that hold down the triple subdial frame are now gold as are the crown and chronograph rocker switch. This departure from the “normal” single-metal case is surprising to me as those combinations tend to be of the love/hate variety among watch fans.
But given that this is the Centigraphe Souverain, it is no stranger to controversy.
Mechanical mischief for a good cause
As a refresher, the Centigraphe Souverain is a chronograph that can measure time to 1/100th of a second according to the markings of the one-second dial. But given that the balance beats at 3 Hz, which equates to six beats per second, the smallest true unit of measure could only be one-sixth of a second. The way the Centigraphe gets around this is to have the pinion of the hand displaying 1/100th of a second vertically disengage (like a clutch) from the escape wheel, allowing it to be stopped at any moment.
It is generally said that this is a “false” 1/100th mechanism that doesn’t actually measure those increments. And while that is technically true, in all actuality it fundamentally works, getting decently close for however accurate you would need this mechanical chronograph to be.
Don’t let the rest of the movement be overshadowed by what is perhaps a “stretch” of the technical details. The rest of the movement is still one of the entirely awesome F.P. Journe creations outfitted with a unique mechanical solution.
And while we are on the topic of solutions, the sale of this anniversary piece, and all Centigraphe Souverain watches actually, fund a great cause: F.P. Journe donates 30 percent of the profits to ICM, the brain and spine institute in Paris. This partnership has been in place for many years and will follow the Centigraphe Souverain and the Centigraphe Anniversaire forward into the future. This may be a minor talking point in the watch’s story, but it is huge when one considers the long-term effects of support for medical research.
F.P. Journe is known for sponsorship and donations, but doesn’t make a big deal about it. Good deeds are done as watches are released and people are helped along the way. That is why this anniversary is a bit more special than the others. Since this is the big tenth anniversary, more people are likely to purchase the limited edition – and with the rolling release dates, this guarantees donations for a good cause well into the future.
And this is why this anniversary is as much about looking back as it is about looking forward. Every boutique will turn ten years old over the next eight years, and more boutiques may be added in that time.
As time progresses, more and more people will be helped due to the donations made possible because of this machine, and that in turn should also help guarantee more incredible creations from the workshops at F.P. Journe. I think it’s safe to say that time is on his side (see what I did there!?).
So while we wait, how about the breakdown?
- Wowza Factor * 9.5 A wonderful departure for the Centigraphe Souverain with the anniversary edition, it really makes a guy wish he had the funds to procure one for himself!
- Late Night Lust Appeal * 98.6 » 966.935 m/s2 The dial is wonderful, just like other F.P. Journe pieces, but this one has that something extra for hours of lusting.
- M.G.R. * 65.4 A very cool movement designed by F.P. Journe and built in-house with multiple patents and unique mechanics. Yes please!
- Added-Functionitis * Moderate Given that it has a chronograph, a very useful complication, I’d recommend standard strength Gotta-HAVE-That cream for some anniversary-filled swelling.
- Ouch Outline * 9.2 Getting a dozen slivers in your fingers trying to catch a falling board. Woodworkers, makers, anyone that might have done some home improvement on the weekend will probably have experience with this one. I’m not lying when I say I’d happily take that if it meant strapping the Centigraphe Souverain Anniversaire to my wrist!
- Mermaid Moment * Rock-a-bye chronograph! One of the best parts is the rocker switch for activating the chronograph. It’s just so perfect that I know I’ll be wearing a tux in my future.
- Awesome Total * 884 Multiply the number of teeth on the escape wheel (15) to the diameter of the watch (40), and then add the number of components in the movement (284) to land on an impressively festive awesome total!
For more information, please visit www.fpjourne.com/news/Centigraphe_Anniversary.
Case: 40 x 10.7 mm, titanium and pink gold
Movement: manually winding Caliber 1506 made of pink gold
Functions: hours, minutes; chronograph with minutes and seconds
Price: 62,600 Swiss francs