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Review: F.P. Journe Chronomètre à Résonance

by Peter Chong on December 18, 2015
Reviews

We spoke at length about F.P. Journe in our review of the F.P. Journe Chronomètre Optimum. In that article we touched on the Chronomètre à Résonance, which is one of the first two watches (together with the Tourbillon Souverain Remontoir d’Egalité) François-Paul Journe created as an independent watchmaker in 1999. 

The original Chronomètre à Résonance, as mentioned was created in 1999. The watch was available with rose gold movements from 2005 to 2008. These featured rose gold plates, bridges and cocks, but remained largely the same Caliber 1499. Caliber 1499.2 is the revised movement in rose gold, and the current Chronomètre à Résonance uses the Caliber 1499.3 with small modifications which we will discuss later.

 

F.P. Journe Chronomètre à Résonance

 

The F.P. Journe Chronomètre à Résonance in platinum. The watch is also available in rose gold.

The F.P. Journe Chronomètre à Résonance in platinum. The watch is also available in rose gold.

 

Compared to the original Chronomètre à Résonance, the major change is on the dial. The first two versions (with brass movement and later with rose gold movement) featured two identical dials showing two timezones. The new Chronomètre à Résonance retains the same right dial, but the left dial is transformed into an aperture with a rotating disc to show the second timezone in 24 hour format. Both times can be set independent of each other, and thus the watch can be used to show day/night, UTC, or a second timezone.

 

The Journe Chronomètre à Résonance remains a study in aesthetics. The entire design is harmonious, and make a very handsome watch.

The Journe Chronomètre à Résonance remains a study in aesthetics. The entire design is harmonious, and make a very handsome watch.

 

in terms of aesthetics, the new Chronomètre à Résonance is a far cry from the original. We mentioned this in our review of the F.P. Journe Chronomètre Optimum, gone is the made-in-my-garage look of the early watches. Total transformation! Now the dial is a study in aesthetics.The seemingly odd specification of subdials screwed onto the main dial actually look very harmonious and make a very handsome watch. We are particularly enamored with the beauty of the design. The colors are well chosen, the markings wisely selected. And the entire design is just beautiful.

 

The Movement: Calibre 1499.3

 

As mentioned, the movement is largely unchanged. And there is no need to. The early Chronomètre à Résonance worked well, and the principles are still valid today. The 1499.1 used a rhodium plated brass movement, and the 1499.2 was essentially the same movement but with rose gold plates and bridges. The difference between the Caliber 1499.2 and 1499.3 that instead of two 12 hour dials driven by the 1499.2, the latter drives one 24 hour and one 12 hour dial. Both versions are made in rose gold, manufactured in-house.

 

The movement of the Chronomètre à Résonance. Rose gold plates, bridges and cocks decorated with Côtes de Genève.

The movement of the Chronomètre à Résonance. Rose gold plates, bridges and cocks decorated with Côtes de Genève.

 

The bridge layout is one of the design masterworks of François-Paul, and remain so. Two complete wheel trains are designed to be side by side in a symmetrical layout over the left right axis. The trains are completely independent of each other, each have their own barrel and their own escapement system.

 

The rose gold movement of the Chronomètre à Résonance.

The rose gold movement of the Chronomètre à Résonance.

 

However, on close examination, there is a small break in the symmetry. The balance cock of the right balance (driving the left subdial) is mounted on a swivel which can be finely adjusted on its pivot. This is used to move the balance wheel closer or further away from the other balance wheel. The right separation is required for resonance, and once set, the two balance wheels stay in tune with each other.

 

The double balance wheels. Note the right balance cock is attached to a swivel pivot allowing it to swing closer to or further away from the other balance wheel.

The double balance wheels. Note the right balance cock is attached to a swivel pivot allowing it to swing closer to or further away from the other balance wheel.

 

Other watches with double balance wheels include the famous Dufour Duality. The Duality is the first wristwatch to feature a double balance wheel. It has one movement train with a differential providing the escaping power to the two balance wheels. Also, the MB&F LM2, which is based loosely on the Dufour Duality. Another watch with a double balance is the Greubel Forsey Double Balancier 35° All these watches all use a differential system to average the two escapements to provide a stable and more accurate beat rate for the watch.

But the Journe remains the only one which does is comprised of two separate and independent movement trains, no differential, and works only by resonance. The result is a simpler watch which achieves a similar result.

Movement finishing is excellent. The anglage is very beautifully made, and the choice of rose gold as the material for the bridges allow the polished edges to pick up the light and gleam in the most attractive way. The Côtes de Genève are beautifully executed and polished sides for the jewels are magnificently finished.

The case is nicely thin, and measures 40mm in diameter. On the wrist, it is comfortable. One small nit pick is the beautifully made crowns featuring the rope design makes for some discomfort when winding and setting the timezones.

 

Concluding thoughts

 

In conclusion, the F.P. Journe Chronomètre à Résonance to be a beautiful watch. Not only does it shine in the magnificent aesthetics, but the concept of the movement is still novel, even after 15 years since it first saw light when François-Paul introduced it. The execution is par excellence. And at a price of S$122,000 for the platinum case and S$109,500 for the rose gold case seems to be a relatively resonable in today’s world of extreme high prices of independent watches.

 

F.P. Journe Chronomètre à Résonance Technical Specs (in French)

Mouvement:
Calibre 1499.3
Remontage manuel
Or rose 18 ct.
40 rubis
Dimensions:
Diamètre total mvt: 32.60 mm
Diamètre encageage: 32.0 mm
Hauteur totale mvt: 4.20 mm
Hauteur axe de tige remontoir: 2.59 mm
Diamètre filetage tige remontoir: S1.00mm
Diamètre filetage tige remise à zéro: S1.20mm
Particularités:
2 trains de rouages indépendants
2 Echappements ancres en ligne, 15 dents
2 Balanciers à 4 masselottes avec réglage inertiel
2 Spiraux plats Anachron microflammés
2 Porte piton mobiles
Sans raquettes
2 Virolages laser Nivatronic
2 Pitons GE goupillé
Tige de remontoir à 2 positions
Fréquence: 21,600v/h (3Hz)
Inertie: 10.10 mg/cm2
Angle de levée: 52°
Amplitude:
0h à plat: > 320°
24h à plat: > 270°
Caractéristiques principales :
Remontage manuel
27 tours de tige de remontoir
Correction de l’heure à 12h: cadran gauche dans un sens de rotation en position 2 de la tige de remontoir et correction du cadran droit dans l’autre sens.
Remise à zéro des secondes par la tirette de commande à 4h00
Réserve de marche: 40 ± 2 heures
Affichage:
Double affichage: Cadran gauche 24 heures -digital
Décoration :
Platine partiellement perlée
Têtes de vis polies, tour et fente anglée
Goupilles à bouts bombés polis
Boîtier:
Diamètre: 40.00mm
Epaisseur totale: 9.00mm
Nombre de pièces:
Mouvement 297
Av. boîte sur cuir 336

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